Diwali, the Indian festival of light, was celebrated with traditional colour and flair at RMIT for the sixth consecutive year, adding to the university’s proud history of cultural celebration.
RMIT has built a strong tradition of hosting Diwali, one of the most significant festivals of the year, bringing together students and staff, friends and family for a night of multicultural recognition.
A melting pot of cultural attendees from across the university community were treated to a joyous evening of talks, poetry, Bollywood dancing, traditional song and yoga performances, all topped off with a chance to make friends over festive Indian food and sweets.
This year’s event was delivered by collaboration between staff, students and their families, with significant input from the Centre for Advanced Materials and Industrial Chemistry (CAMIC).
Pro Vice-Chancellor Science, Engineering and Health and Vice-President, Professor Peter Coloe, was welcomed in the traditional Indian fashion by having the "Tilak" (vermillion) and rice placed on his forehead, as well as lighting the candle and "Diya" (lamp).
Professor Coloe addressed the gathering, and praised RMIT for its global attitude, action and presence.
Referring to RMIT as collaborative and enterprising, he noted how the university is committed to nurturing its international and cultural diversity, particularly its important ties with India.
The name Diwali has Sanskrit origins translating into "row of lamps", and is traditionally one of the most important dates in the Indian calendar, honouring the victory of light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance.
Wearing numerous hats, RMIT Diwali’s festival founder, the Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor International of the College of Science, Engineering and Health and the Director of CAMIC, Professor Suresh Bhargava said the atmosphere was exuberant, singing praise for the university as it has always been a strong patron of global collaboration and cultural diversity.
“Diwali is a celebration of unity, customarily bringing together diverse Indian groups, beliefs and interests,” he said.
“So it is with a sense of deep personal and professional pleasure to see RMIT take up the festival with such enthusiastic respect to Indian traditions.”
Professor Bhargava said it was important to share different cultures with people from diverse backgrounds and to make the University feel more like home for staff and students through such a celebration.
“RMIT have celebrated Indian culture from day one, it is a leader in global education and it lives up to its reputation daily.
“Diwali is an example of where RMIT’s emphasis on diversity and inspiration shines.”
Story: Celeste Best