The sweet taste of India

Jeff Christoff

On Nov. 8, IndUS of Fox Valley will hold its annual gala event, “A Celebration of Indo-American Friendship and Goodwill,” on the Lawrence University campus. “The primary purpose of [this event] is to celebrate the friendship and goodwill between people of India and United States,” Dr. B. S. Sridhar, president of IndUS, said. “The annual event also has distinct educational and cultural awareness objectives.”

The theme to this year’s gala is “Folk Arts of India,” and it will formally begin with the lighting of the Friendship Lamp. This ceremony acknowledges members of the community who contribute in fields like education, art, culture, diversity awareness, science and technology, government, and others.

A cultural exhibition will feature various forms of regional folk arts, such as leather works, folk paintings, Rangoli, puppets, and more, while the dinner banquet will offer gourmet food, with each dish having a regional flavor.

Poet Laureate of Wisconsin Ellen Kort will then deliver her keynote address “Living the Circle.” “Ms. Kort is very involved in educating the people and sensitizing them to their higher values and aesthetic sensibilities through poetry,” Sridhar said. “A poet as open minded and intellectually stimulating as Kort will accentuate the higher values our organization celebrates.”

After the address, a cultural program entitled “Kartik Comes to Kanthapura” will be presented, featuring twenty-nine dancers performing folk dances from various regions of India. The dance program is inspired by Indian writer Hasan Raja Rao’s epic novel Kanthapura.

This gala event has been held annually since 1999. Themes from past years include “Glimpses of India” (1999), “India’s Contributions to Science & Technology” (2000); “Festivals of India” (2001); and “Indian Weddings” (2002).

IndUS and Lawrence collaborated on this event in 2000 and 2001. “Staff at Lawrence provides crucial support in the execution of the event,” Sridhar said. In addition, “several members of Lawrence faculty, staff and students have been members or regular attendees of IndUS programs.”

One such person is Greg Volk, Vice President for Development and External Affairs and member of the IndUS Board. “As a part of our interest in supporting the community and community organizations, Lawrence is proud to play a role in hosting the IndUS annual dinner,” Volk said.

IndUS has also presented other events on campus. Earlier this year, the organization financed and organized “Rhythms of IndUS,” a performance by the Indian percussion group Tarang. This event was a part of Lawrence’s World Music Series. IndUS has also sponsored a lecture on “Indus Valley Civilization” by a cultural anthropologist.

IndUS of Fox Valley is dedicated to promoting Indo-American friendship and goodwill by serving the community through social, cultural, educational and charitable activities.

The event is from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the Buchanan-Kiewit Recreation Center. Admission is $20.00 for students, and $28.00 for the general public.