KP Singh’s remarks at the State Bicentennial Celebration
Many of CIC’s friends and board members were guests of Governor-elect Eric Holcomb and Vice President-elect Mike Pence at “Ignite the Future” … an interfaith celebration of Indiana’s 200th birthday. Observers agreed that the speeches at the event were some of the most important and inspiring statements they had heard. Here are the remarks by CIC board member KP Singh.
INDIANA BICENTENNIAL CELEBRATION:
A REMARKABLE JOURNEY, RICH LEGACY, AN INCREDIBLE PROMISE AND OPPORTUNITY TO IGNITE THE FUTURE
Kanwal Prakash (KP) Singh
“Faith, Interfaith, and Cultures at America’s Crossroads ~ Significance and Future”
Honored Distinguished Guests, Vice President-Elect Governor Mike Pence, First Lady Karen Pence, Governor-Elect Lt. Governor Eric Holcomb, Fellow Hoosiers, and Friends:
Sut Siri Akal: (a universal Sikh Greeting: God’s Name is Eternal Truth). This Highest Immaculate Spirit is our shared Eternal Light and Guide.
It is a great honor and a special pleasure to be with you as we celebrate this milestone, the Bicentennial of the great State of Indiana. Congratulations to each of you on this historic occasion. We rejoice in the landmark moment and look forward to building Indiana’s proud future together.
INTEGRATING OUR PROUD PAST INTO AN EXCITING FUTURE VISION
We can only imagine what life and times in Indiana and the world were like on December 11, 1816. Surely, the earlier settlers were facing very different challenges and formidable hardships, yet familiar hopes and prayers to build a better future for generations that follow. Today, we can see in the testimony of their trailblazing and labors in amazing accomplishments, a rich and robust legacy that carries many lessons and time-honored Hoosier values. We must assure a special place for the treasured heritage entrusted to us and thoughtfully integrate its spirit, lessons, and beautiful elements into the future vision and fabric of our State.
Whereas we cannot imagine or fully fathom what our State and world would be like when Indiana reaches another milestone a hundred years from today, on December 11, 2116, we can hope that with the new generations of the brightest and the best pioneers, leaders, and ambassadors; and with incredible new technologies, travel and trade, cultural energy and opportunities converging at our landlocked friendly shores, Indiana would have leaped forward on many fronts.
We can imagine an Indiana: Not just as the “Crossroads of America” with intersecting and encircling highways, but an envied and celebrated crossroads of cultures, innovation, sports, and education; a destination with many faith and interfaith attractions; a fabled Heartland of legendary Hoosier hospitality and global partnerships.
We can imagine an Indiana where cherished traditions and new frontiers of ideas coexist, drawing strength from each other; where unexplored horizons, assets, and strengths lead to new prospects without limits; and where Indiana is at peace with her neighbors and the world of that time.
FAITH, INTERFAITH, AND CULTURES AT AMERICA’S CROSSROADS
Each of us has a stake in such a future. Faith communities, including the growing Sikh American population, cultural groups, interfaith leaders, and faith-based community initiatives have much to contribute to Indiana’s future. For that to happen, we have to build upon the idea of a shared vision and collective responsibility. We need to create spaces at our family, civic, and community tables for all Hoosiers; invite diverse cultural, spiritual, and ethnic groups to mainstream their concerns, invest their energy and brilliant ideas; promote and honor a solemn commitment that all faiths, cultures, and citizens matter and a master-key to igniting Indiana’s future.
Let us reflect on the spirit and amazing reception of such an invitation:
“Come create a State that reflects the spirit of all people.
Share with us your talents and cultural experiences;
Enrich the emerging “Tapestry of Cultures”
The sacred Fabric of Faiths
With sounds and splendor of the distant and diverse,
With ideas and ideals that celebrate your heritage and traditions.
Together: Discover the excitement and echo of our common humanity,
(and) Spirit that unites us as One Universal God’s Children,
(and) Shape a proud legacy that mirrors an enlightened vision.
Let us make a place at the table for new friends and old,
Share our common dreams and build a community
Where the Light and Labor of each one
Enhances the gifts and promise of all.” – Kanwal Prakash Singh
THE REASON WHY I AM EXCITED TO BE PART OF IGNITE THE FUTURE:
Indiana’s Bicentennial Celebration is a significant moment for the State and all Hoosiers. Indiana has been my home since 1967. I have learned much from discovering Indiana and introducing the State’s architectural landmarks and historic sites with my drawings and writings to Hoosiers and people around the world. As a founding member of the International Center, Center for Interfaith Cooperation, and other civic engagements, I have had the unique privilege to witness over the past half century, amazing new energy, distinct perspectives, and creativity brought by people of diverse faiths and cultures converging here; making the “Crossroads of America” home to explore their dreams. We have to seize our collective momentum and build upon our widening crossroads.
I am excited about Indiana’s Bicentennial as a recent pilgrim and pioneer. As a passionate advocate of historic and cultural preservation; involvement in the arts and education; community and interfaith initiatives, I have been privileged to witness up-close and personal Indiana’s amazing leaps and forward momentum. As a Sikh American, I am grateful for the welcome and support that I have received since coming to Indiana. Today, as Indiana begins its third century of Statehood, many Sikhs and members of other faiths, cultural and ethnic communities are eager to pick up the torch and contribute to Indiana’s prosperity. Let us take steps to ignite our future with the brightest and best, with dedicated and dynamic visionaries leading us. With Hoosier pride in tradition and eyes on the future, we will entrust a vibrant Indiana to the coming generations.
At this time it is my pleasure to introduce to you The Sikh Choir of The Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis, led by Ragi (singer and musician) Joginder Singh. They will sing a Sikh hymn that affirms a spirit of unity, our shared humanity, and thanksgiving: The hymn translates as “… I have no enemies; No one is a stranger to me; I get along with everyone …” You can follow the provided translation. The hymn reflects the unifying message of the Sikh faith; the welcoming tradition of Hoosier Hospitality; the festive spirit and occasion of Indiana’s historic Bicentennial Celebration.
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