ADMINISTRATION

Darshan Krishna

Mrs. Krishna received her Master’s Degree in Hindi from the University of Delhi and she worked as a lecturer at the Indra-Prastha College and the Lady Sri Ram college, the two constituent colleges of the University of Delhi.

She later worked as a researcher at the Institute of Advanced Studies, and worked as a part-time lecturer in the Department of Public Education, The School of General Studies, and Australian National University (Canberra, Australia).

In the US, she taught Hindi to several Foreign Service Officers of various US agencies and to World Bank officials for several years.

Mrs. Krishna with her husband, Dr. Raj Krishna founded India School Inc., in Washington DC to promote the study of Hindi, other Indian languages arts and culture.  India School was the first institution of its kind to have been established in the United States.  The school become the premier institution of instruction and over the years has given instruction to thousands of students.

It also prepared students for the Hindi Proficiency Certificate and the Diploma courses of the Central Hindi Directorate of India.  Mrs. Krishna planned and prepared materials, supervised and carried out the teaching of Hindi and other subjects. She also started a Hindi/Urdu Club for interested students to socialize, converse and improve their Hindi.

As Founder/President of India School she planned and presented in conjunction with the Capital Children’s Museum of Washington DC, a Festival of Arts and Crafts of India for Children. The exhibit was visited by thousands of American children. The Washington Post called it “a young traveler’s  passageway to India” in a very complimentary review. She organized numerous performances by India School students at venues like the Smithsonian and the Kennedy Center. Mrs. Krishna also organized several programs presenting Indian classical dance and music by internationally renowned Indian artists like Ali Akbar Khan, and Zakir Hussain, Sitara Devi, Uma Sharma, Rajan and Sajan Mishra.

 In 1994, she planned and presented a series of five lectures on Indian music at Strathmore Hall, Rockville, Maryland. In 1985, started a publication of a cultural magazine titled “Highlights” which covered views on the arts, history, and letters of India. She oversaw the India School publication of “From Thames to Hooghly; Calcutta Heritage." She edited a booklet titled “Introduction to Indian Music” with the funding provided by the Maryland Humanities Council through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. She also wrote three workbooks for the teaching of basic Hindi titled Hindi Vowels,  Alphabet Book I, and Hindi Vowel Symbols.

The Association of Indians in America awarded her a community leader in the field of Education.

The Government of Montgomery County, Maryland awarded a certificate in recognition and appreciation for outstanding service to the community.

Kiran G. Chadda, Ph.D.

For over 20 years , Dr. Kiran Chadda has been working with India School both as an administrator and Hindi Teacher for adults.  At first showing interest in the institution as a means for her two daughters to learn Hindi and take courses in music and dance, she continued to stay affiliated with the School to encourage other families to cherish the rich, age old traditions of India.  With a Ph.D. in Applied Experimental Psychology, she is currently the Director of Multicultural Affairs & International Student Programs at Hood College and was also an Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Montgomery College in Maryland.

On a personal note:  I believe India School provides students with a solid foundation in Indian languages, music, dance, and culture.  In my own experience, both my daughters completed the Hindi certificate course, Indian classical vocal music, and Kuchipudi dance.  They went on to excelling at their Hindi courses in college and were proud to be able to write letters in Hindi to family members living in India.  They have participated in dance dramas, South-Asian acapella ensembles, and enjoyed choreographing dance productions for their university culture shows.  They currently live in New York and are members of Sa Dance Company, Junoon Performing Arts and the Ajna dance troupe. Their courses at India School provided them with inspiration and interest to further their talents and stay connected to their cultural heritage in their adulthood.  I too, have enjoyed teaching Hindi classes and am especially impressed by the interest in the language by non-Indians.  It has been a pleasure to watch children and parents cultivate their interest in Indian culture and pass on their findings to next generations.

Astra Juneja

Mamta Khosla

FACULTY

HINDI

Darshan Krishna
Madhu Puri
Susmita Shrivastva
Pratima Khadka
Astra Juneja
Sunaina Khanna

URDU

Parveen Siddiqi

SANSKRIT

Neeru Chaudhari
Sonia Dave

GUJARATI

Deepali Shah

Mrs. Deepali Shah has been teaching at India School since 2013. She was born and brought up in Mumbai, India. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Medical Laboratory Technology. She worked with Bhatia Hospital for 2 years and Super Religare Laboratories for 4 years.  Upon moving to the U.S., she earned a certificate on Early Childhood Education from Montgomery College where she was ranked in the top percentile of her class.

Teaching is her passion and when she got a chance to teach her mother tongue, Gujarati, in the U.S., she gratefully accepted. Her goal is to teach Gujarati to children of Gujarati families so that speak in their mother tongue with their grandparents and be able to bond with them. She also teaches adults and works on their communication, vocabulary, and grammar.

She lives with her husband Sanket Shah and her in-laws in Germantown, Maryland.

TAMIL

Surekha Krishnan

Born to parents from the south and growing up in Delhi, Surekha Krishnan was exposed to various Indian languages. She belonged to Tamil and Hindi theater groups and acted in several plays. Tamil became her primary tongue after her marriage to an Iyer from Tamil Nadu. Both her kids were born in the U.S. and are well-conversant in Tamil. Surekha taught mathematics in the Montgomery County Public School system and currently works for a bio-pharmaceutical company in Gaithersburg.

