NHSF London Zone Sports Competition 2013

 

Imperial brought it home…by Aman Sethi

London Zone Comp 2013 Kabaddi Trophy

It’s the morning after the first ever NHSF London Zone Sports Competition and we’re all still coming to terms with the fact that we WON! Imperial Hindu Society returned with the coveted title of NHSF London Zone Kabaddi Champions after an intense final against LSE Hindu Society. In true sporting and NHSF spirit, however, LSE were incredibly gracious in their defeat as they displayed a great show of respect and solidarity to their challengers. All competitors on behalf of Imperial Hindu Society had trained hard for several weeks leading up to the day and competed fiercely with our Football and Netball teams also performing incredibly well.

The NHSF London Zone Sports Competition is a key medium for NHSF members from across London to develop a more active involvement in sport. The event provides the opportunity for NHSF chapters to demonstrate several weeks of hard work though sport whilst teams from all across London connected in the name of Hindu Dharma. Competitors united in Lord Hanuman’s virtues of strength, humility and solidarity, some fundamental aspects of Hinduism, to come out victorious in the sports of Football, Netball, Kabaddi and Kho Kho.

Imperial Hindu Society would like to congratulate all our competitors for their hard work and effort placing in every sport. They played every game with skill, dedication and team spirit showing great conviction in their effort. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank NHSF Brunel for hosting the first ever NHSF London Zone Sports Competition so successfully, as well as all committee members on the day who were instrumental in the smooth running of a very organised and successful sports competition.

Bring on the nationals!

Diwali Ball 2013

 

And so it begins: by Aman Sethi

Five months ago, we began with an idea. While the idea may have initially represented a farfetched dream, today, we and Imperial Indian Society celebrate the success of Diwali Ball 2013. Held at Hammersmith Town Hall, the evening was an authentic opportunity for Imperial students to honour their culture and the spirit of Diwali. It was a celebration, a spiritual ceremony, a cultural feast and an entertaining evening but above all Diwali Ball was an exclusive occasion to mark this charming festival which holds a special place in all our hearts. It was a great pleasure to work with Imperial Indian society who shared a united vision, helping us to raise huge amounts for charity.

The night began with an engaging dance routine by the East meets West 2013 act DesiBeats followed by an incredible singing performance from Rijul Bohra and Vidushi Pradhan. As part of the post-dinner entertainment, a classical drama based on an aspect of Hindu mythology was also staged. The theatrical production of Ramayana entertained the audience with many students enjoying a comical revision of the traditional story. Henna Patel, Director and Vice-President of Hindu Soc, would like to extend her appreciations to all cast members who graciously devoted their limited time to attending rehearsals and contributing to making the play a success.

Many of the students were left amazed by the rich traditions of Hinduism as they immersed themselves into the echoing resonance of the aarti. Students adorned themselves in traditional clothing marked with vibrant colours presenting themes of colour and light that reflect the true spirit of this celebration.  The drinks reception and catered 3 course banquet left many feeling content and importantly, we were honoured to host a live Bollywood DJ who brought with him a depth of experience, innovation and sophistication to the event.

Imperial Hindu Society aspires to make Diwali Ball a yearly tradition focused upon evoking the powerful message of good over evil and the glory of light over darkness. We hope that the event will continue to be a focal opportunity for celebration for future students. All proceeds from this event will benefit Care Education Trust UK among other charities. On behalf of Imperial Hindu Society and Indian Society, we would like to greatly thank all those who attended and both committees for donating their time to ensure the success of Diwali Ball 2013.

Happy Diwali!

Diwali

 

The Festival of Lights by Paawan Sharma

Diwali, which falls on the New Moon of the month of Karttika (late October – early November) is the biggest and most festive occasion in the Hindu calendar. It is celebrated across the world as homes light up with glowing candles and skies are filled with flashy fireworks. It’s a great time for families and loved ones to get together and celebrate before the advent of winter.

The significance of Diwali can be found in the mythological tales of the Puranas. The relevant story here is given below.

The Churning of the Ocean
The sage Durvasa had been to visit Lord Vishnu and Sri Lakshmi and, on his visit, had received a fragrant garland. On the journey back, he happened to chance across Indra – king of the devas – riding upon his elephant. As a gesture of blessing, the sage offered Indra the garland which had belonged to Lakshmi.

