On Monday, March 16, 2015, a series of events called India Week began at Emory. The events were organized by Emory’s Indian Cultural Exchange (ICE) and the Halle Institute for Global Learning.

The first event that took place on Monday was the Opportunities in India Summit, where students discussed opportunities to study, volunteer, work or research in India. Later that day, Buddhist scholar Geshe Lhakdor gave a talk on secular ethics. Lhakdor was the English translator for His Holiness the Dalai Lama between 1989 ad 2005 and has since been working with the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative (ETSI) to implement science courses in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in India.

On Tuesday, March 17, the South Asian Arts Mela took place as a part of India Week. The event featured a showcase of Emory a cappella groups and dance teams including Dooley Noted, SaRaas, Aural Pleasure, Savera, Karma, and Satrangi. The Mela allowed both Indian and non-Indian performance groups to come together and celebrate the diversity of India.

The following day, March 18, ICE was involved at Wonderful Wednesday. Food was served under the name “Flavors of India” and students took photos holding up signs about why they love India. Later that day, there was a faculty panel about research opportunities in India, followed by an ICE game night.

“Personally, I loved Wonderful Wednesday as we had a diverse selection of Indian food from four different regions as well as a Dosa Cart to make fresh lentil crepes,” Armaan Nathani, College junior and co-president of ICE said.

On Thursday, March 18, Jagdish Sheth gave a lecture called Make in India. Sheth is a Professor of Marketing at the Goizueta Business School of Emory University. That night, Bollywood Night took place at Café Istanbul. Many Emory students came to dance and celebrate Indian culture, including College freshman Ravi Doshi who was the DJ. On Friday, March 19, there was a screening of “Slumdog Millionaire” and a discussion with Vikas Swarup, the author of the book off which “Slumdog Millionaire” was based. The book is called Q&A and was released in 2005.

Finally, the last India Week event took place on Saturday, March 20. There was a screening of “India’s Daughter,” as well as a discussion led by Sexual Assault Peer Advocates (SAPA). “India’s Daughter” is a 2012 documentary about the murder and sexual assault of a 23-year old student, Jyoti Singh. The documentary was censored in India as it sparked a great debate.

“I think it’s the first event that we have held which portrayed India in a negative light, which is a radical change for us as we are typically associated with lively culture events,” Nathani said.

According to him, the event was still a huge success as it brought to light changes that need to be made in India.

India Week 2015 is the brainchild of Vibhuti Patel and Tanmay Bangale, College seniors who wanted to expose Indian culture on a larger scale to the Emory community.

“We chose the week of March 15th because it coincided with the Halle Institute’s India Week, which they started in 2010,” Nathani explained.

The Halle Institute was established in 1997 and strives to cultivate global perspectives and international understanding on Emory’s campus as well as beyond. Logistically, it made sense for ICE to partner with the Halle Institute in order to cross-market their events and feature prominent speakers from the institute.

“As Armaan and I entered our presidency, we knew that this was an idea that we definitely wanted to incorporate into our event schedule so we did,” said Adit Gadh, College junior and co-president of ICE. “India Week is the way we wanted to expose the Emory community to India’s amazing diversity and culture, things we believe cannot be showcased in just one event.”

This was ICE’s first India Week, but the co-presidents of ICE believe they were successful in promoting India’s culture to the best of their ability.

“India Week was extremely well received by the Emory Community,” Gadh revealed. “We are also super excited to make some tweaks for next year to bring back India Week even bigger and better.”

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