was made at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) on 15th
August 2004 when Indian Independence day celebrations were organized
for the first time by the student community. The event was a grand
success in bringing together the local community and giving them
a taste of Indian culture. It featured spectacular dance and musical
performances by the student community and an interactive quiz on
event was organized by Develop Empower & Synergize India (DESI).
DESI is an UMD based group comprising of students and young professionals
in the Washington DC Metro region. DESI focuses on key issues pertaining
to India and Indian Diaspora and is comprised of three main teams.
Students Against INternational Terrorism (the SAINT team) focuses
on Strategic affairs and terrorism related issues in south Asia,
sub-continental security and territorial integrity of India. The
Shruti team promotes Indian culture and Indic traditions and encourages
research on portrayals of India in Western media and academia. The
Pragati team is involved in large-scale developmental efforts in
India by collaborating with grass-roots service organizations like
Ekal-Vidyalaya and by promoting the infrastructure projects like
the national water grid project and the national highways project.
These teams work closely with policy makers in the U.S.A and India
to achieve their objectives.
event began with a ceremony where Indian and the American national
flags were unfurled. This ceremony generated a lot of interest as
a member of the audience, who was randomly chosen, hoisted the flags.
This was followed by a soulful rendition of Indian national anthem
and the “Star Spangled Banner” by the Indian American
Acapella group “Anokha”. The group also entertained
the audience with a lively performance of popular and patriotic
Indian songs. This was followed by a contemporary dance performance
by Sneha, Mukta, and Divya, (undergraduate students at UMD), clad
in the Indian national flag colors. The show culminated with invigorating
dance performances by “Rhythmic Rajas”, a group of young
Indian Americans. The first dance was set to a medley of songs one
of which was Vande Mataram, the national song of India. This was
followed by a solo semi-classical dance performance by Priya (a
member of Rhythmic Rajas).
Lavanya and Om (volunteers from DESI) compered the event and presented
the quiz. Indian sweets and snacks were served at the end of the
event was well attended by about two hundred people including graduate
and undergraduate students, young professionals in the region, media
personnel, and distinguished members of the community. This event
successfully drew participation from various nationalities including
Indians, Indian Americans, Americans, and Chinese. The enthusiasm
of the attendees was evident from the numerous flags and the tricolor
balloons that were fluttering at the venue.
DESI events in the recent past include collaborating with World
Association for Vedic Studies (WAVES), hosting eminent speakers
like Ms. Sandhya Jain, Dr.
Kalyanaraman, Dr. Kiran Bedi (co
hosted with Ekal Vidyalaya)
and Ms. Sonal Shah. In the years to
come, DESI is committed to remain a strong voice of the Indian Diaspora.