JustArts: What does Namaskar do on campus?

Pramoda Bapatla: We are the religious Hindu organization on campus. We do the more religious aspects of our culture. There is another organization on campus called SASA, South Asian Student Association, and they do more of the fun aspects, ... not that the religious aspect isn’t fun. 

JA:  Is it primarily Hindu students in your organization or are there other religions?

PB: We have Sikhs, there’s no Jains on campus — or at least not that I know of. So, everyone is mostly Hindu.

JA: How do you, or would you, handle interaction between different faiths in Namaskar?

PB: Regardless of whether you are Jain, Sikh or Hindu, everyone does celebrate Navratri, but they also have their own other stuff. So say we get more Sikhs and Jains on this campus, then we would take their input to do the festivals that they have. We have this organization open for them if they would like to practice their religion.

JA: What is your relationship like with the South Asian Student Association?

PB: I am on e-board for SASA too. So, it’s great!

JA: Do Namaskar and SASA share many of the same members?

PB: There are not that many Indians on campus, so ... there’s a lot of overlap between the clubs.

JA: Tell me about the recent event that Namaskar held.

PB: We recently had an event called Garba which is basically to celebrate the end of a nine-day festival called Navratri, in honor of a goddess. So yea, it’s basically a nine-day festival and [on] the last day we do [a] religious ritual where we do [a] certain kind of dance called Garba. It’s just like a big party and we just do this ... dance and a religious ceremony in honor of [the goddess] and we eat food and dance more.

JA: What does Raas Rasiya mean?

BL: Raas means dance and then Rasiya is like beautiful dancing.

—Maya Zanger-Nadis