A Student-Led Celebration of South Asian Culture at Harvard Annual cultural show has pooled hundreds of students’ talents for 30 years

The Harvard South Asian Association celebrated 30 years of its annual cultural show, Ghungroo, with four performances in February. More than 300 students came together to direct, produce and perform a variety of dances, musical selections, dramatic pieces and poetry inspired by the traditions of South Asia. Billed as Harvard’s largest student- run production, Ghungroo brings both experienced and less experienced performers together into a large dance, whether or not they are part of the South Asian community.

Every spring, the South Asian Association produces a show called Ghungroo, which is an enormous celebration of South Asian culture through manifold acts of dance, music, and drama entirely directed, choreographed, and performed by undergraduate students. Ghungroo began in 1988, and is the largest student-run production at Harvard! Any undergrad at Harvard can participate, and students from so many different backgrounds and cultures come together to sing, dance, act, or help produce the show – no prior experience necessary!

This year’s production, directed by Menaka Narayanan, Aditi Sundaram, and Ivraj Seerha, focused on the creation of Ghungroo, tracing its trajectory since its inception. Performances highlighted what it means to be a part of the show and how it brings the community together.

Students from a variety of backgrounds and majors presented music and dance performances from a classical fusion orchestra to raas and a Bollywood dance featuring the latest South Asian hit songs. The half-hour grand finale was the combined effort of 117 members of the Harvard Class of 2018.

Harvard South Asian Association co-presidents and Ghungroo co-producers Simi Shah and Ayman Mohammad, the highlight of the performances was to have Harvard alumni — including some founding members — who returned to campus to see how the show has evolved.

“It was truly remarkable sharing this experience with alumni, be it the founding members of Ghungroo or the directors and producers who mentored us our first year as college students,” Shah said. “Having over 60 alumni come back over the course of the weekend speaks to the significance of Ghungroo and what it means to the broader community of South Asians who take this experience beyond Harvard.”

Subscribe to our Newsletter