Cultural Night – an extravaganza epitomising diversity | Aga Khan Academies

Cultural Night – an extravaganza epitomising diversity

20 November 2018

The Academy’s annual celebration of culture, diversity and pluralism took place at the amphitheatre on the evening of Saturday 3rd November, with close to 20 outstanding dance, music, poetry and dramatic performances by students and staff. The event was organised by five grade 11 students – Aafreen Prasla, Simran Patel, Nihan Khoja, Rahil Jiwani, and Iliyan Gowlani – as a CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service) project.

“Pluralism evolves by bringing diverse perspectives together to make unique learning experiences both inside and outside the classroom,” explains Simran. “The multitude of cultures at the Academy enriches the environment in which we live and learn. Taking all this into account, the Cultural Fest acted as a great opportunity for students to expose themselves to new cultures and new ideas while sharing their own realities and heritage.”

The event kicked off with four classical music performances, three of which involved students from the Junior School. They mesmerised the audience with their advanced skills in tabla, as well as Hindustani and Carnatic vocals including our youngest talent, Arunima Ghosh (grade 1) and Kkashyapi Chaudhri (grade 2). A series of dances representing different parts of the country including Bengal, Maharashtra, Orissa, and a solo Shiva Tandava Strotra by Tanya Verma kept spectators riveted. Gujarati poetry recited by grade 11 student Aarav Vadhvania, melodic Pakistani folk melodies by Rayaan Rashid and Arzoo Vastani, and haunting Sufi mystic songs by Iliyan Hariyani and Sazil Ramani were also incredibly well-received.

Our exchange programme students from Mombasa brought a bit of African flavour to the celebrations, dancing to “Beyonce”, a song by hip-hop artist Tur-G. Mahek Manji, also from Kenya, lifted sprits with her rich rendition of a Swahili song. A Tajiki performance by Isminoz Jamshedova and Farhad Ata, conveyed in the Pamirian language as “Zindage thu ruz,” laid emphasis on happiness, fortune and living life to the fullest. The Academy’s Afghan students showcased traditional dances including the atan, which usually happens at weddings and other celebrations, complete in cultural dress. One of the last pieces of the show was an American contemporary ballet. 

Staff performances were no less astounding than those of the students. Teacher of theatre arts in the Senior School, George Macpherson, flawlessly delivered a rendition of a soliloquy from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, “Is this a dagger which I see before me?” Economics faculty Jina Saha’s incredible talent was demonstrated in the Nepali song she chose to serenade the audience with, while grade 3 tutor, Nivedita Paul, was grace personified in her Odissi performance, accompanied on the harmonium by grade 1 tutor, Laboni Banerjee. 

Cultural Night ended on the rather appropriate note of a fusion dance with the Afghans, Tajiks and Gujaratis coming together to blend various styles and moves. “Cultural Night is an event that each and every student looks forward to,” expressed Arzoo Vastani (grade 10). “It is a social night that helps us all to gather and appreciate each other’s way of living. Each of us made the best use of this opportunity and we cherished every moment that we spent there, appreciating the diversity that exists on our campus.”

To see our gallery of pictures from the event, click here.