In a strong display of community, students, staff and faculty from every corner of Brandeis International Business School (IBS) joined together in the World Court to celebrate Diwali, the five-day festival of lights that is observed by Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs.
Always one of Brandeis IBS' most highly anticipated cultural celebrations, this year's Diwali festival drew a large audience that was treated to electrifying musical performances and tastes of South Asian culture in the form of delicious Indian cuisine and henna painting.
The festivities kicked off with a South Asian fashion show that pitted students' runway performances against that of staff and faculty members, including Professor Catherine Mann, who dazzled the crowd with a spirited entrance. It was followed with musical performances by Varun Hariharan MBA '14, as well as Tayyaba Azeem MBA ’14 and Sumeet Singh MBA ’13, concluding with a Bollywood-style student dance that elicited resounding cheers from the multicultural crowd.
Sushant Doshi MBA '14 offered his reflections on what it was like to prepare for the performances.
“Teaching all these international students the Bollywood steps was really tough, but you can see from their performance how good it turned out,” he said. “What it made it work is that everyone at [Brandeis] IBS is so completely open to all cultures.”
Diwali, which translates to “row of lights,” celebrates the Hindu god, Rama, whose homecoming from exile is commemorated by lighting lamps, or diyas, that are believed to dispel darkness.
Coordinator Naiya Khushalani MA ’13, who was also involved with last year’s festival, commented on the celebration’s impact and influence on the Brandeis IBS community.
“Diwali is something people look forward to, and the fact that people know about it gets the faculty, staff, and students really excited because they become a part of it,” she said. “It’s about food, culture, and enjoying ourselves, which is what IBS is about as well.”