“Indianapolis transforms into ‘Mini World’ of all religions”
Balbir Singh published this review of the 2016 Indy Festival of Faiths in the Punjab News Express.
Punjab News Express/Balbir Singh
INDIANAPOLIS: Ahimsa Parmodharam (non-violence is the supreme religion). Our common call to Protect God’s Creation unites us together. Love for all and Hatred for None. Some of these banners clearly explain the importance of unity in religious diversity. Religious leaders of different faiths — Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Jews, Islam, and other faiths shared the same platform on the occasion of the 4th Indy Festival of Faiths. Indianapolis today transformed into a ‘Mini World’ of all religions.
The Center for Interfaith Cooperation (CIC) on Sunday organized the Fourth Annual Festival of Faiths at the Veterans Memorial Plaza, Downtown, Indianapolis. It was an opportunity to increase interfaith understanding and highlighting the religious history of Indiana throughout the year.
In a message Governor of Indiana, Michael R Pence wrote “This event is a celebration of different religious communities within Indiana and their contributions that make up the fabric of our state. I appreciate the many hours of hard work that went into planning this event, which will expand the cultural and religious understanding of your Hoosiers unity in Indiana…..”
The Procession of Faith Congregations was led by 2016 Interfaith Ambassador Kanwal Prakash Singh, who is a world-renowned artist and Sister Stella Sabina. After a welcome by Master of Ceremonies Maninder Walia, words of welcome were by Indianapolis Faith leaders Rabbi Shelley Goldman, Imam Mikal Saahir, Maria Pimentel Gannon, Dr. Vimal Patel, and Reverend Marilyn Gill marked the opening ceremony.
Various programs were arranged. Program by Guitarist Michael Glenn Bell, Mormon Choir, guided meditation with Dr. Unissa Nava, Taiko Drumming with the Soka Gakkai Buddist Community, a Dance troupe from the Philippines, Sikh Sacred Hymns of Praise, Thanksgiving and Unity by Ragi Joginder Singh Jatha, Giani Pritam Singh and members of the Sikh Community.
Led by Rep. Susan Brooks table conversations modeled civil discourse and authentic inter-faith dialogue as community leaders facilitated conversations about challenging contemporary issues.
With a goal to bringing East and West closer internationally, Billboard Top-10 charting artist Denish singer Anita Hjorth Lerche sang Hindu devotional Bhajans and Punjabi songs. Anita, who is also known as Heer from Denmark, was sponsored by Sikh’s Political Action Committee.
The importance of a turban in Sikh’s life was demonstrated at a vendor which provided an opportunity for a visitor to learn how to tie and wear it. The visitors showed an overwhelming response. After getting the turban tied, the participant took photos by selfy. A three-month-old Lincoln remained calm while Gurinder Khalsa Singh was tied a blue turban on his head. “Lincon was a prince and now he is a crowned prince,” remarked Gurinder Singh.
Gurinder Khalsa Singh, founder and current chairman of Sikhs Political Action Committee (a voice for Diversity and Humanity) and Rupal Thakker Thanawala were among those present participated on the occasion. CIC vice chair Gehlausen and CIC Executive Director Charlie Wiles were looking for all arrangements.