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Celebrating Diversity at Diwali 

Diwali Night is known as one of the most popular diversity events at UAlbany. 

ALBANY, N.Y. (Oct. 31, 2019) – Sparkling lights, performances and authentic Indian cuisine will be part of the show at Diwali Night at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9, in the Campus Center Auditorium.

Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, is the largest festival in South Asia, and is also celebrated around the world in countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and South Africa. It symbolizes the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance.

“Diwali Night is known to be one of SUNY’s biggest diversity events at UAlbany and the Indian Student Organization (ISO) takes immense pride in organizing the event,” said ISO President Omkar Kulkarni. “By organizing Diwali Night, we would like to offer students from different countries an opportunity to showcase their talent and experience the diverse cultures on campus.”

The ISO is one of the largest student groups on campus, with more than 240 student members. Though most of the group consists of graduate students like Kulkarni, a graduate student from Kolhapur city in India, the organization welcomes undergraduate students as well.

Lighting diyas (small candles) is one of the main rituals of the festival. Historically, it is said that the entire town of Ayodhya was lit with diyas to welcome Lord Rama, Laxman and Sita after 14 years of exile after winning a battle of righteousness. The festival is celebrated between October and November each year, according to the Indian calendar.

Pradeep Atrey, a professor in the Department of Computer Science and the senior faculty advisor for the ISO, believes ISO is able to make students feel at home by celebrating Diwali far from home.

“ISO has brought to the University a varied and vibrant culture, fulfilling the University’s strategic mission of diversity and inclusion,” he said.

The organization has teamed up with the Graduate Student Association to organize the event. Organizers anticipate more than 300 guests, including students, faculty and members of the local Indian-American community.

Tickets are $10 for students, $13 for the general public and $20 for VIP tickets. The proceeds are used to pay for the traditional Indian cuisine served that night. Cultural programs and other parts of the event are free.

ISO wishes the UAlbany community a Happy Diwali.

“May the supreme light illuminate your minds, enlighten your hearts and strengthen the human bonds in your homes and communities,” said Kulkarni.

By Pranjal Atrey and Payal Wadke 

 

 

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