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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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June 16, 2024

Hindu student group condenses 9-day festival into ‘Dandiya Night’

Men and women dress in vibrant colors and dance for nine days during the popular Indian dance festival, Navratri.
During the festival, the nine forms of Goddess Shakti, the goddess of power, are worshipped through the traditional Garba and Dandiya raas dances. In place of the nine-day long event, the Hindu Student Association, HSA, will host a one-day version Friday in the MSC called “Dandiya Night.”
“It is basically to commemorate Navratri and it falls on the last day of Navratri, so we can celebrate it within the time frame that people usually do,” said Chital Bhakta, HSA president. “We are hoping to just condense it to one day and spread awareness of Navratri to people.”
The festival of Navratri has several deep meanings and significances. People participate in fasting and prayer to observe the various godesses.
“‘Nav’ meaning nine and nights as in ‘ratri,’” Bhakta said. “We are worshipping and acknowledging the nine different forms of Goddesses in India and their powers. And by doing that it kind of commemorates the power of women as well.”
Utsav Talati, industrial engineering graduate student from India, said Navratri celebrates the victory of good over evil.
“[Mythology says that] Goddess Ambe Maa killed a demon called Mahisasur in a fight which went on for nine days and nine nights,” Talati said.
One dance performed during the festival is the garba, a dance form with many different variations based on foot movement and rhythmic claps, called “taali.” If clinking sticks replace the clapping, then the dance transforms to “Dandiya raas.”
Chris Raman, HSA special events chair and psychology junior, said the simplest styles are either two steps, called “be taali,” or three steps, called “trantaali.”
“We try to keep it a little bit easier, because not everyone knows how to do it,” Raman said. “But a lot of people learn the steps at the event. We will be there and will be happy to help.”
To provide a variety of music, HSA has hired a DJ, said Shivani Desai, HSA public relations officer and psychology sophomore.
“We will play garba songs and after that we will have party songs, like modern Hindi songs,” Desai said. “So it won’t just be garba — it will be more like a gala night.”
Nandani Patel, HSA treasurer and molecular and cellular biology junior, said the preparations for the Dandiya night are in full swing.
“We have decorations and advertisements, and we are selling tickets next week in Rudder Plaza from Tuesday through Thursday,” Patel said. “We are also teaching people how to do some garba steps.”
Raman said many students who have taken a Bollywood music class come to this event to pick up extra credits. She said the event is not exclusive to Indian students.

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