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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Marquette Indian Student Association opens Diwali celebration to whole campus

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg
ISA’s next event will be a fundraiser at Sobleman’s, November 27 to support flood relief in India.

For the first time ever, Marquette Indian Student Association’s Diwali Night was open to all Marquette students, not just members of ISA.

Diwali Night took place in the AMU Ballroom this past Friday. The room was decorated with string lights covering the ceiling and walls of the room. In the front, a DJ played Indian pop and dance music while on the left-hand side of the room, lines formed around the Indian food options and the free henna tattoo station.

The event began at 9 p.m. and was filled with ISA members and people from all backgrounds across campus. Arsh Salwan, a junior in the College of Health Sciences and president of ISA, said he was excited about the scale of this Diwali night compared to ones in the past.

“It was mine and the vice president’s decision (to open up the event),” Salwan said. “In the past it was just a dinner open only to ISA members so this year we wanted to spread the culture around campus. … They told us over 350 people came so it was super refreshing that all the hard work paid off.”

Diwali Night was ISA’s homage to the five-day Festival of Lights in India. Diwali celebrates the triumph of good over evil as well as Lakshimi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. In India, every home is lit with clay lamps called Diyas so that no darkness can enter. Food is shared and neighbors and families are welcomed into each other’s homes.

For Roshni Patel, a junior in the college of Arts & Sciences, Diwali Night is about celebrating the religious aspect of the event: the triumph of good over evil.

“Diwali is a holiday that we celebrate for our god (who) defeated one of the evils,” Patel said. “(The holiday) makes me appreciate that because one of our gods was able to defeat this evil, we can be here and be happy and safe. It’s the idea that our god is here for us.”

For others, Diwali Night was a chance to engage with Indian culture far from home. On a campus that is largely Catholic, clubs like ISA help promote diversity and cultural inclusivity.

“(ISA) helps me keep to my roots which is difficult when you aren’t at home,” Trisha Gandhi, a junior in the College of Health Sciences, said. “I’m not Catholic but I go to a Catholic school so this club (lets me be) with friends who share the same values.”

Gigi Meyer, a freshman in the College of Nursing, said she came to the event for henna tattoos but ended up leaving with a greater appreciation for Indian culture and the work ISA set out to do.

“I love Marquette’s whole ‘cura personalis’ attitude which means respect for the whole person,” Meyer said. “I think that also includes respect for all cultures. So I really appreciate how Late Night Marquette had Diwali Night. I think it promotes unity on campus and it’s great for developing oneself and becoming a person of the world.”

Salwan said he felt Diwali Night accomplished what he and the editorial board hoped it would. He also added that he hopes the event curated interest in Indian culture on campus and will draw people in to their other events this year.

“I think we have tried (to spread our culture),” Salwan said. “In today’s day and age it’s important to educate others. That was one of our goals this year: to educate others and spread awareness about the organization and Indian cultures. In the past we have done a good job but we wanted to expand that. Hopefully people will continue to take interest in ISA.”

ISA will be hosting a fundraiser Nov. 27 to raise money for recent flooding in Southern India. The event will be taking place at Sobelman’s and proceeds from food purchased will go towards relief aid in Southern India.

This event will be the last big event before ISA’s dance team performs their annual show in the spring.


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