It is a cultural evening with a difference - one that showcases facets of Indian culture, but the performances are not by Indians. Instead, the performers are students from the US and Europe who come to the University of Hyderabad (UoH) as part of its Study in India Program (SIP). They are also joined by other international students of UoH who belong to Japan, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Sweden, Iran and so on. At the end of both Fall and Spring semesters, SIP has a tradition of organising this unique cultural evening.
This year too saw the SIP students put up a colourful cultural evening at a packed DST auditorium, performing for their Indian classmates, faculty and the campus community, on April 10. The evening was an impressive show of talent that combined what the students had learnt in India with what they brought back from home.
In her welcome address, Dr Aparna Rayaprol, director, SIP mentioned that the University’s SIP, which began in 1998 with only eight students, is an interdisciplinary initiative, emphasizing on heritage, continuity and change in India. The program has expanded considerably in recent years and now draws about 200 students every year. The SIP students take up regular University courses with Indian students in different schools alongside SIP courses, especially designed for foreign students.
The evening exhibited many flavours of India, which blended perfectly with some of the performances from the western and Arab countries. It all started off with an elegant Kuchipudi dance recital by Chanel, Eliot and Esmeralda, choreographed by Dr Aruna Bhikshu, a faculty with UoH. To enhance the cultural experience, there was some superb poetry recitation by Wesley followed by a soulful Urdu Song by Yukiko, Hiroaki, Ida, Hena, Sana, Sarah and Rehmat. A spirited and sparkling Kathak Dance routine by Leah, Serena and Iman was followed by a popular English song sung by Grant Olsem.
However, the SIP students who have been taking conversational Hindi classes with the specially trained SIP Hindi teachers, Suchita and Bhavani, surpassed all barriers of language and culture when they enthusiastically sang the song ‘Yeh Dosti Hum Nahi Todenge’ from the movie Sholay. This was followed by Persian and fusion music by Nooran Mohammed and a traditional Persian dance by Negar.
The Kuch Kuch Hota Hai dance by a die-hard fan of SRK, Michael Mendoza, had the audience in stitches of laughter and glee, hoping this evening would come back soon.