Various professors spoke about what India's 71st Republic Day meant to them, having been away from their home countries for so many years, at a celebration in Hiler Theater on Friday night.
They recalled the childhood years that they spent in India as they imparted advice to all the students gathered to celebrate their motherland.
“I remember Republic Day to be the one day everyone came together to celebrate,” said Anant Iyer, a management professor. ”And after the hoisting of the flag, we’d play games in which I’d only ever win the arithmetic race.”
Quoting Rabindranath Tagore’s poem “Where the mind is without fear," both Iyer and Kumares Sinha, a civil engineering professor, expressed how they hope to see their country prosper and be a nation of equality, unity and freedom.
They emphasized not only how far India has come since gaining its independence from the British but also on how much further the country has to go.
“I want you to remain vigilant about your professional ethics no matter what you do,” Sinha said as he spoke to the students about the importance of maintaining their dignity and integrity in all walks of life.
Saurabh Bagchi, an electrical and computer engineering professor, followed suit as he spoke about the constitution of India and the number of years it took to be adopted.
These speeches were followed by performances by graduate students that ranged from dances to poems and singing. The hosts entertained the audiences with “shayaries” which are short poems with meanings behind them, characteristic of the event and are often made up on the spot. The songs that were performed were patriotic. One of the dances was a traditional Indian dance which is choreographed to tell a story.
“I felt like I was back home in India,” Brinda Mehta, a freshman in the College of Engineering said. "Just hearing the national anthem being played gave me goosebumps.”
Organized by Indian Graduate Students at Purdue, the event was presented by Asha for Education, an organization that works towards providing education for underprivileged children in India.
“I believe that no matter how far we come from India, no matter how many years since we’ve left her shores, we all carry with us in our hearts a little bit of that India,” Bagchi said. “And we have the rusty document of India’s constitution to thank for that part of India that we carry.”