A taste of India at UND

Besides a brief overview on the history of India and musical performances, Indian cuisine was offered to attendees on Thursday, September 22, 2016.

Dakota Student / Submitted

Besides a brief overview on the history of India and musical performances, Indian cuisine was offered to attendees on Thursday, September 22, 2016.

At least eight years running, members of the Student Association of India (SAI) held a night to share Indian culture in hopes of being able to improve on-campus and local relations in a place far from their home.

The night kicked off with a speech from the Association’s president, Sayantani Dastidar, followed by a vocal performance by two UND students, “Give Me Some Sunshine.” The song choice is based off the storyline of the movie “3 Idiots.”

In its lyrics is a message of second chances, realizing the faults and misjudgements of one’s past. The lyrics also describe the importance of making the most of what is available and future experiences regardless of past actions.

Followed by the vocal performance was a fashion show to display the intricacies of Indian culture in a visual form.

“I hope our culture is spread across the student body and the entire Grand Forks community so that we all come to know each other a little bit better,” Dastidar said.

Next, there was a brief presentation on Indian culture, and prizes were awarded for correct answers to pop questions.

Finally, a skit on student life shared the journey of a fictional Indian student in his journey from home to a foreign country as he works to adapt with the changes he undergoes.

“I remember my experience of backpacking through India and thought this would be a cool night to revisit some of the things I saw,” law student Cassandra Frederickson said.

Lastly, traditional Indian dishes were served for all those in attendance.

“As someone from an Indian family that would cook traditional Indian foods all the time, it was nice being able to taste it again even though I’m so far from home,” freshman Keegan D’Souza said. 

Over the past two or three months, members of SAI have been preparing and planning for India Night. The nights became longer and transitioned into rehearsal until all participants in the event spent at least two hours daily for the past two weeks getting ready as time ran low, Mihir Shetty, a SAI member and skit performer explained.

“We are all busy students or staff members with UND, but we all took the time for the past two months to get ready so I’d just like to say thanks for everyone who volunteered their time to make this event happen,” Dastidar said.

Members of SAI also hold events year round to recognize the dedication of its members, annual retreats and recruitment events for younger students at new student orientations and club fairs.

“I’ve been to all of the cultural events at UND and I came to India Night last year so I hope to see it continue even more into the future,” student Ranju Dhungana said. “Everyone getting together to meet new people and learn about this culture is cool to see.”

Declan Hoffman is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached [email protected]