Originally created 09/05/97

Culture celebrates freedom



The India Day '97 celebration on Saturday will have more than the usual dancing, food and cultural exhibitions of past years, and it should.

India celebrates its 50th anniversary of freedom from British rule, and Augusta's IndoAmerican Cultural Association will re-enact this momentous time in its country's history. Children will dress as key figures from the freedom movement, such as Mohandas K. Gandhi and India's first president, Jawaharlal Nehru. Others will appear as freedom fighters, dressed in the coarse, homespun khadi cloth that Gandhi urged people to wear in place of finer British textiles.

They will march outside the Grover C. Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre at Augusta State University in a formation that represents Indias' various cultures coming together. A color guard will present the Indian and American flags, and both will be raised. People will sing both national anthems. Ram Joshi, an Augusta resident who lived in India 50 years ago, will describe what it was like when his country gained independence from British rule.

About 140 people, including 85 teen-agers, will participate in the program, which will include cuisine, cultural exhibitions and dancing. Some dances will include area high school students of different ethnic backgrounds, to represent the integration of Indian and American cultures.

Exhibits will show scenes from village life in various parts of India. Ethnic cuisine to be served includes bhatura chole (fried bread with chick peas), chicken biryani (spicy chicken and rice casserole), idli sambhar (lentil soup with rice patties) and sweets such as barfi, ladoo and sandesh.

Food sales benefit the Augusta Chapter of Shelter for Abused Children, and Augusta State University Literacy Program.

The position of Indians in this country is like that of a beautiful bride who has married a handsome husband, said Archana Treohan, president of the Indo-American Cultural Association. The bride has taken the name of the husband, but she still takes pride in her background.

"Whenever the chance comes, you show your talent or culture," she said.

Festival

What: India Day '97
When: 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday: Indian cuisine, exhibition from 3 to 6 p.m., re-enactment from 4:30 to 5:30 p‘.m., cultural program from 6 to 8 p.m.
Where: Grover C. Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre, Augusta State University, 2500 Walton Way
How much: Free