Sharma brings Indian spice to ISO cultural presentation

Sydney Daly-Weber
Staff Writer

The International Students Organization featured co-president Tahil Sharma’s presentation on India for its last meeting of the semester, May 9, in the Campus Center Ballroom.

Sharma’s slide show was full of knowledge, but the samosas he and his mother made for the occasion were the highlight of the event.

“I like being a part of the ISO because I’m learning formally about different cultures,” said freshman psychology major Roxana Bautista.

Sharma was born in Los Angeles but comes from Indian descent.

He referred to samosas as the Indian version of Mexican empanadas. They are fried pastries stuffed with a mix of potatoes, carrots, peas and spices. He also brought a green dip for the pastries, which was made with yogurt and basil.

Sharma said the concoction helps to prevent heartburn.

The samosas were an example of the healthy lifestyle followed in India. It is a vegan dish and is made with grape seed oil because it does not allow the food to retain oil. The samosas were just a small sample of the many delicious foods normally eaten in northern India.

“The food tends to change all throughout the 26 different states and territories in India,” Sharma said.

Sharma also mentioned how India is known as the land of spices.

“Every single spice known to man is found in India,” said Sharma.

Various combinations of the spices are used to create over 500 different curries found in India.

“It is ignorant to say ‘India equals curry’ because they don’t have just one,” said Sharma.

Clarified butter is also used to cook opposed to regular butter because it is healthier.

Sharma also informed the audience of the fact that there are various churches and temples throughout India practicing different religions such as Hindu, Christianity and Islam.

The Golden Temple is one of the biggest temples in India. It is also one of the biggest soup kitchens in the world, serving 40,000 meals a day.

It has four doors, one on each side, which means people from all walks of life are welcome.

During his presentation, Sharma played two Bohemian dance videos.

The dances, unique in their own way, have religious significance. They are interpretive dances of Indian stories.

The Taj Mahal was also a significant building in India that Sharma spoke about during the meeting.

When the temple was built, the side pillars were purposefully tilted when they stood. The purpose of this structuring was in the case of a natural disaster, the pillars would fall outward so it would not harm the main mausoleum.

“Not many people know that the people who made the Taj Mahal got their tongues cut out afterwards so it could not be replicated,” said Sharma.

It is learning interesting facts like this that make the ISO a unique organization on campus.

“We do a lot of interesting activities to learn about cultures and we talk to new people,” Xareni Reyes-Soto, junior math major, said.

Within the past six years, the organization has had students from 25 different countries, like Mexico and China, give presentations on their cultures and the countries they come from.

The ISO meets every other week to discuss different students’ backgrounds and cultures.

The group will continue meeting when the fall semester begins. Meetings are always open to the public and becoming a member is encouraged.

“We are always looking for people to represent their different perspectives and cultures,” said Sharma.

Sydney Daly-Weber can be reached at

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