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(From left to right) Arun Saha, Anirban Biswas, Debanjan Chakraborty and Prasenjit Shome perform with Srirupa Gupta (not pictured) as the band Chhannochhara at the Bangladeshi Cultural Night in Athens, Ohio, on Oct. 20, 2019.

Bangladeshi celebration brings awareness to its culture

Baker ballroom was adorned with neon LED lights, arrays of colorful string decorations and a large crowd of people — all ready to celebrate Bangladeshi culture. 

Ohio University’s Bangladeshi Student Association, or BSA, and the International Student Union, or ISU, sponsored the first-ever Bangladeshi Cultural Night in Baker Ballroom on Sunday.

Bangladesh is a small nation in Asia next to India. It’s known for its many waterways and is home to the Bengal tiger. 

Swati Roy, a senior studying accounting and finance, is the treasurer for the BSA and emceed the event. 

“To us, the culture consists of the food, the clothes we wear and the emotional value of having things from home,” Swati said. “It’s a way for us to express who we are, and that’s what we kind of try to incorporate into this event.”

The BSA has been around for about a year but has only ever sponsored small programs for club members. The BSA was hoping to create more large-scale events for other people to enjoy, and this was a way for them to introduce others to its culture. 

The event began with appetizers, an introduction of the hosts, Swati and Eli Skelton and the Bangladeshi national anthem. The event was also kicked off by two short speeches from the BSA faculty advisor, Rifat Haider, and the ISU president, Majed Zailee. 

Skelton, a graduate student studying chemistry and biochemistry, befriended a lot of people from Bangladesh through his program and was asked to emcee the event with Swati Roy. He hopes people learn about the culture that he’s grown to know and love. 

“It’s important to experience different cultures that you probably don’t normally get,” Skelton said. “I hope they (the audience) get an idea of the way of the life of Bangladeshi people and get the chance to meet new people and have a good time.”

BSA wanted the event to be a way to introduce the key parts of the Bangladeshi culture, so there was a dance performance, music performance, fashion show and dinner. 

Dance in Bangladesh consists of a plethora of styles. At the cultural night, three dancers performed a folk and modern fusion dance done during Boshonto Boron, the first day of spring in the Bengali calendar.

The Tabla Instrumental was next, which featured one man performing on a traditional South Asian drum instrument called the tabla, and another man performing on the guitar.

Fashion is another huge part of Bangladeshi culture, so eight students dressed up in Bangladeshi attire and walked the stage as a runway. The show featured jamdani textiles, sarees and kurtas.

Following the fashion show, guests were invited to fill up their plates from the buffet-style dinner and enjoy a slideshow presentation about Bangladesh. 

The night finished with a performance from the band Chonno Chara, a Bangladeshi band from Pirojpur, Barisal, and a solo song from Abhijit Sukul Jitu. After the scheduled events were over, the BSA opened the dance floor to the attendees.

Amaria Kinney, a junior studying exercise physiology, is Swati’s roommate and wanted to support her and see the event come together.

“It’s important to have events like these just to see different cultures and perspectives, learn history more and understand there are different practices with dance and food and attire,” Kinney said.

Devon Roy, a senior studying graphic design, is friends with Kinney and wanted to learn more about the culture. 

“I came to see what it was all about and hang out with my friend,” Devon Roy said. “It sounded really interesting, so I tagged along to learn about a new culture and meet new people.” 

Swati knows this won’t be the last big event for BSA, He believes it’s just beginning. 

“Every country has their own association, but this is our first-ever event,” Swati said. “We haven’t done anything of this scale before, so it kind of motivates everyone to be represented at their own university. It’s important for everyone to show where they come from and what is of value to them, and I feel like it kind of brings the international community together.” 


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