November 18, 2012
After a hectic week, ISAA brought India in Marty’s. ISAA, International Students Association and Allies, has started a tradition of sharing different cultures with the campus called Country Presentations. Last year we brought South Africa to Marty’s and we got to meet South Africans and hear about the 11 different languages spoken there. As the tradition continued, this year we travelled to Asia to learn about India.
I thought 11 languages were too much; In India they speak 22 +1 official languages, according to the presenters. In Swaziland, we speak only 2 languages, SiSwati and English. So, we can communicate with all Swazi’s regardless of their region of residence. However, in India you cannot communicate with all the Indians because some states speak different languages from other states. India has 325 spoken languages and 1652 dialects. On top of that, the languages have different vocabularies and scripts. India is a huge country, but the USA too is big. When you travel from one state to another in the USA you are assured that most people will be speaking English and you will be able to read the names of the shops. Communicating with others is not an issue at all in the USA. However, in India the languages are different. Some states speak the same language but others speak a different language. As a student at the event, Sam said, “as you travel across the country, people speak different languages. You can see the dress code, the scripts change as you enter some states.” Sam spent two years of his High school in India; he is from Namibia. What amazes me is that even though the people are different in language and culture, they are still part of one country. They might have had challenges in the past and today, their differences have ultimately brought them together; they have found a common ground where they can be as peaceful as they can be.
Then, there were dances. WOW, I was blown away. One dance was like the ones I see in Bollywood movies. The dance groups were mixed of different students from different countries but they perfected the dance moves and the final product was like professional Indian dancers were dancing. They were wonderful. Then there was the bamboo dance. Bamboo dance is a folk dance from Mizoram danced in most of the festivals in India. I was scared of dancing the bamboo dance because I thought the bamboos were going to trip me and I would fall. Nevertheless, there were brave ladies and men who learned the dance and I enjoyed watching them.
When it comes to food, all I can say is, “WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, Indians can cook.”