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600 visitors celebrated the Indian Festival of Lights "Diwali"

Since 2009 the "Indian Cultural Centre" has been organizing the annual festival - for the first time it took place in the cafeteria at the campus of the TU with a spectacular stage and firework show

In front of the cafeteria entrance there was an unfamiliar picture: The entrance area was covered with coloured symmetrical pictures. Tea lights illuminated them. This symbolic welcome was part of the Indian Diwali-Festival which was celebrated last Saturday together with 600 visitors in the cafeteria at the campus Reichenhainer Straße 55 of the TU. From 7 p.m. until late night Indian students as well as fans of the Indian culture enjoyed a stage program, Indian food and a firework.

The message was: The good will win against the evil

"Diwali is the Indian Festival of Lights. It represents the traditional lore that Rama defeated the demon Ravan. The people celebrate Raman`s victory by enlightening their houses with candles and fireworks in the streets", says Pradeep Singh, staff member of the Institute for Printed Media Technology. Since 2009 the Indian has organized the Diwali-Festival on the campus of the TU. Riteshkumar Bhojani, staff member of the Professorship for Power Electronics and EMC, is part of this year’s five-headed organisation committee. Together with Singh he is part of the organisation team of the "Indian Cultural Centre", which represents the Indian culture in Chemnitz. "We want to communicate the message that the good will win against the evil", says Bhojani.

For the organisation of the annual Diwali-Festival Singh and Bhojani were supported by 50 voluntary assistants and stage performers. The evening started at 7 p.m. with welcome drinks followed by a two hour stage program, which was directed by the Indian students Sanjeev Chauhan and Ajinkya Khade. For the symbolic opening Prof. Dr. Reinhard Baumann of the Professorship for Power Electronics and EMC and Prof. Dr. Stephan Odenwald of the Professorship for Sports Equipment & Technology lighted two candles. Afterwards there were some chanted prayers in the historical Indo-Ayran language Sanskrit which called for peace in the world. After a short video montage the program continued: Visitors of recent festivals enjoyed the success of the Diwali-Festival at the campus of the TU.

The stage program also included the Chemnitz dance group "Sinjini", a vocal part of Indian students together with the band "Adbhut" and a performance of the Indian folk dance Bhangra. Except for some technical breakdowns the audience enjoyed the program. The most spectacular part of the program was performed by 10 Indian students - a 15-minute dance with their Bollywood fusion. After the stage progam all visitors were able to enjoy the Indian cuisine as they could eat the Indian rice Pulav, the potato dish Aloo Mutter or the beans and lentils dish Dal Makhani. After 10 p.m. the forecourt of the cafeteria was the starting point for the firework. "The firework of the Diwali-Festival can not be equated with the local New Year`s Eve fireworks. Today we paid 300 euros for the firework. Usually a single Indian household pays 400”, says Singh. After the firework everybody had the possibility to dance in the Club der Kulturen.

"Four years ago we celebrated in our living room”

Over the years the Diwali-Festival increased its number of visitors as well as professionalism at the campus. "Four years ago only a couple of Indian students studied at the TU Chemnitz. At that time we celebrated in my living room. In the following years the number increased and last Saturday several hundreds celebrated. We rented the Club der Kulturen and this year for the first time the cafeteria”, tells the organizer Singh and adds: "We are very happy to organize the Diwali-Festival in Chemnitz - it was only possible with the support of the university as well as TU Chemnitz students.”

Voices on the Diwali-Festival

Dagmar Kolkmann-Lutz, Administration Secretary of the TU Chemnitz: "Together with my husband I was here last year. I like to learn more about the Indian culture and to participate in a festival based on respect and dignity.” Maria Romanova, a Russian exchange student: "I enjoyed most the dancing performances. I have only watched them before in Bollywood movies on television.” Bhalchandra Bingewar who studies Automotive Software Engineering: " It`s my first time at the festival. At the moment I live in Chemnitz far away from India but it is possible to celebrate the Diwali-Festival with friends. It reminds us of our families at home.”

(Author: Victoria Graul, Translation: Jakob Landwehr)

Katharina Thehos

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