I was brought up by a pair of amazing parents. Two individuals who believed in a world that was just and right, who believed that speaking the truth was far more important than being nice, who brought us children up to speak our minds and live our truths. Ra-Ve Cultural Foundation is dedicated to them and to all parents who choose to bring their children up without accepting the status quo.
This year, I celebrate 20 years of being married and living in the USA. Quite a milestone and almost half of that I have been a citizen. I remember jokingly telling my kids, when I got the citizenship, that from now onwards we were all American and that meant burgers, fries, t-shirts and shorts for the rest of our lives. My young son was not sure what I was saying – he loved his paneer so much and wanted to make sure that he could still have that. Yet, I was continuing to explore that larger question – what is American culture? How should I bring up my children? What is my truth and what do I pass on to my children?
Culture is an abstract experience. There is nothing called culture and yet we believe in one. If I stick to history and facts, this land is of the native American people and their culture. The stars and stripes and what we believe to be American culture today, came much later. Both were strange to me. So, I chose the middle path. I taught my children my truth, my heritage. I also learned to arrive for a meeting on time – 10 minutes early. I learned to take off the weekend of July 4th to celebrate the hard-won freedom of this land (which is still denied to many but that is another topic for another time). I taught my children the struggles people had gone through so that they may have the lives they enjoy today. And through this process I arrived at the understanding that generations of people before me from halfway around the world and generations of people living here have had common experiences of struggle and freedom.
Ra-Ve is nothing but a continuance of this struggle – to keep our heritage alive wherever we may be and to bring it closer to the community we live in. After all, the world is a village and we are all related in some way or the other. We may wear different clothes, but we all recognize and respect the color of blood shed in sacrifice and pain. We may sing different lullabies, but we all hug our children in the warmth of our love every day, every night. We may tell different stories, but they all speak of love and the freedom of truth.
Established on April 5th, 2018, Ra-Ve Cultural Foundation has been trying to bring Indian heritage and the community we live in closer to each other through dance, music and theater. With support from the Walton Family Foundation, Walmart Foundation and CACHE over the past three years, we have been able to grow and involve more people in our mission and serve more people every year. I hope you will drop in at our leased space at 1380 SW Westpark Drive, Ste#2, and learn a little more about Indian heritage here in Bentonville, Arkansas without needing a ticket around the world (nor the heat!). Enjoy casual interactions through classes (conducted through Kalaloka Institute of Fine Arts, our education arm), performances, games, movies, food and what not! They are all right here for you to enjoy. Learn more on our website and follow us on Instagram and Facebook. Check out this exciting video that explains more about what we do! Come join us here in Bentonville and explore India. Explore our website for more events, classes and much more.