Ganapati Festival in Pittsburgh-----Press Report
Hindu Students Council of Pittsburgh Celebrates Ganesh Chaturthi
by Srikanta Mookerjee
and Amit Patel
On Friday, September 16, 94, Hindu Students Council, Pittsburgh
chapter celebrated the Ganapati Festival. Over 425 people attended the
event and for most participants, this was their first exposure to HSC
and its activities. Almost all the undergraduate students from the
University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon participated and there were
students from as far away as West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky.
The festivities began at 7 PM with an introduction to the program
by Sonia Ratnaparkhi, a pre-med student at te University of Pittsburgh.
She also coordinated the puja part of the program. Ajapa Mukherjee, an
active member in the campus community spoke about Ganesh Chaturthi and the
significance behind this grand Hindu festival.
This was followed by Ganesh puja conducted by Dr. Jagannath
Karambelkar, a physician and a member of Hindu-Jain Temple. He was
joined by 12 students from UPitt and CMU. Dr Karambelkar explained
step by step the significance behind the puja ceremony. Arati was performed
and the entire audience stood up and sang "Om jaya Jagadisha hare" and
took turns to put tilak on their foreheads. Prasadam was distributed by
Bindu CHaluvadi and Anandhi Narasimhan, both freshmen students at UPitt.
The audience was enthralled by the whole ceremony. Dr Gopal Kulkarni, a
retired professor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania spoke about the
universality of Hindu Dharma.
After a short break, the cultural program started. This part of
the program was coordinated by Poorvi Shah, a freshman at Carnegie-Mellon
University. The dance sequences and music appeared to be very well coordinated.
The music started and everybody started playing dandia. Dandia
is a traditional Hindu dance from Western India signifying an event between
Lord Krishna and his devotees. Later, there was bhanga, a traditional
farmers' dance from Northern India.
The participants appeared to have enjoyed the program very much,
and were impressed at the organized way in which the whole festival was
handled. Sanjay Ravi, an active HSC member from CMU said "We Did It" at the
end of the whole event. That seemed to sum up the way the organizers felt
after the successful culmination of the event. According to most people in
the audience, this is the biggest ever event of Indian origin ever to
be held by any campus group in Pittsburgh. Everybody had a very positive
feeling about the Ganapati Festival and hoped to see more such events in
the future. The next HSC/Pittsburgh event is Navaratri on Oct 29.