Students embark on cultural journey at first-ever India Fest

Hasu Patel, a performer from Baroda, India, plays the sitar during India Fest in Risman Plaza Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017. Patel, an internationally known sitarist, performed a specific style known as gayaki ang, which mimics the fluidity and range of the human voice.

Kassandra Kaczmarek

Authentic Indian cuisine, music and performances filled Risman Plaza Thursday for Kent State’s India Fest.

Hosted by the College of the Arts, the event is the fifth installment in the Fall Arts Festival series, and the first dedicated to India.

“(College of the Arts) Dean Crawford-Spinelli wanted to ensure that we were giving back to the Kent State community, so he came up with the fall fests, starting with a fiesta, then went onto others like Africa and Greek Fest,” said Effie Tsengas, the communications and marketing director of the College of the Arts.

Tsengas said India Fest  is a way of introducing cultures to make campus more inclusive. 

The inspiration for India Fest came from the popularity of the Asian Fest, which featured countries like China, India and Japan.

“We decided to focus in on one of those main cultures within Asia, and we chose India,” Tsengas said.

Students had the chance to sample authentic cuisine typically served in India. Some dishes on the menu included tandoori chicken over rice, vegetarian samosa and spiced masala chai tea.

One of India Fest’s most popular attractions was the henna tattoo table, offered to students for free.

“My favorite part of the festival was getting the henna; the girls at the table were very nice and patient,” said Sheree Wilerson, a senior human development and family studies major.

A variety of Indian music echoed through Risman Plaza. Jayaram Muthuswamy, an associate professor of finance, performed music on a veena, which is an instrument native to India. 

“I just stumbled upon the event and heard the pretty music,” said Jaime Reiser, a freshman psychology major. “I like how a lot of it is performed by Kent State students because it really showcases them.”

Kassandra Kaczmarek is a entertainment and arts reporter. Contact her at [email protected].