Diwali bashes are major events on the cultural calendars of a number of prominent universities in the US and UK. Some are ticketed, others are not.
At Cambridge, ticket prices are £9 for its Hindu Cultural Society members and £12 for non-members. “We do charge a ticket price, but it is only to cover the cost of the dinner, hall hire and other overheads. Our society doesn’t aim to make a profit and the money from the tickets goes to cover puja costs,” says Nikhila Ravi, president, Cambridge Hindu Cultural Society.
Members paid £6 and non-members £8 to attend Diwali in the Quad 2011, organised by LSEs Society for the Promotion of Indian Culture and Ethos and King’s India Society, on October 25.
Though University of Pennsylvania’s Indian Association, Rangoli, had been charging a minimal fee “just to break even with the costs involved in organising the event, this year it’s being waived,” says its president Rishabh Rajiv.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s show gets financial support from various organisations on campus. Funding for this year’s event came from the Associated Students of Madison, the Multicultural Council (MCC) and the Wisconsin Experience Grant and co-sponsorship from the Department of Economics plus support from community donors.
“The show and fireworks are free every year. This time, the food is free but limited to 350 UW-Madison students, staff and faculty,” says Mufaddal S Soni, president, IGSA, UW-Madison.
Students put out flyers and create Facebook pages to publicise the programme. The FB post on LSE SPICE’s and King’s Diwali in the Quad 2011 enticed people with a fashion show in association with an Indian contemporary designer wear retailer, Indian food, courtesy Moolis and Raja’s Banqueting, and professional photography on site.