Bhangra in the Burgh Blasted the Cold Away !

Bhangra in the Burgh Blasted the Cold Away

They also raised money for a Children’s Charity

As January 2010 unveiled, students returned to Oakland after the year-end holidays. The frigid days and deep-freeze nights made their life miserable in the campus. Understandably, if they sought some escapist entertainment, they didn’t have to go too far. It was right there in Oakland itself. 

The 3rd annual Bhangra in the Burgh, held on Saturday, January 30 in Oakland despite the temperature in the teens, provided much-needed relief. Over 2500 people, mostly college students, both desi and non-desi and many older people converged at the cavernous Soldiers and Sailors Hall.

Around 150 participating students, equal numbers of boys and girls, came from eight neighboring universities — Drexel, Cornell, Rutgers, Virginia Commonwealth, Georgetown, George Mason, Univ. of Virginia, Univ. Michigan (Ann Arbor) and of course, the home team CMU, hosts for the evening. They were everywhere — in the lobby, on stage, off stage – decked out in the bright, shiny, and colorful Punjabi costumes. 

The night provided raucous entertainment as an enthusiastic audience joined in the beats of songs rooted in Punjabi agrarian and rural ethos with liberal sprinkling of kudyan and munde (girls and boys) in the lyrics.

The energy of the dancers was unbelievable as they effortlessly defied gravity with their airborne jumps. One could burn calories simply watching these young men and women in flight in their dance routines.

At the end, Virginia Commonwealth U students were the winners.

CMU undergraduate students Gurmukh Singh Chhabra, Suraj Baxi, and Vishal Agrawal, organizers of the event, with help from several volunteers, raised over $14,000 through the sales of tickets and snacks. The money went this year to Children’s Home of Pittsburgh ( Subway, Bruegger Bagels, and Starbucks donated food for the participants’ green room. India Garden in Oakland provided samosas — a must for this event — at discounted rates to help them raise money.

When contacted, Gurmukh said, “I profusely thank the CMU’s Offices of the Students Affairs, Students Activities, and the Undergraduate Students Senate and the Executive Board of the Bhangra in the Burgh for making the event a great success. I also acknowledge CMU’s Jared Cohon’s interest in these activities.”

If you haven’t experienced the energy of this annual event, you only have to wait until the next January.    

 By  Kollengode S Venkataraman  

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