This Saturday, the Association for the Development of Interest in The Indian Sub-Continent will be sponsoring the festival MELA which, in Sanskrit, means “festival.” The celebration promises to be one of Indian dance, music, food and cultural celebration.

ADITI is a student organization with the purpose of promoting a greater awareness of social, cultural and political issues that have to do with South Asia. ADITI also stresses the importance of mixing with the community while working hard to share their ideals so that they are not simply limited to UR.

Over the years, ADITI has established a strong presence on the UR campus as they have made consistent efforts to involve people of all cultures in their group. They want to integrate as many people as possible while raising awareness of the Indian Subcontintent. Countries included in this region are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Besides MELA, ADITI sponsors some other big and exciting events throughout the school year. Among these is the South Asian Expo in the fall which is, in a sense, a smaller MELA. Though it has the same ideas – cultural presentations to promote South Asian culture – the Expo is, in a sense, a mini MELA. An event that ADITI co-sponsored was the relief effort for the Tsunami.

The festival MELA is a one-day event that will take place in essentially three parts. The day will begin with a presentation of dance and culture. Included in this will be a fashion show, skits, dancing, kids bhangra and more. Students participating in MELA have been working hard the past few months to publicize this event to the public and have, therefore, gained a lot of participation from the community. Because of this, the performances on Saturday are not limited to participation from UR students and people can expect to see some members of the greater Rochester community in attendance and performing as well.

The second part of the day will include an all-you-can-eat dinner at Douglass Dining Center. The dinner will feature an abundance of Indian food as well as exciting music.

Concluding the festival is MELA’s annual Meltdown Party at Arigato Restaurant at 10:30. This will be the grand finale of what is to be an extremely successful event. This will provide an opportunity for people to let loose to some great Indian music. On top of that, ADITI and the rest of the MELA committee will finally be able to celebrate all the hard work and effort that has gone into putting together such complex yet exciting event.

“We have been planning MELA absolutely forever. It is going to be a lot of fun and I think that if people come to any part of the day, they are guaranteed to enjoy it,” Junior member of ADITI’s executive-board, dance choreographer and freshman Divyah Nagendra said. “It is such an excellent way for people to learn about our culture. Not by being taught, by immersing themselves in some of the most beloved aspects of our culture.”

This week, the group has been working hard to promote MELA. Included in this was a free chai giveaway that took place while playing loud Indian music, which is clearly catchy enough to grab anyone’s attention.

“We have worked really hard on this event, and I think that people can see that,” freshman and dance choreographer Ash Krushnakumaar said. “There will be some awesome classical as well as modern dancing, really great food and music. It is just a really wonderful cultural experience overall.”

Lewis can be reached at slewis@campustimes.org.



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