India at Wesleyan: Some Highlights

Nandita Vijayaraghanvan '13

Nandita Vijayaraghanvan '13
Chennai, India

Government and East Asian Studies major Nandita Vijayaraghanvan '13 of Chennai, India says some of her best experiences in Wesleyan classes have helped her to "really push the envelope."

For example, Professor of Government Douglas Foyle encouraged her to pursue a 25-page research paper on how the Disney movie The Lion King is really a commentary on 1990s Clintonesque politics. "It gave me the confidence to do something really interesting and outside the box in that and all my other classes," she says.

Nandita says that Wesleyan students are "naturally very curious and accepting" of people different than themselves. After four years here, "I feel like I have a much, much wider open mind." See a video interview with Nandita here.

Navaratri Festival

Navaratri Festival

Since 1976, Wesleyan has hosted the Navaratri Festival—a celebration of Indian dance, music and food—every fall.

One of India's major festival celebrations, Navaratri is a time to see family and friends, enjoy music and dance, and seek blessings for new endeavors.

Wesleyan's celebration includes performances by some of India's leading artists, film screenings, dance parties, and an honoring of Navaratri's religious traditions.

See photos from a past celebration here.

Madhu Reddy

Madhu Reddy Fund to Support Indian Music and Dance

In 2013, Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts announced the creation of the Madhu Reddy Endowed Fund for Indian Music and Dance at Wesleyan. Reddy, a real estate agent with William Raveis based in Glastonbury, Connecticut, established the fund with a pledge of $100,000.

At a ceremony in which Reddy presented an initial check to Wesleyan, Pamela Tatge, director of the Center for the Arts, said, "For more than 50 years, Wesleyan's Music and Dance Departments and the Center for the Arts have been presenting the music and dance of India to the campus and the region. The Reddy Fund will sustain Wesleyan's annual Navaratri Festival of music and dance, as well as provide much needed support for faculty research and performance." Read more here.

Matthew Kurtz

Matthew Kurtz Works with Alumni at MINDS Foundation in India

Matthew Kurtz, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience and behavior, traveled to Gujarat, India in March 2013 to work with the MINDS Foundation. The organization, which was founded by alumnus Raghu Appasani '12 in 2010, provides mental health services to rural regions of the developing world.

While in India, Kurtz joined alumnus Lennox Byer '12, director of programs, to enhance current programming and develop a social/vocational skills rehabilitation program for patients. Kurtz is developing this program using his research experience gained through social skills training programs he has developed with patients with schizophrenia in Connecticut. Kurtz is a MINDS Foundation board member. Read more here.

Hari Krishnan

Hari Krishnan
Assistant Professor of Dance

Hari Krishnan is a dancer, choreographer and dance scholar. At Wesleyan, he teaches courses in Bharatanatyam (classical South Indian dance), as well as modern dance and introduction to dance.

Krishnan is artistic director of the Toronto-based dance company, inDANCE. He draws from popular culture, 21st century global realities and gender identity politics, and is frequently commissioned to create works in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Singapore and India. His research areas include colonialism, post-colonialism and Indian dance, contemporary dance and hybridization, globalization and the arts of India, Bharatanatyam in Tamil cinema, and the history of devadasi-courtesan dance traditions in South India.

Holi - Festival of Colors

Students Celebrate Holi (Festival of Colors)

Shakti, the South Asian Student Association, hosts an annual Holi (Festival of Colors) celebration on Foss Hill.

Students freckled each other in colored powder at the event to celebrate spring.

See photos and a video from the 2013 celebration here.