Balle balle IISC!

13th October 2016. BENGALURU: All work and no bhangra makes students and researchers dull.

Mohith Kumar is doing his second-year master’s in electrical engineering at the Indian Institute of Science. During the first semester, he had never ventured outside the gates of IISc. Reason? New subjects to learn, a new place and new faces. Time management seemed Herculean at that point of time. In the second semester he was told about the bhangra group and,  being a Punjabi, he decided to give it a kick, literally.

By the end of second semester, he had managed to rank among the top four in his class and had acquired a large circle of friends with whom he used to go on rides.

Bhangra group at IISc is named Yaaran Da Tashan and has been running for three years. Though three of the founders have gone separate ways, the bhangra team is running with new members joining every year and the old ones striving to balance the dance schedule with their final-year academics.

“It is really hard to manage Ph.D third year and make time for bhangra. But I love it so much that I make time to go for practice once a week and I think Ph.D would be crazy if I wouldn’t get bhangra to relieve my stress,” says Himani Tandon, former captain of the team.

The current captain of the team, Ankush Sachdeva, says that there are 15-20 regular members. “There is no criteria as such. Everyone can come for practice but we are selective when it comes to on-stage performance,” he says.

The team has performed at inter-college and intra-college fests. “When people look at us, they praise our energy and that energy is felt by everyone. The dance is a celebration,” says Ankush.

“The essence of the bhangra team is coming together of all communities, we in fact have more non-Punjabi members than Punjabis,” says Newton Singh Luthra, one of the three founding members of the IISc bhangra group. Despite not being a student of IISc, he is the core member of the team because of his passion for bhangra. Prior to becoming the member of Yaaran DaTashan, he was a founder of a bhangra group at National Institute of Technology, Karnataka.

“It was by sheer luck that I met Amandeep Singh and Bhagat Singh at Gurudwara in Ashwath Nagar,” says Newton. “Since I used to live near IISc I could easily go and practise with the permission of the management,” he says.

“The team now is doing great. From coming second at Indian Institute of Management Bangalore’s fest to winning an appreciation award from Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana, the team is making us really proud,” says Amandeep Singh, co-founder of the team. Now, in his fifth year of his Biophysics PhD, he says he does not get time for any activities but goes for bhangra once a week, just so, his stress is relieved.

“From renting clothes for the performance to having our own collection, the bhangra team has really come a long way,” says Newton.

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