UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Welcoming India: Inauguration of “Mitr” Broadens UMB Cultural Horizons

Say ´hello´ to UMB?s new Indian Culture Club, ?Mitr?.
Say ´hello´ to UMB?s new Indian Culture Club, ?Mitr?.

“Welcome to an evening of Indian culture” is what the flyers all across UMass Boston’s campus read. These flyers advertised the inauguration of “Mitr” the Indian Culture Club at UMB. This event was to be a celebration of the wonderful diversity that exists at UMass Boston, and all those who attended, found that this event more than lived up to it’s billing.

The evening of events began around five o’clock with an Introduction of “Mitr” (the Indian Culture Community) and it’s board members. The Provost, Dr. Paul Fonteyn, Associate Provost, Winston Langley, Dean of Graduate Studies, Emily McDermott, and Faculty Advisor, Manickam Surumaran all took part in lighting a ceremonial lamp, which solidified the Indian Culture Club as an active part of the UMass Boston Community.

The lighting of the lamp was followed by a brief overview of East Indian culture, powerfully and passionately delivered by Mitr’s Vice President Anurag Sureka. This section of the night’s events was followed by an Indian dance, which was performed by Keerthi, a college student from Maine, who made the journey to Boston to take part in the inauguration. The dance that she performed originated in second century B.C. and is set in Hindu mythology. The Master (Mistress) of ceremony, Lily Nerurkar, was visibly moved by Keerthri’s dance and said that the dance exemplified East Indian culture and pride.

After the dance the crowd was treated to an electric guitar performance by guitarist, Prasoon Kejriwal, a UMass Boston student. A sextet of students then followed the guitar performance, with three Indian songs that riveted the crowd. The singers Rudi Dave, Shishir More, Katik Pandya, Shinivas Rao, Dhriti Dave, and Nikunj Koolar sang songs whose themes ranged from, “Praising the Motherland” to “Achieving Dreams”.

Moving away from the musical portion of the program, the standing members of Mitr, President Srinivas Nyayapati, Vice President Anurag Sureka, Secretary Prasnn Patil, Treasurer Amish Parikh, and Webmaster Kartik Pandya displayed the photographs of the flag raising that took place earlier in the day. An Indian National flag flapped high amongst the many dozens of other National flags that occupy the roadway leading to the UMass Boston Campus. After the flag raising there was a word of thanks from the members of Mitr, a reception complete with authentic Indian cuisine, and the showing of a “Baliwood” feature film.

Few times in life can a picture be so perfect or an event so poignant. “Mitr” which means friend in Hindi embodied that notion in its members and cultural ideology.

Although the event as a whole was absolutely superb, mixing education with entertainment, one inadvertent moment sticks out and above the rest. The Master of Ceremony, Lily Nervrkar, when introducing the singer Rudi Dave explained to the audience that Rudi was not an UMass Boston student. Rudi Dave, a student at Northeastern University, came to help in the inauguration ceremony because of her culture bond and friendship with the members of “Mitr”. Sometimes pure emotion and beauty can be seen in the simplest things. Lily Nervrkar in her explanation stated that Rudi came to help “because she is our friend”.

If the purpose of “Mitr” was to teach the true meaning of brotherhood and friendship, that sentence alone should have sent the audience out of the hall. What more is there to say about the power and beauty of friendship as well as the importance of cultural ties?