‘Experience India’ exposes TCU South Asian culture

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    Students no longer have to travel 10,000 miles, catch three flights and register for a study abroad trip to experience South Asia’s many traditions and customs. Instead, students and faculty can just purchase tickets and travel a few feet to support Students for Asian Indian Cultural Awareness’ “Experience India.”

    SAICA is a cultural organization open to students of all cultures and backgrounds that aims to promote the cultures of India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan throughout campus, SAICA Vice President Priyanka Pramanik said.

    “Experience India” is one of SAICA’s annual programs. It was designed to expose the culture of South Asian countries to TCU through skits, music, dances and food, Pramanik, a junior childhood development and psychology double major, said.

    Sophomore finance and accounting double major Pratik Mehta said he joined SAICA to spread awareness of South Asian culture on campus. He said the program will offer a snapshot into his life and the lives of other South Asian students with performances of Bollywood-style dance, Bharatanatyam — Indian classical dance — Sri Lankan traditional dancing and various other forms.

    Pramanik said “Experience India” is as much of a learning experience for the members of the organization as it is for observers.

    As one of the choreographers and performers of the concerts’ works, she said she has worked with students from not only South Asia

    but also Colombia, France, the United States and other places.

    “Most of the people that dance with us and for us have never really been to nor seen our culture,” Pramanik said. “They’re just people who want to know about it.”

    “They’re learning about our culture hands-on, and we help promote it through our shows,” she said.

    James English, the faculty adviser for international students and the faculty adviser for SAICA, said the program will be a great way for the students of SAICA and workers of International Students Services to share with the campus a piece of the many cultures SAICA represents.

    “SAICA, through events like ‘Experience India,’ is able to do their little part to share with the TCU community a part of their life back home,” English said. “I think that’s really great. That’s part of the global learning environment here at TCU.”

    English also said the student leadership of SAICA impressed him with its ability to creatively use “Experience India” to not only teach the TCU community about its members’ cultures but also to give back to rural settings in India.

    “Every time SAICA has an event, whatever ticket sales we do, we give the whole 100 percent to a cause,” Pramanik said.

    This year, SAICA will partner with Be Educated, Pramanik said.

    According to its website, the Be Educated Movement Inc. is organized for charitable purposes to promote the awareness of the education, science and health in India and other underdeveloped or developing countries.

    Pramanik said SAICA is getting involved with its Education Through Library program, which uses donated funds to build libraries in underdeveloped, South Asian countries. It costs $800 to build a library in rural India, furnish it with books and pay a librarian for a year to manage it.

    “We can actually look at the progress of the library being built and the books they’re getting,” she said. “So we will keep getting feedback on how the money is being used.”

    According to UNICEF’s most current statistical data, 37 percent of adults in India are illiterate. English said these rates are alarmingly low, especially compared to the literacy rates of developed countries around the world.

    “People in these parts of the world are hungry for education and literacy,” English said. “Giving them the tools to do that is so critical.”

    Experience India

    When: 6–9 p.m. Saturday

    Where: Moudy Building North, Room 141

    Tickets cost $3 in advance and $5 the day of the event.