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UB's Indian Student Association celebrates its 25th anniversary

Expect an explosion of color for the organization's silver anniversary

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An array of multi-coloured fireworks will light up the sky Nov. 1 to commemorate UB Indian Student Association’s festival of Diwali.

UB’s Indian Student Association (ISA) is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and plans to hold lively, engaging events at an unprecedented level, according to Rohan Kapoor, a sophomore business major and president of ISA.

“We’ll leave no stone unturned,” he said. “This is a big year for the club, and we want the whole of UB to celebrate with us.”

UB’s ISA was founded in 1989. The club hopes to get more students at UB involved with the club by hosting a multitude of events to celebrate the club’s anniversary.

“Our greatest event this year will be a whole day Diwali Mela on Nov. 1,” said Veena Nair, a senior finance major and treasurer of the ISA. “This is the first time that UB will see such a big endeavour from any of the clubs on campus.”

ISA is organizing Diwali, an Indian festival of lights celebrated every fall, in place of Muqabla, an annual intercollegiate dance competition ISA has organized and held at UB for the last 15 years.

“Last year people were disappointed in Muqabla,” said Tamana Ranka, a junior business major. “It was a blow to ISA.”

Diwali celebrates the triumph of good over evil and is one of the biggest festivals in India.

“Diwali is associated with fireworks and we’ll uphold that tradition,” Kapoor said. “We have received official permissions from the authorities. UB will witness the grandest firework display in its history.”

The event will cost students $15 at the Student Union the night of the festival or $10 if purchased at the SBI ticket office before Oct. 26.

ISA is planning to serve more than 10 different Indian cuisines at the event.

“Indians love their food,” said Siddharth Khandelwal, a junior business major and the community service executive for ISA. “Diwali is a food-centered festival and we’re making sure that we have more than enough for everyone.”

Priyanshi Soni, a sophomore intended chemical engineering major and an ISA public relations executive, expects people from Toronto, Buffalo and local high schools to attend UB’s Diwali festival.

Earlier this semester, ISA underwent a reshuffling of its e-board. Then Vice President Harneet Bedi, a junior biology major, resigned and the ISA had to hold elections at its second general body meeting. Approximately 60 people attended the elections.

Her resignation created a domino effect in the e-board.

Himani Dholakiya, a junior pre-pharmacy major, resigned from her position as secretary to run for vice president. She ran against Maisha Tasnin, a sophomore computer science major. Dholakiya was elected in a 29-17 vote.

Rakshit Murthy Viswanatham, a senior electrical engineering major, resigned from his position as community service chair to run – unopposed – for secretary.

Khandelwal ran unopposed for community service executive.

Poorvi Nair, a sophomore anthropology major, ran unopposed for the second public relations executive position.

ISA has already held several events this semester and is planning on hosting more throughout the school year.

The club organized a Pani Puri Social Sept. 5 at Harriman Hall on South Campus and approximately 100 people attended the event.

Pani Puri is an Indian appetizer made of flour or semolina puffs filled with spicy and flavoured water.

“Pani Puri is life for Indians,” Soni said. “The whole e-board made the Pani Puris so as to serve the traditional Indian flavor to the attendees.”

ISA’s e-board participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge during its first general body meeting to raise awareness about Lou Gehrig’s disease. UB’s Bangladeshi Student Association nominated ISA, according to Rohan. Other members of ISA also participated in the challenge.

The new e-board organized the Garba Social at Harriman Hall Oct. 11, which was attended by more than 200 people.

Garba is a traditional dance from western India and is religiously performed in honor of the Mother Goddess.

“It was like a flash mob,” Dholakiya said. “More than a 100 people doing Dandiya in complete sync.”

Dandiya is another traditional Indian dance form.

With a newly organized e-board, ISA plans to host a variety of events catered toward UB’s Indian students.

“I’m excited with what’s about to come,” said Piyush Kathuria, a freshman computer science major. “ISA has made me comfortable and helped me settle down in a new environment.”

Next semester, ISA plans to hold a Holi, the Indian Festival of Colors, and an International Fiesta, an inter-club talent show. The club is also planning a banquet to mark the end of the year’s festivities.

“We want to meet more and more people,” Nair said. “We want to be approachable and know what people want and deliver to them.”

ISA is looking forward to all the events it has planned for the year and hope people attend them with great zeal.

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