International Festival 2005

Indo-Pak brightened up Andover’s social scene last Friday with their annual Diwali-Eid Show. Diwali, the holiday of lights for Hindus, coincides with the Muslim celebration of Eid, or the fast-breaking festival after the month of Ramadan. Diwali literally means “a row of lights” and is one of the more glamorous Hindi holidays. This four-day celebration commemorates the coronation of King Rama, who vanquished an infamous demon to earn the throne. During Diwali, people exchange gifts, eat sweets, and enjoy time with friends and family. Additionally, Diwali often falls around Eid, the end of Muslims’ high holy season of Ramadan. During Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim calendar, the Qu’uran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed. Some traditions of Eid include going to Mosque early in the morning. Muslim children also receive money from family and friends. Each year Indo-Pak holds their talent show during this holy season. The acts consist of traditional Indian and Pakistani dancing and music. This year’s festivities did not fail to please, incorporating traditional elements with humor. Kemper provided a simple and intimate setting for the event. The evening’s Emcees were Ali Siddiqi ’06 and Anichya Gujral ’06. Donning impressive sub-continental accents, the two developed humorous segways into the acts, discussing everything from the “female situation” to coming to PA as “Indo” (Gujral) and “Pak” (Siddiqi). This year’s Diwali-Eid Show featured PA’s new traditional Indian drummers, Rajit Malhotra ‘08 and Arun Saigal 09. Rajit opened the musical section of the show with “Tabla Fever”. The Tabla, a North Indian instrument, is a set of two drums played with the hands. Malhotra blended contemporary Indian music with American music, performing Missy Elliot’s “Get Ur Freak On”. Saigal also played a traditional Indian drum known as the Mrudungam. Hailing from the south of India, the two-sided drum rests on the player’s foot during the performance. Siagal first performed an Islamic tune with Siddiqi on vocals. Then Saigal gave a passionate solo performance. Consistent with the cultural fusion of Malhotra’s piece, Faaez Jafarey ’06 performed a booming electric rendition of “A Medley of Anthems,” synthesizing the national anthems of America, India, and Pakistan. As for the dance component of the show, the three pieces combined both contemporary and traditional styles. “A True Hero’s Dance” featured Indo-Pak’s co-president Rajeev Saxena ’06, Jonathan Rivas ’06 and Edwin Kulubya ’06. Equal in praise and parody, the dance was an imitation of Bollywood theatrics. Saxena gave a phenomenal performance, during which he fed off of the crowd’s enthusiastic approval. He combined hip-hop dance moves with the trite gestures of Bollywood such as the “air kiss”. In a more conventional act, the Indo-fusion Quartet performed a piece that combined ballet and the traditional Indian dance of Nritya. Dressed in black leotards, Catherine Castillo ’06 and Farah Dahya ’08, added ballet to the show. Their dance featured long gestures that accentuated the fluidity of the traditional Indian song. In contrast, Rashmi Bhat ’06 and Nandini Vijayakumar ’06 performed the traditional Nritya dance in flowing, brightly colored skirts. They pounded their feet and clapped their hands in time with the music. The final dance act was a female group led by Bhat and Vijayakumar, performing a Bollywood-styled routine. Despite a few missteps, it was still extremely impressive. One of the night’s best acts was the Indo-Pak movie. This year’s theme was “Punjabi Admissions.” Working with the theme, several members of Indo-Pak, most notably Saxena, Jafarey, and Siddiqi, spoofed the cultural identity of the numerous sub-continental students on campus. Akosua Oforiwaa-Ayim ’07 said, “My favorite act was definitely the video. It was very funny, and it obviously took a lot of work.” Each year, Indo-Pak also seeks to raise cultural awareness through their Diwali-Eid Fashion Show. This year’s show featured students in chiffon and sheer attire typical of the Asian sub-continent. The vivid oranges, teals, and reds unique to India and Pakistan appealed to the crowd. Indo-Pak sought to express a distinctive cultural perspective during their Diwali-Eid Show, uniting the Indian and Pakistani, as well as Muslim and Hindu students on campus. Shua Jafarey, mother of Faaez Jafrey said, “I come every year. The show is always very lively and spontaneous.” This year’s Diwali-Eid Show was certainly no exception. It fused Indian, Pakistani and American cultures to inform and entertain a receptive audience.