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

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

The Battalion

Advertisement
Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Advertisement
Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
Saves and a robbery
Ian Curtis, Sports Reporter • June 16, 2024

Texas A&M baseball sophomore RF Jace LaViolette is known for his bat — and for good reason. LaViolette ranks sixth in the country in home...

Advertisement
The Fighting Texas Aggie Band performs at halftime during Texas A&Ms football game against ULM at Kyle Field on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023.
Gridiron glory to multi-event marvel
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • June 7, 2024

Special teams: Special events  “My favorite thing about an event is seeing the people come into the stadium and seeing their excitement...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Advertisement
Chris Hemsworth as Dementus in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.
Review: ‘Furiosa’ is a must-see
Justin ChenJune 4, 2024

My jaw dropped open in 2016. Rarely in life does that happen, but the viewing experience of “Mad Max: Fury Road" was something to behold....

Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
Saves and a robbery
June 16, 2024

Translating tradition

Several+organizations+worked+together+to+ensure+Silver+Taps+letters+were+translated+to+into+Hindi%2C+enabling+the+families+of+Nikhil+Bhatia+and+Shalini+Singh+to+fully+participate+in+the+Aggie+Tradition.
Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker

Several organizations worked together to ensure Silver Taps letters were translated to into Hindi, enabling the families of Nikhil Bhatia and Shalini Singh to fully participate in the Aggie Tradition.

As the Aggie Family stood in remembrance of the graduate students who passed away earlier this semester, students and staff worked together to ensure that relatives of the deceased could read the letters written by their Aggie family.
Nikhil Bhatia and Shalini Singh died after drowning in Lake Bryan on Aug. 29 and were honored at the October Silver Taps ceremony. The Indian Graduate Student Association (IGSA) and the Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC) worked with International Student Services and Traditions Council to translate letters from English to Hindi.
Graduate and Professional Student Council President Matthew Etchells and International Student Affairs Chair for GPSC Saloni Bafna, attended the funeral for Bhatia that was held shortly after his death. Etchells said he feels a deep obligation to represent all grad students, especially in hard times.
“At the funeral, when I went up and hugged Nikhil’s mother, she just broke down crying,” Etchells said. “It was just a hard moment. I think everyone’s just looking for closure on different levels, but then I realized she didn’t speak English.”
Etchells and Bafna represented the families of Bhatia and Singh at the Silver Taps ceremony in October, since many of their relatives could not attend. Realizing the challenges both families faced during the tragedy, Bafna said translating the Silver Taps letters would assist in comforting the relatives of Bhatia and Singh.
“Shalini’s parents don’t have passports, so they couldn’t even come to her funeral,” Bafna said. “She had her brother and uncle there instead, so I knew then that the Silver Taps letters would be important to the families, especially after seeing how one family couldn’t get any closure because they weren’t here.”
Etchells and Bafna reached out to Fnu Gompa Pranathi, president of the IGSA, for help. Pranathi gathered 20 students to translate the letters.
“It took us a week and half because I had to find lots of people who were free, in the midst of midterms and everything,” Pranathi said. “I distributed the letters amongst IGSA members, Saloni and my roommates and other close friends. One of my friends who picked up a letter realized his handwriting was really bad so he typed everything in Hindi, printed it out and pasted it on the letter. It was a huge effort, because you don’t have the keyboard for the Hindi language on your phone. And he did about 40 letters.”
As a graduate student, Pranthai said it’s often hard to experience the Aggie Spirit since they are only at A&M for two years. While coordinating the translation of over 200 letters, Pranthai said reading the messages made her feel a part of a bigger family.
“I never expected so many letters,” Pranthai said. “Initially, I didn’t know who all wrote letters for the students when they pass. I thought relatives and people really close to them were the only ones who wrote the letters, but when I was reading each and every letter, I realized that most didn’t even know the students personally and still they had [many] nice things to say.”
With these letters complete, Etchells said the next step is to set up a framework that will allow GPSC to coordinate between Traditions Council and International Student Services to help translate letters for students in the future, an idea still in the works.
Daniel J. Pugh Sr., vice president of Student Affairs, said providing a service like this is something that should become a standard operating procedure when coordinating Silver Taps ceremonies in the future.
“I remember when Matthew shared with me what they were doing and I was proud,” Pugh said. “I don’t think we realize that there may be some cultural, linguistic challenges in that, but these students were able to bring the spirit of the school to someone who may not have the experience.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *