They danced to the tune of the title song for a popular Indian animation television serial;
sang "Vandemaataram" which was an inspirational song to thousands of freedom
fighters in India a century ago ; enacted popular Indian TV ads , all amidst applause from
a 200 odd crowd- the same crowd which had an hour before stood in salute to the
fluttering Indian National flag. These were all scenes from the Indian Independence Day
celebration organized by Develop Empower and Synergize India (DESI), at the
University of Maryland College Park on 15th August, 2005.
This was the second consecutive year that DESI has
successfully organized the
Independence Day celebrations on campus. Started by a
small group of Indian students in the summer of 2003 DESI has now grown to a 750 member group, serving not only the
diverse community on campus, but the Indian American community outside campus as
well. DESI focuses on three major aspects pertaining to India - its Pragati team works
towards holistic development of the rural areas of India, the SAINT team deals with
strategic and sub-continental security issues and the Shruti team involves itself in Indic
studies and bringing forth India's rich spiritual wealth including meditation, Yoga and so
on to the world at large.
Flag Hoisting at India's 58th Independence Day at University of Maryland, College Park.
The event started with flag hoisting at the Amphitheater, which was lead by Dr Amita
Sharma, a former member of the National Cadet Corps (NCC) of India. After rendering
the Indian and American National Anthems, the crowd proceeded to the Baltimore Room,
where the popular "samosas" and Indian sweets were served, marking the joyful
occasion, albeit the fact that for many in the audience their motherland was thousands of
The stage programs started with two popular patritic songs by Uttam Kumar. The MCs
Anupama Ramachandran and Ashwin Aravindakshan entertained the audience with
questions related to India and its rich cultural and spiritual heritage. The skits on popular
Indian TV ads were enacted by a team comprising of Tejas Vora, Anshu Rastogi, Srilatha
Kuntumalla, Kaushik Mitra and Ashish Banerjee and they were performed in between
songs and dances. Rangoli Inc presented a bollywood dance performed by 16 little kids
and choreographed by Sonali Isaac. A classical Indian dance performance by Jaya Rao
and a dance performance by Kunal Kothari and Vinod Sangwan to the tune of "Mangal Mangal"
from the newly released patriotic movie "Mangal Pandey" were the other attractions. The
day ended with a screening of the movie "Lakshya".
Little Kids from Rangoli, Inc., await their turn to dance during the event
An enthusiastic audience filled the hall with their presence and cheers
Develop Empower and Synergize India, College
Park, MD 20742, USA