By Avantika Raj
Yuva, which translates to ‘youth’ in Hindi, is the Indian Society at Cardiff University, created to advocate Indian culture in the Welsh capital. The primary role of Yuva is to showcase India by celebrating important Indian festivals such as Diwali (Hindu New Year) and Holi.
While India is well known for its colourful festivals and mouth-watering (literally!) food, Yuva also embraces all that makes modern India great. As the country changes with the rest of the world, we represent the current generation through events such as Bollywood nights and burning the dance floor with our crazy hip moves at Go Global – as Darcy eloquently phrased it in Bride and Prejudice: “It’s just like you’re screwing a bulb with one hand and petting a dog with the other”.
Yet unsatisfied with the typical image of Indians as bauble heads with big red dots on their foreheads, shaking their heads and leaving the rest confused on whether we’re saying yes or no, the current Yuva committee decided to take our role one step further to recreate the definition of what it means to be Yuva.
An unforgettable tragedy occurred on 16th December, 2014 in the form of the attacks in Peshawar, Pakistan on young children attending the Army Public School. Shaken by the catastrophe, Yuva performed a tribute to the victims during Go Global in 2015.
Yuva is a non-profitable organisation that not only caters to students but also now and then strives to do our bit for others. Therefore, we seek to participate in events every year to raise funds for donation and charity. This year we didn’t solely perform singular events to raise funds but also collaborated with the Pakistani Society to raise funds for the Peshawar Charity initiated by the famous Pakistani politician Imran Khan. Spending many a-night matching step-by-step and listening to the same soundtrack until every word and tune was burnt into memory, members of both societies worked hard to commemorate the innocent through the medium of dance. With other participants such as the Malaysian society, a beautiful evening incurred. Despite political enmity and assumed barriers the current generation of the two countries set aside all discrepancies and came together to make a difference.
As representatives of the international community, we believe that many aspects of the Students’ Union can be improved, especially in regards of providing more transparency with the University’s communication with students. We believe in helping the Students’ Union set up a framework which revolves around providing International students with services that are not easily accessible. Steps to initiate such a framework have already begun! In the aftermath of the floods in Tamil Nadu, India in December, 2015, the Yuva society along with the Students’ Union set up an emergency system initiated to confirm the well-being of students during such drastic times. Immediately after the occurrence of a traumatic event such as a natural disaster or terrorist attack, the Students’ Union will provide students of the attacked country with information on contacting local authorities to ensure that family and friends are safe. This is a big step in ensuring the mental well-being of students during such distressing situations and also acting upon a gap in the services provided to the students of Cardiff University.
The ball has begun to roll and we don’t want it to stop! As stated on our website, Yuva is a society of students, run by students, and solely for students. Hence, it is our aim to constantly keep changing and improving ourselves in a manner that befits both are members as well as other students of Cardiff University. As times change, we want the image of Yuva to transform from a society whose sole purpose is to represent Indian culture in Cardiff to a society whose role in the Students’ Union is much bigger. We wish to make the SU more friendly in terms of providing International students with more information upon arriving in Cardiff, as well as improving inductions that occur in their native countries. Furthermore, by performing more collaborations with other societies, we can encourage the unification of countries and cultures thereby further exposing the different cultures and traditions of the world to Cardiff students. Finally, as the new committee will take their place in the next coming academic year, this goal to improve and change will not waver or come to standstill – the changes have started and hopefully the domino effect will not stop.