VOCAL MUSIC

Shashi Verma

Shashi Verma has been associated with the India School for the last 28 years. She has found India School to be a leading institution, a maiden effort, and means to introduce rich Indian cultural heritage to our next generation. Children born in this country need to learn and inherit our national language, art, music, and numerous traditions of classical dances that have taught us discipline and enriched our lives since vedic times to date. Both Indian music and dance have deep routes in Hindu philosophy, and thus School provides a bridge to connect many cultures. India School has aptly taken the responsibility to transfer knowledge not only to our children, but also to grownup who have interest in our unique culture. After doing this social service for three decades, we are indeed proud to say that we have succeeded in sprouting Indian culture, music and dance in our youth. Today we see the reward of our continued hard work; we find our former students coming to India School with their children. Tomorrow, these children will carry our legacy to their next generation.

INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC

TABLA

Monir Hossain

Monir Hossain hails from a musical family, grandson of researcher and performer Ustad Kader Buksh of Murshidabad, West Bengal, India. Born in Bangladesh, Monir was musically influenced at an early age by his father, vocalist Ustad Hafiz Hossain, a regular classical vocalist at All India Radio in Calcutta as well as his uncle Ustad Hamid Hossain. His long term guru is Pandit Samar Saha of Sangeet Research Academy, Calcutta. Monir also received extensive talim from tabla stalwarts such as Pandit Nayan Ghosh of Bombay, Pandit Anup Ghosh of Delhi, Pandit Anindo Chatterjee as well as (late) Pandit Shawkat Ali Khan of Calcutta. To learn more, visit his website here.

Vinay Nagpal

Vinay Nagpal has been trained for over 10 years in Tabla in the Delhi and Luckhnow Gharanas. In addition to doing his Bachelors in Computer Science and MBA in Information Systems, Vinay has done Prabhakar (Graduate Diploma) from Prayag Sangeet Samiti, Allahabad. Vinay studied Tabla in New Delhi, India from Guru Shri Baij Nath Kathak at the famous Kathak dancer Uma Sharma’s School of Dance and Music in New Delhi, India. He also received advanced training from Guru Fateh Singh Gangani in New Delhi, India. Mr. Nagpal is an accomplished tabla teacher and performer. He has been actively teaching tabla at the India School Inc. since 2002. Vinay has accompanied several musicans from India and played Tabla along with flute players, violanists, vocalists and other artists. Vinay is an active Tabla player for the Art of Living bhajan group and and Amritvani Satsang group in the DC area and has played at the local temples for religious events. Vinay has recently started playing the (western) drums and composing fusion music with Tabla and Drums. 

DANCE

Kshanila Gandhi
Trupti Bajpai

Shuchi Buch

A native of India, Ms. Shuchi Buch has over 20 years of experience in teaching and performing dance. She is a classically trained Bharatanatyam dancer who has completed her Visharad and Master's in Bharatanatyam. She runs a Bollywood & Classical Bharatanatyam Dance Academy in Washington, DC.

Prior to this, she directed a school of more than 100 students in India. She and her students have performed on television and in international dance festivals and have received top awards in India. Shuchi has studied and choreographed ballet and modern dance pieces. She also teaches Bollywood, contemporary, Garba, and folk to young children, teens, and adults. Her passion is dance and her goal is to share it with her community.

Bhim Dahal

Bhim Dahal has been a professional dancer and musician for more than twenty years and is Utpalasia’s Artistic Director. Born and raised in Nepal, he has trained in four distinct styles of dance ­ Buddhist, Kathak, Folk, and Bollywood. He is famed for his portrayals of Buddhist charya dances. He brings his creative skills as a choreographer to India School, and provides live tabla accompaniment for his classical students. 

The Dahals of Utpalasia, a performing and teaching organization located in the Washington, DC area which focuses on the heritage of South and Southeast Asia through the arts ­ https://utpalasia.org/. The Dahals have performed both nationally and internationally and are renowned for their interactive presentations of the Himalayan region. They are frequent guest artists at the Smithsonian Institution and at other public venues. 

Cordula Sturm Dahal

Cordula Sturm Dahal is the Executive Director and Founder of Utpalasia and specializes in the conceptual design of unique on­site cultural programs about Nepal, Tibet, and India for public engagement. Her academic background and years of international training in dance and music have given her a unique perspective on the art of teaching. She instructs Kathak and Bollywood classes at India School with an emphasis on strong foundation skills and technique. 

Tasherit Sturm Dahal

Tasherit Sturm Dahal, Utpalasia’s senior dancer, has maintained a rigorous education in Nepal and India in multiple styles of dance since the age of seven. She accompanies and performs extensively with her family and is both instructor and choreographer at India School. Her artistic portrayals and technical achievement in dance have earned her many awards as well as recognition by some of the leading exponents of Kathak dance. 

YOGA

Tehseen Chettri

Tehseen Chettri has been practicing Yoga for over 20 years. She has studied and taken classes in Mumbai, India under senior teachers of Guruji B.K.S.Iyengar. She has been teaching yoga at India School, Maryland since 2006. Her educational qualifications include a MA in Psychology and a Law degree from Bombay University. She has practiced both as a psychologist and as a lawyer in Mumbai.

The Yoga class at India School will be for beginners as well as those who have practiced for a few years and will evolve with the participants as we progress along the path of health and wellbeing.

ART

Shanthi Chandra Sekar

Every aspect of India and Indian life is filled with art, whether it is drawing done on the ground every morning, the colorful clothes we wear or the wall drawings to represent various events in our life, art plays an important role in a quiet way.

The Indian Art class will be learning about various folk and traditional art forms from India such as Madhubani, Gond, Worli, and Kalamkari etc. The students will also be introduced to Kolam drawing and Rangoli.

The students will also be introduced to calligraphy involving the various written languages from India such as Brahmi, Devanagari, Tamil. This will enhance their line drawing practice.

The class will also introduce students to modern and contemporary Indian artists including MF Hussain, SH Raza, J Swaminathan, Jamini Roy, Amrita Sher-Gil.

For continuing students, they will be working on fine-tuning their skills and move ahead with making artwork on the theme we are working on.