Indra was unaware of the significance of the wreath and, quite egoistically, placed it upon the head of his elephant who, irritated by the smell, dashed it to the ground. This angered Durvasa, a man widely known for his bad temper, and he proceeded to place a curse upon the gods: they would be deserted by Lakshmi and, as a result, lose all their opulence and prosperity.

At the advice of Brahma, the gods bereft of all their power and influence, approached Lord Vishnu. He directed them to churn the mythical Kshira-sagara, the ocean of milk, doing which would win them amritam, the nectar of immortality. They were to use the bulky mountain Mandara as the churning stick and the gigantic serpent king Vasuki as the rope. However, devoid of strength as they were, the gods were also told to seek a truce with the demons and work with them for this colossal task.

Vishnu warned the gods to not be lulled by anything from the ocean and seek only the nectar. He also assured them that he would guard the nectar from the demons, since they would wreak destruction in the world if they became immortal.

The churning got underway. There were obstacles in the process, but these were overcome with the help of Vishnu and Siva. The ocean produced many weird and wonderful things (the Moon, a wish-granting tree, a poison that could destroy the universe, just to name a few) but the two most significant were certainly the amritam that the gods sought and the Goddess Lakshmi, who reappeared in the world after she had abandoned the devas on account of their arrogance.

The return of the Goddess Lakshmi
The story is rife with symbolism throughout, but the appearance of Lakshmi and her return to the world is the event that marks the day of Diwali. The gods were overjoyed and reverentially welcomed the Goddess.

Lakshmi is an aspect of Shakti: she is the power through which all of us act. In her absence, the gods lost all their power and wealth and even their immortality! She was won back after a hard labour which required monumental efforts as well as the grace of God.

Lakshmi specifically represents that part of the Goddess which is creative, industrious and dynamic. She has dominion over all efforts which will lead to drastic change but are born of noble intentions and high ideals.

Starting a new business, buying a new home, undertaking a new project – all these things are enabled by the blessings of Lakshmi. It is for this reason that she is worshipped as the giver of wealth, prosperity and riches. It is no surprise, therefore, that for many people in India, the day after Diwali marks the beginning of a new year.

The word Diwali is a contraction of the Sanskrit deepa-avali (a row of lamps), as we customarily light our homes up with candles on this moonless night to welcome the Goddess Lakshmi. Without her grace, the year would not bring success or good fortune.

Imperial College Hindu Soc would like to wish everyone a very joyful Diwali and hopes that the coming year brings you great prosperity and success!

Ujaali

Dandiya Dhamaka by Aman Sethi and Paawan Sharma

Ujaali had an incredible turnout this year and we were delighted to see students come together to celebrate. Garba is the perfect medium to connect dynamism with religion and Navaratri would surely be incomplete without it. Ujaali delivered yet again a fun night of spirited, festive celebration! It was such a pleasure to watch students across Imperial dress to impress, dance the night away and let it all come together in a wild frenzy of claps and steps.

Our aim has always been to make Ujaali a memorable occasion rather than a typical dance event. Now in its fourteenth year, the event’s focus lies not only in presenting the cheer of Garba, but also in encouraging cultural awareness and a coming together of members of our Hindu Society family, both old and new. It expresses the richness of Indian culture in a vibrant way and provides students with a way to connect with their heritage when they may be missing home the most. We hope you all found Ujaali entertaining and enjoyed the engaging music and dance. All the money raised will be donated to Care Education Trust UK, whose primary aim is to better the lives of underprivileged children in developing countries by providing them with the invaluable gift of education.

“I loved it! I felt like I was at a home away from home,” said one of the new freshers! We couldn’t have put it better ourselves. As it has always done, Hindu Society continues to provide a family feel for all its members, and Ujaali was the perfect illustration of that!

We say if you didn’t ache or sweat, you DIDN’T do it right! There was a great response to our live band who brought an amazing flare, energy and rhythm for attendees to enjoy the company of others who love to dance. Imperial Hindu Society would particularly like to praise the freshers’ dance performance which involved the largest number of students to date. Credit is due to our two choreographers, Janaki and Trisha, who broadened the appeal of the traditional festival through the use of contemporary music, while still retaining the authentic spirit and vigour of Garba.

The curtains had to close at some point. Until next year…

‘Ujaali epic chhe!’