Cultural Traditions of India: Music and Art

by Madison Kjosa

This past Wednesday, Nov. 14, the Burnett Honors College was swathed in the sights and sounds of India during “Cultural Traditions of India: Music and Art” as part of UCF’s International Education Week (IEW).

Described by UCF Global, IEW is a “joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Education that celebrates the benefits of international education and exchange across campuses worldwide.”

This particular event was presented by Pandit Nandishkor Muley, The India Center at UCF, and some of Muleys’ students to immerse people in Indian culture. Main events included watching a traditional music performance, sampling cuisine staples and viewing stunning art pieces.

One of the registered student organizations involved with the execution of this event was the Indian Student Association (ISA). This organization exists to share Indian culture and tradition across campus, which was exactly what members Sorabh Gupta, Darshan Dave and Preethi Atluri did while tabling at the event. ISA also conducts a big-little mentoring program for its members, hosts Indian dance teams and puts on various cultural events throughout the academic year.

Between watching performances and meeting new faces, attendees tried traditional Indian food that was doled out by UCF student, Swathi Krishnan. Among the delicious fare to try were samosas (a savory pastry made with potatoes and vegetables), murukku (a rice flower-based snack popular in South Indian), and Indian sweets that are traditionally served during Diwali—the Hindu festival of lights.

Krishnan also performed Carnatic music—a system of music that is typically associated with southern India. She learned this music style from her mother at the age of three and has performed it ever since. She and her mother also teach about 100 students this unique and beautiful musical style.

While just a small taste, this experience allowed members of the UCF community to glimpse authentic Indian culture in a spirited, inclusive environment. They left not only knowing but appreciating the beauty and uniqueness of Indian culture. For more information about The India Center at UCF, please visit their website.

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