Association of Punjabi Students at Rutgers University hosts third annual spring formal
Three dance teams and a famous singer helped Punjabi students at Rutgers connect to their roots and teach others about their culture.
On March 10, hosted by the Association of Punjabis at Rutgers University, Basant Blowout III celebrated Punjabi culture through a night of traditional food and dance, said Nupur Arora, the club’s president and a School of Arts and Sciences junior.
“This (is) our biggest (event), which we always have in the spring. It’s a way to put on a traditional show, we have traditional food, we have three dance teams,” she said. “We invited Pavvan Singh, a singer from New York to perform.”
The dancers hailed from New Brunswick and Rutgers–Newark, as well as a local school composed of high school students, she said. Rutgers Bhangra was one of these teams.
As the flagship event for the club, Basant Blowout III aimed to spread Punjabi culture, Arora said. This falls in line with the club’s goals as well.
“The mission of our club is to spread Punjabi culture, and because of that we put on two events per semester,” she said.
In the past, she said proceeds from the event have supported charities. This year, all of the leftover food was distributed to local homeless shelters, as charity is one important aspect of the group.
The night’s events demonstrated how Punjabi students have a good time, said Akshi Dhawan, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences junior.
“Our main purpose is to spread our Punjabi culture, and the best way to do it is to show just how Punjabis (party),” she said. “Our main (event) is the dance floor, and it’s just a fun way to spread our culture.”
The event was open to all students, she said, including non-Punjabi members of the Rutgers community.
“We have a lot of diversity, so it’s great for (others) to learn,” she said. “(We want them) to have a good night, (and) more than anything get a sense of our culture.”
The keynote event for the night featured an Indian-born, American-raised singer named Pavvan Singh. He said his exposure to both cultures helped him spread Punjabi culture more effectively.
The New York-based singer was invited by the organizers due to his work with traditional folk songs, he said.
“I’m going to be (performing) three (short) songs and one long one,” he said. “It’s R&B and traditional … I’m singing folk and I’m pretty sure not a lot of people know (traditional) folk. They know R&B (but) if they listen to my lyrics they’ll know what folk is, they’ll know what my culture is.”
Attendees would hopefully want to hear more music and by extension, learn more about Punjabi culture based on the songs, he said.
“Hopefully (guests) will appreciate our culture more,” Dhawan said. “I hope in the future more people (attend).”
Nikhilesh De is a School of Engineering junior. He is the news editor of The Daily Targum. Follow him onTwitter @nikhileshde for more.