University of Pittsburgh
August 6, 2012

Pitt’s Indian Nationality Room Committee Hosts August 12 Parade and Festival Celebrating India’s 65th Year of Independence

Celebration also marks 150th anniversary of the birth of revered Hindu monk Swami Vivekananda, who introduced the philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western World
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh’s Indian Nationality Room Committee will observe India’s 65th year of independence with a noon to 3 p.m. free communitywide celebration Aug. 12, including a parade around Pitt’s Cathedral of Learning, 4200 Fifth Ave., Oakland, followed by a flag hoisting and festival in the Cathedral’s Commons Room. The celebration also marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of revered Hindu monk Swami Vivekananda, who introduced the philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western World.? 

Swami Bhaskarananda, spiritual head of the Vedanta Society of Western Washington in Seattle, and Anuj Dhanda, executive vice president and CIO of PNC Financial Services, will be the featured speakers.? 

Marchers will assemble at 11:45 a.m. on the Bigelow Boulevard side of the Cathedral for the parade along the streets surrounding the building. Patriotic songs will be featured. Revelers will move into the Cathedral of Learning, and, at 1 p.m., the group will hoist the American and Indian flags and begin the cultural gala in the Commons Room. 

Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) traveled throughout India and was deeply moved to witness the country’s extreme poverty. He believed it was essential to provide both secular education, such as improved agricultural methods, as well as spiritual education to the masses to help the poor have faith in themselves. Swami Vivekananda preached the principle of the Atman, the doctrine of the potential divinity of the soul that is taught in Vedanta, which also holds that the essence of human beings and all things is an infinite and eternal spirit. He took his message to the World’s Parliament of Religions, held in 1893 in Chicago. He remained in the United States for almost three years, teaching and bringing the concept of Vedanta to the Western World.? ?

The Indian Nationality Room Committee—along with Pitt’s Nationality Rooms and Intercultural Exchange Programs, the Pittsburgh Indian community, several local organizations, and the general public—will participate in this day of culture with performances of traditional folk dances, henna hand painting, and an opportunity to purchase genuine Indian artifacts from local vendors and the University’s Gift Shop on the first floor of the Cathedral. Traditional foods will be available for purchase, including samosas, chickpeas, naan, pekora, boondi, and cold savory mixtures.? 

For more information, contact G.G. Hegde at or Rashmi Ravindra at