The Scandinavian countries have started to attract people from the Indian subcontinent for education and employment though they are non-English speaking countries. Because of the size of the India in terms of land and its people, Indians are in visible numbers. The number of Indian students in Sweden are fairly noticeable especially in Sweden’s national capital Stockholm and in Gothenburg aka Göteborg the second largest city in Sweden. In Gothenburg, Chalmers University of Technology is one of the universities that attracts a large number of students from India especially for postgraduate courses. Over the years, the Indian students at Chalmers University of Technology has formed an association called RANG.
RANG at Chalmers University of Technology organises an annual cultural festival. In its 2019 edition of the festival titled Indian Cultural Night, it showcased cultural aspects of India ranging from music and dance and mime (drama). Rang has also gained a reputation as a venue for aspiring artists and want-to-be musicians or actors within the student community from any social background.
RANG has dedicated clubs for each aspect of performing arts: SUR (music), BHAV (theatre), and TAAL (dance), and for cuisine called SWAD (food club). It is a not-for-profit body run exclusively by students and advised by alumni of the university, and also to help the Indian students pursuing their Master’s and PhD programs, and it has a rapport with the Embassy of India in Sweden.
Tejas Venkatesh, Vice President of RANG during 2019-2020 said, “Rang is not only for students but everybody who likes to come and participate and want to learn about Indian culture in terms of dance food theatre and music. That is how we would like to take Rang forward.”
“The vibrant Indian culture and another one is typical Indian,” said Arjun Krishna Murthy, President of RANG 2019-2020. He said every academic year, RANG’s executive body changes, and a new members are elected by the Indian students of the Chalmers University of Technology and the erstwhile board members become advisory committee members.
During the Indian Cultural Night, on 1 December 2019, reminded the audience about the World’s Water Crisis by 2030 through a mime. The mime reminded the audience about the world’s water crisis by 2030 and how one could act by reducing one’s water consumption in day-to-day use. Two-thirds of the world population would face severe water shortages though three-fourths of the planet Earth is covered in water.
Mime is an artistic technique of portraying an idea, or a character, or a mood or narration by gestures and body movements. The performers in the mime were clad in dark garments and white masks: bleakness, darkness, gloominess…the world would witness if the water crisis and Climate Change issue is not addressed. The mime brought forth to the audience about the world’s response to climate change and water like a Roman or Greek farce. It was written and directed by Arjun Krishna Murthy who is a Master’s student at Chalmers University of Technology and President of RANG. He said water scarcity and water shortage is an irrefutable fact. He observed, “It is happening everywhere and we also see people wasting water through everyday usage and our assumption that water resource is eternal. We have taken Mother Nature for granted for many years and one of the examples is water consumption. This aspects inspired me to write and direct WATER in 2030.”
PK Mahanandia is Swedish citizen of Indian origin, and an advisor to the Government of Sweden on Arts and Culture. He graced the occasion along with his wife. The Indian Embassy in Sweden was represented by Suresh Kumar who is the First Secretary and was also the chief guest for the cultural festival. Together they inaugurated the cultural festival by lighting a lamp and sat through the entire festival programmes that last for almost two hours followed by an India dinner. The cultural night was also supported by Siri AB founded by Sudheer Kumar and Spice on Wheels.