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Hinduism in the Arts

HSA in Arts 1

Our campus has a well-defined tradition of cultural South Asian dancing through the annual fall festival of Rangila, but there is a lack of awareness and knowledge surrounding religious South Asian arts. In an effort to fill that gap, on March 1, the Hindu Students Association put on “Hinduism in the Arts,” an interactive performance event designed to showcase Hindu religious artistic talents among Hoyas at Georgetown.

HSA in Arts 3Traditionally, Hindu sacred texts recognize 64 distinct categories of religious art, from the well-known forms of singing, dancing, and instrumental music to forms as varied as jewelry-making, literary recitation, and personal etiquette. At Hinduism and the Arts, the first half of the event allowed Hoyas spanning years, schools, and backgrounds to exhibit some of their performance talents – there was a short puja (prayer service) followed by various devotional bhajans (prayers) sung by different individuals and two types of devotional dances, kuchi-pudi and garba-raas. The second half of the night was interactive, where the 15 performers and over 50 audience members could take part in learning about and creating their own Hindu art, from sari-draping and mehndi to Sanskrit poetry and rangoli.

HSA in Arts 2As a Hindu Georgetown student, it was incredibly heart-warming to see my religion represented so beautifully on stage. I was also awe-struck at the amazing talent that I did not know existed here at Georgetown, even among my own friends. Speaking to one of my friends after the show, I asked her why she had never told me that she was classically trained in Hindu singing. She responded that she didn’t have an outlet for her passion on campus so she had been neglecting it, but after this event, she was going to find a way to continue expressing her love for classical Hindu singing. Moments like these, that bring people out of their shell and help a community further deepen a beautiful connection to God, are truly what living Jesuit values at Georgetown are all about.

Medha Chandorkar (new window), COL ’15

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