The Cultural Association of India celebrated the 64th annual Republic Day to honor the anniversary of India’s independence on Jan. 26.
Republic Day is a celebration of India’s independence. They officially established their constitution in 1947 after breaking away from the British government.
The event was open to the public and included students, faculty members and families. The association officers organized the event. To begin, CAI had children sing both India’s and America’s national anthems. CAI adviser Ranadhir Mitra said he finds the holiday to be equivalent to America’s Memorial Day or the Fourth of July.
To celebrate the holiday, junior Chris Stevens performed the song "Raga Desh" on the sitar. Afterwards, CAI member Gautam Gurnani recited poetry in Hindi.
A few children sang "Mahaakavi Bharatiyaar," danced to "Kilimanjaro Endhiran" and "Jai Ho" from Slumdog Millionaire. The children also made a presentation as a tribute to Indian Hindu monk Swami Vivekananda on his 150th birthday.
CAI’s newest 2013 officers were announced at the celebration including President Abhishek Patil and Vice President Krishna Chaitanya Bommisetty.
Patil announced they would be working on two new projects, including Point of Contact and CAI-MU Alumni.
“Point of Contact will make the transition smoother for incoming students,” Patil said.
Point of Contact will welcome incoming students from India, and CAI-MU Alumni will focus on connecting old and new CAI members to increase their network in other universities.
After celebrating Republic Day, Mitra announced upcoming events including Holi-Baisakhi, Festival of Colors and India Night. Mitra said India Night is an exciting night because it will be their 22nd time to celebrate in Jesse Hall this coming spring. The event will share India’s culture.
“The event is completely student-run by the CAI officers,” Mitra said.
Mitra said later in the year students will also be able to engage with the Indian culture in the Festival of Colors. The festival celebrates the good over bad. People throw multicolored dyes and water at one another.
Mitra is one of the current advisers, but he joined CAI in 1964 when he was an MU student. He said he has noticed growth in the organization since he joined.
When he first became a member, he said the club only had eight to 10 members, all males, and one faculty member. In the mid-70s more people started to join, including females. Now in 2013, students, faculty and families are joining for the cultural festivities.