Republic Night Celebrates Indian History and Culture
TOWAMENCIN – January 26th marks the day in 1950 when the Constitution of India was established to replace the Government of India Act of 1935. Freeing the country from British intervention, Republic day mirrors the American 4th of July. However, instead of celebrating the holiday with fireworks and picnics in Friday night’s inclement weather, The Indian Cultural Association hosted its annual Republic Night. A combination of dancing, competition, music, fashion, food, friends, and fun made for a memorable night; a far better option than a snowstorm picnic.
The event began with the singing of both National Anthems—Indian and American. Afterwards, the first few acts composed of Indian dancers and sitar-players wowed a packed auditorium.
In addition to participating in multiple acts, Kajal Jaggi, a North Penn junior and historian for ICA, played a major part in planning the event.
“We’ve been planning this event ever since September. This is ICA’s biggest event. The dancing takes about two to three months to plan, and the event itself takes about five months of planning. My favorite part is just being on stage. Ever since I was three years old I’ve been dancing, acting, and singing in front of everyone, and just sharing my love of the stage,” said Jaggi.
Jaggi hosted the first annual Mr. & Ms. Republic Night competition. Each of the twelve contestants participated in a formal wear display, as well as an interview session. Members of the audience had the opportunity to cast their vote for their favorite candidate during the show’s intermission.
Later in the night, Darshak Pendem and Neha Raman were named the runners-up, and Kunal Atit and Ayushi Pola were crowned Mr. & Ms. Republic night.
Prior to the voting, a speaker from Asha, which is an organization dedicated to eliminating the poverty in India, explained opportunities for students and parents to get involved. Improving education for under-privileged children is its primary goal. During intermission, audience members were able to purchase raffle tickets with all proceeds benefitting the Asha mission.
Many other acts performed, including the Broad Sreet Baadshahz, a famous dancing group in the Indian Community. SWAG, another dance group composed of North Penn’s own Mauli Patel, Darshak Pendem, and Darpan Patel, was one of the most well-recieved acts of the night. The hard work and dedication of these students was evident.
“We put in a ton of work to make it happen. We had to practice everyday after school and stay ‘till basically 5:30-6:00, which was pretty tough but besides that everything else is fun. The best part is just dancing,” said Pendem.
The night was certainly a success. For Indian families, it was a great way to celebrate their heritage. For others, like myself, it was an awesome chance to experience a unique culture. Priya Kikani, a junior, seemed to say It best: “It was just a great night to rock my Indianness.”