Diwali is a religious festival that symbolizes the victory of light of darkness. It’s considered the biggest religious festival in India. People celebrate Diwali by cleaning their houses before Diwali and shopping for new clothes and decorating their homes.
On Saturday the 26th, the Indian student association hosted the Diwali festival in Pittsburg state, the event took place at the Crimson and Gold Ballroom in the Overman Student Center from 5pm to 7pm.
“It is one of the most glamorous and important festival celebrated in India. This festival uses many special symbols, including lighting lamps filled with oil and fireworks to signify victory over evil,” said Abhirajsinh Thakor, Junior in Automotive Technology major and the president of the Indian student association “ISA.”
Diwali is an Indian festival celebrated between mid-October and Mid-November. It is known as the Festival of Lights. The word Diwali means “Rows of Lighted Lamp.”
My vision is to promote multiculturalism in the campus and hence in the Pittsburg community by the principles of togetherness, love and freedom. … this would help me to understand that how can I as a representative of the Indian diaspora, be able to promote Indian culture in an American way so that ISA can be a champion of inclusiveness and cooperation,” said Thakor
The ISA has been planning for Diwali for about 3 months and have been excited to share their culture with the community of Pitt State.
“I believe strongly in the diversity of Pittsburg State,” Mark Johnson said, University Professor in College of Technology and the advisor of the Indian Student Association. “The one thing that makes us more unique than almost any university in the country is the grasp of diversity that we have here, we have people from forty different countries around the world but we work together we pray together we play together and we listen to music together. We also eat together, we dine together, we support each other in all things. For example, tonight in the performances, they weren’t just Indian students up there, we saw students from Pakistan, from Taiwan, and from lots of different countries that weren’t Indian but that’s because we are a family. Once a gorilla always a gorilla and everybody at Pittsburg state is a Gorilla regardless where they come from.”
“My wife and I moved to Pittsburg in 1995, and in that year we hosted a dinner for about 22 students, and when they ate the Indian meal you could see the expression on their faces, and that made us decide to set up an association,” Anil Lal said, Professor of economics in the College of Business and the founder of the Indian Student Association.
Lal said that one of the reasons that made him establish the ISA was that he wanted to create an environment where Indian students could feel at home.
“It can act as a cultural bridge between the two cultures, and so the Indian students learn a lot about the American culture and the Americans learn about the Indian culture, so we started hosting Diwali in 1996 or 1997, this association is about 23 years old, and for the first seven or eight years is served as the advisor and worked very closely with the students… PSU is all about diversity and embracing different cultures and that’s the beauty of it,” said Lal.
“Diwali is a religious festival in India as well as the religion its self-thousands of years behind it,” said Pawan Kahol, dean of the graduate and continuing studies. “The story is that there was a king whose wife was kidnaped and he had to fight against that and kill that demon who kidnaped his wife and as he returned to his kingdom the people celebrated so again you know true or not at night they wanted this king to find his way home and that’s kinds of the beginning of the celebration.”