BY MAYA HOFFMAN ’20
Kuch Karo: Pakistani Students for Change hosted their annual event, Mushaira, in Chapin auditorium this past Sunday. The event included dinner and a show oriented around Pakistani culture. “Mushaira is about cultural awareness: sharing poetry, music and any form of art that has been used historically by South Asians and Pakistanis in particular,” said Sara Kamal ’18, who was working the event.
Kuch Karo is a student organization founded in 2010 whose mission is to “make a difference through fundraising for important causes; encouraging political awareness and participation; creating an optimistic and positive attitude about Pakistan and giving a forum to think of critical solutions for the country's major problems,” according to the group’s Facebook page. They were awarded the Student Leadership and Service Award from Mount Holyoke in 2011.
Kuch Karo decorated Chapin with fairy lights strung from the ceiling and a rug in the center of the room, with pillows for attendees to sit on and watch the performers. The show included songs and poetry, most of which were performed entirely in Urdu, one of Pakistan’s official languages. Some songs were accompanied by guitar, others by pre-recorded music and a cappella. They performed music from both the popular culture and the traditional culture of Pakistan.
The musical performers included Pallavi Shrestha ’21, Fatima Khan ’20, Saltanat Ansari ’18 and Maha Hamdani ’18. Allia Jahanbin ’21 recited a poem in Persian, followed by an English translation at the end. Sukhneet Kaur ’21 recited an original poem. “I really appreciated all the performances” said Susan Khan ’20, a student from Bangladesh. “They’re really important for such cultural events because without them, these events wouldn’t take place and students from other cultures wouldn’t be able to learn about Pakistani culture,”
After the performances, Kuch Karo served a buffet of authentic South Asian food including chicken haleem, chicken biryani, samosas, palak paneer, gulab jamun and traditional milk tea. Mushaira is a staple of the spring semester at Mount Holyoke. “The hardest [part] is the logistics,” said Kamal. “We do all the labor ourselves, and the other [hard part] is finding performers who are willing to share their pieces because it’s very personal to perform.” Despite all of the challenges of putting together the show, Mushaira continues year after year. “The best part is seeing it all come together ... and how people are so happy when they come,” said Kamal. “It makes it all worth it.”