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Emory hosts a conference on Hindi and a performance by Dhoop Chaoon

June 2022
Emory hosts a conference on Hindi and a performance by Dhoop Chaoon

On April 23 and 24, a conference on the subject of “New Directions in Hindi Language Instructions” was held at Emory University’s Michael C. Carlos Museum’s Ackerman Hall.

[Left] Members of Dhoop Chhaoon theater group at the Emory Conference.

Addressing a panel of linguists and scholars, welcome remarks were given by Dr. Devin Stewart, Chair of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies (MESAS) at Emory. He was followed by Dr. Brajesh Samrath, Senior Lecturer of Hindi-Urdu and Coordinator at the MESAS Department, who gave introductory remarks. The presentation of the keynote speaker, Dr. Surendra Gambhir, was titled, “An Overview of Hindi Studies in the United States since WWII.”

Panel 1 had Peter Knapczyk, Wake Forest University; Willam Cocke, Augusta University; Rajiv Ranjan, Michigan State University; and Mansi Bajaj, The University of Texas at Austin.

Panel 2 had Dr. Brajesh Samarth, Emory University; Gyanam Mahajan, UCLA; and Kusum Knapczyk, Duke University.

Panel 3 had Kashika Singh, IU, Bloomington; Ashok Ojha, STARTALK; Sandhya Saxena Bhagat, Anil Bhagat, Rita Kapahi, and Ritambhara Mittal of Dhoop Chaoon Theater Group, Atlanta.

The topics discussed ranged from “materials needed for improving learning techniques” to “modifying ways of assessment” to “utilizing language for transcendence of human expression.”

The conference also hosted Chief Ki Dawat, a play written by Bhisham Sahani, the famous Indian playwright. It was performed by Dhoop Chaoon, the Atlanta- based Hindi theater under the expert direction of Anil Bhagat and Sandhya Saxena Bhagat, founder of Dhoop Chaoon. The team came together in support of literature, language, and good old thespian art as a syndicate of talented artists such as Rita Kapahi, Asha Gupta, Aashish Kapoor, Sarika Jaswani, Shabana Sayeed, Moiz Husain, Muhammad Assani, Chandran Oad, and Neev Oad performed with flair and finesse. Captivating viewers in-person and on Zoom, the skilled performers presented forty minutes of narrative-style intense performance. An amalgamation of elements of background music, folk songs, and Bollywood-style dance brought the story alive. The rendition not only ushered the audience to another era but also ensnared echoing applause for the storyline and presentation.

—Sarika Jaswani

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