Cultural Identity

RDF is a secular organization and promotes secularism in all its schools. Cultural activities of all faiths are enthusiastically celebrated in the community. Activities like arts and crafts, performances are celebrated with the school community and villagers too.

Students enacting stories from Lord Krishna’s life, on Krishnashtami
Students celebrating ‘Rakhi’, where sisters tie a sacred thread on their brothers’ wrists

Many RDF students are Lambadis, members of a semi-nomadic tribe whose traditions are in danger of vanishing.  The Lambadis trace their roots to Rajasthan, but today the largest concentration reside in the Indian state of Andra Pradesh and Telangana. 

Students playing the dappu drums

RDF is working to preserve aspects of this unique culture. This is especially exemplified at Rollakal School where students have embraced a new emphasis on playing and dancing to the dappu drums.  The dappu drum is a tambourine -like drum made of goat skin which is beaten with sticks. Five and six year old students at Rollakal are among some of our most talented and enthusiastic dancers of this traditional dance form which originates in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

Through a Rubin Foundation grant, some Kalleda students learnt the mirror embroidery their ancestors used to decorate clothing and today girls are using the techniques in their own homes. Elders entertained students with the ancient practice of storytelling, reciting tribal stories while accompanied by musical instruments like the dholak, tabla and chirutalu and Lambadi women held dance workshops for students, who then perform the routines for guests.

Additionally, the Youth Empowerment Program has made a video exploring Lambadi culture and why it’s disappearing. RDF’s alumni ambassador, Veeranna Banoth, is a member of the Lambadi tribe.

Muslim RDF students, offering their prayers during Ramzan

RDF Schools celebrate local festivals like “Bodemma” and honours traditions of all faiths, such as ‘Ramzan’

RDF girls, celebrating Bodemma festival

In the Bodemma festival, all maidens of the village worship the deity “Boddemma” with flowers , turmeric, areca nut, wicks etc. This festival is held for 9 days and on the last day the idol is immersed in a local water tank. There is a common belief that by worshiping the deity, the mother earth yields good crops and health to all maidens.

International Recognition for RDF: Bharatotsav – The Great Indian Festival

RDF students were invited to an online international competition, ‘The Great Indian Festival’ in Ottawa, Canada. The focus was to showcase Indian Culture.

The categories included folk dance, folk music, essay writing, photo story and video blog. All submissions were made online.

RDF students won 1st and 2nd place in all categories! We are really pleased to share that both finalists in the video blog category were RDF students! Winners were decided through an online voting system.

The winners and other participants were ecstatic to receive their certificates. Everyone felt happy and proud to represent Indian on an international platform.