TROY — Members of the Indian community of Troy will host a cultural exhibit to share their heritage and history with the public.
Called Darshana, the program will take place on Friday, May 6. Rajender Sandadi, Darshana Michigan State Coordinator and President of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, a social and cultural organization that promotes pluralism and good values in the community, described the event as featuring several information resources and a presentation of Indian art, dance and music.
“(Darshana) is a Sanskrit word and has been widely used in other places,” Sandadi said. “It features posters and kiosks that travel from city to city as part of this program. It’s been done in Ohio and Indiana. This is happening in about 300 cities across the country over the next four or five months. It is a traveling exhibition. Each poster in the program will talk about a particular topic, such as math or archaeology. … There will be a 45-minute presentation of Indian dance and drama. We will also have a workshop on yoga and meditation.
The event will take place at Sheffield Office Park, located at 3270 W. Big Beaver Road in Troy.
“It starts at 2 p.m. We invite the community and leaders like the mayor and the superintendent. It will end at 8 p.m. It will be an open floor with the posters on display and guided tours given. They will show visitors how civilization has progressed,” Sandadi said. “There is no cost to attend. It is open to all people and all ages. We ask people to pre-register and pre-register, especially if they are coming as a group .
This is the first time Darshana has been hosted in Michigan. Participants will be able to learn about the different cultures and traditions of India and ask questions they may have always wondered about.
“Troy is a multicultural city and community,” Sandadi said. “It is primarily an exhibit of culture or civilization curated by American Indians and Hindus. That says a lot about a 5,000 year old civilization. … It allows people to ask questions and be exposed to the culture if they are unfamiliar.
Among the previous times Darshana has been hosted was the Hindu community in Dublin, Ohio. Ramesh Madhu coordinated this event and said it was a huge success.
“We got it on April 9. We explained the culture and showed experts in yoga and some local temples and cultural centers,” Madhu explained. “We had the Mayor of Dublin City and some police come. A lot of groups came, and they seemed pretty impressed with what we were showing.”
Madhu said an event like Darshana is good for people because many people think they know about other cultures, but much of what they think they know is superficial or based on stereotypes.
“Everyone thinks they know what Hinduism is, but most people don’t have a full understanding of it. We want to help people learn,” he said. “It will basically be everything from the meaning of ‘namaste’ to the impact on science that Indian culture has had. I think people will get a lot out of participating. It’s important for everyone to understand Hindu and Indian culture.
Sandadi said such a program is also a great way to get to know other people living in the same community, especially if they may be from a different background or culture.
“It’s a unique opportunity to learn something about Hindus and American Indians who might live next door in your community,” he said. “What better way to learn than this exhibition, than to have people from this culture sharing and answering questions?”