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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Indian Student Association talks essence of their culture

By Natalie Broda and Web Editor

When president and founder of the Indian Student Association Simran Bhatti first came to campus, he realized there was a major presence of cultural organizations. He felt as though he had to introduce campus to the culture of nearly a fourth of the world’s population. Bhatti has spent many of his summers in India, beginning in his childhood.

“This is a good way to introduce people to what the true essence of India is,” Bhatti said. “Which is tolerance and religion. We teach the tolerance of all faiths, all people.”

Bhatti and the rest of the organization are well aware of the misconceptions of India. He noted that while the West uses Yoga, they never bother to teach the origins.

“Another reason we want to teach about religion is that everybody knows the Abrahamic faiths, but no one knows about ours. They just think of people meditating,” Bhatti said.

While Bhatti says faith is the most important aspect of Indian life, it’s certainly not all they’re going to be sharing with campus. He wants to discuss traditional Indian clothing, food and dance. Over ten of their classical dances are the oldest known to the earth. These aspects of the culture speak volumes to the richness and diversity of India and her people.

“I was interested to be a part of ISA from the very beginning. Simran first introduced me to it and I really liked the idea. One of the things that is really important about Indian culture is we still hold some of our lovely heritages from the past along with welcoming many of the western cultures,” member and sophomore Ayana Ghosh said via email.

The ISA also plans on getting involved with the International Student Organization to help out with Bollywood night. Bhatti believes there is more to India than just Bollywood, and that it’s really just mainstream.

“India is filled with warmth. Here you can’t go into a stranger’s house. There, strangers are considered to be close to God, and so we let them in. It’s about family, bonding and culture,” Bhatti said.

To describe what she believes the true nature of India to be, Ghosh quoted Mark Twain:

“So far as I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man or nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds. Nothing seems to have been forgotten, nothing overlooked,” Ghosh said.

DISCLAIMER: Ayana Ghosh is a columnist at The Michigan Times.

Natalie can be reached at

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