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Indian Student Association lights up Alumni Hall for Diwali

Flashing, colorful lights set the scene for what the Indian Student Association describes as their biggest event of the year.Five cultural groups were represented Oct. 12 in Alumni Hall at the Indiana Memorial Union.

The ISA’s Dil Se Diwali celebrated Diwali, a festival of lights that will take place Oct. 27 and is often commemorated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs. The festival commemorates the triumph of good over evil. 

“Diwali, for us, is a time of new beginning,” junior Divya Annamalai, an ISA board member said. “It’s a time for removing all impurities, which is why it’s associated with a lot of light and lamps.”

Local dance and cultural groups, including Hoosier Hamzath, a dance troupe from the Filipino American Association, Hoosier Raas and Hoosher Bhangra attended. Hoosier Hum, an a cappella group, also performed. 

“In the past what’s happened is we’ll only have our Indian dance and a cappella groups,” Annamalai said. “I think this is the first time we’ve reached out to non-Indian organizations.”

The ISA publicized that this was a formal event, but emphasized that guests could come in both traditional Indian attire as well as Western. 

“We want everyone to be comfortable in what they wear,” Annamalai said. “(Traditional Indian attire) is what a lot of us wear in our culture, so we were open for anybody to come and be included.”

In addition to all profits from the event, the association also accepted donations from patrons. All proceeds went toward the Miracle Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides care for orphans across the globe.

To help raise money through means other than ticket sales, the ISA presented a date auction during which guests offered to donate money and were given the opportunity to go on an outing with a board member. 

The IMU served Indian cuisine. Afterward, chairs were moved to make space for an open dance accompanied by DJ Nandu, a self-taught Bollywood-fusion DJ.

The ISA’s next cultural event will be for Holi in the spring,which will be open to the public.

“I feel like Diwali is very well-known within our group, but I wanted it to be more widespread and for people to know more about culture,” Annamalai said.

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