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"University festival highlights South Asian cultures"
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"University festival highlights South Asian cultures"

Madusha ErandiIndulging in a five-day festival gave Madusha Erandi, 22, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Sri Lanka, new understanding and appreciation of a neighbouring culture.

A five-day long event gave me an immense amount of experience and knowledge about Indian society and culture. It happened when I participated in the South Asian Universities Festival, or SAUFEST, as a representative of the University of Colombo and Sri Lanka.

The March festival was filled with cultural, academic and co-curricular activities organized by the MohanLal Sukhadia university, Rajasthan India. Without being solely confined to academics, this event has been organized through a vast range of activities such as folk dancing, singing, and traditional dancing, traditional and Western fashion shows. It was very evident that the main intention of the festival was to bring out the cultural diversities of the South Asian countries to aid overall understanding. Although I participated for debating, I saw how the talent is not only about academics, professionalism and technicalities but also about each and every line of human interests.

University undergrads from all over South Asia contributed toward the success of this event. We had six participants representing University of Colombo in folk dancing, singing and traditional items. University of Kelaniya also represented Sri Lanka.

Let me describe how we felt about the event, and about experiencing India as a Sri Lankan.

To start off with food – well, it was simply a great deal to us to be pure vegetarians for a week. Indians vegetarians are blessed with amazing cookery skills and tastes. We had parathas, pani poori and amazing traditional Indian dishes. We had all kinds of curries which we didn’t know by name, but which had amazing taste. The fresh milk gave a glimpse as to the rich resources India possesses.

It is important that I talk about the hospitality we received and the people we met. As Sri Lankans we are so proud of ourselves for the great hospitality we have toward other nations. It should be very gratefully stated here that the welcome and hospitality we received in India can in every way equal Sri Lankan hospitality. The friendly nature about everybody made India feel like home. They were very much concerned with fulfilling each and every necessity for the foreign students participating in the event. They told us about India and helped us with discovering Indian cities. If not for them, the South Asian Festival would not have been as joyful as expected.

As noted, the festival had all sorts of events to show the true talents of people. But it should be mentioned that event was completely non-competitive. The convener of the event, Pradeep Triktha, stated that genuine talents of individuals wouldn’t be seen if the event was of a competitive nature. Even the debates were held as a dialogue forum.

They had organized a fashion show as an entertainment event, with the participation of the majority of students. This bought a light to the event where all could present their traditional dresses and explain the traditional identity of the respective countries.

A city tour brought a great amount of knowledge and experience about India. We could visit the palace and lake in Udaipur. Since Udaipur is regarded as one of the best tourist destinations in North India, there were a lot more other places we visited and as tourists we gained a great deal of travelling experience.

In all, it’s an honour to state that India is an amazing country. This event will serve as an investment for the success of all future foreign relations and bring all cultures closer to heart.

photo credit: Udaipur Insights and Madusha Erandi

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About me: I am determined and ambitious; ready to take up any challenge. A former journalist, I’m studying law at University of Colombo and doing freelance writing. I believe the youth is the fruitful future of any country and the positive anticipation of the developing world.
I love observing people, their nature and writing about them. I am a wannabe photographer. I swim, do athletics, and sing. I consider myself as a genuine social worker. Writing is simply my passion.
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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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