we believe in God, then I think we have to believe in each other...
More than a mere calendar
Indianapolis, December 25, 2006
Columnists Andrea Neal
In this season when we celebrate the birth of Christ, it is inspiring
to know that an Indiana artist is working across the globe to spread
a message of good will and peace.
"If we believe in God, then I think we have to believe in each
other and it doesn't matter what faith and culture we come from,"
says K.P. Singh of Indianapolis, best known for his pen-and-ink
drawings of architectural and spiritual landmarks. "By building
friendship we can come to peace."
Singh, a native of India and follower of the Sikh faith, has been
a constant advocate for interfaith bridge building. He has placed
his message into a super-sized 2007 "Interfaith Calendar"
that he hopes will offer much more than a reminder of month and
It's a project of Future Computing Solutions Inc. and the Sikh Center
of Orange County, which produce an annual calendar with Sikh motifs
(To obtain one, go to www.kpsinghdesigns.com.)
The CEO of Future Computing had been trying to get Singh to do a
calendar for several years, but Singh wasn't interested unless it
could carry an interfaith theme. "When you are ready to talk
about an interfaith calendar, then will I consider loaning my artwork
to this project," Singh told him.
The calendar was released last month in Anaheim, Calif., at the
Annual Sikh Heritage Evening, an event that draws prominent Sikhs
from around the world. About 50,000 of the calendars were printed,
and Singh hopes they end up in homes and offices from Indiana to
Accompanying each month of the calendar is a description of a religion;
a piece of art by Singh connected to that faith and excerpts from
Sikh scripture or other inspirational text. The holidays of the
major religions are listed.
January features Sikhism and this excerpt from Jaap Sahib, Patshai
10: "Salutations to you, O God who is sun of suns, the moon
of moons; king of kings and king of kings of angels; the darkest
pitch darkness, the brightest of lights; manifested in the tiniest
of seeds and largest elements of nature and creation."
April explains Christianity and features Singh's drawing of the
Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. May describes Judaism and has
a picture of The Western Wall in Jerusalem, along with these words
from Exodus: "Let me make them a sanctuary that I may dwell
among them." September discusses Islam and is accompanied by
Singh's Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem where Mohammad is believed
to have ascended to heaven.
The major religions of course differ in many ways, but they offer
similar words of counsel to believers, Singh notes. These are to
love God, love one's fellow man, serve others and strive for peace.
Look around at the war in Iraq, upheaval in the Middle East, even
strife in our own communities. "I believe a lot of our trouble
is coming from our misunderstanding of other cultures, other faiths,"
Singh's own commitment to interfaith work grew in the days after
the Sept. 11 attacks when turban-wearing Sikhs like him were mistaken
for Muslims and felt the sting of prejudice. For Singh, celebrating
diversity is a passion and not something that arises from political
correctness or popular whim.
"This calendar is not just a colorful presentation of my drawing
or lofty ideals. For me it has the potential of a thousand discussions
and forums among people, educators, spiritual leaders and neighbors.
Our learning from and about each other is the first step to dispel
darkness that begins with ignorance and stereotyping that has led
humanity to one too many conflicts. We need to give each other our
peace and seek friendship through mutual respect and understanding."
It is fitting that this message of hope comes in the Christmas season
when so many of Singh's friends are recalling the birth of a baby
As it says in the gospel of Luke, after appearing to shepherds to
announce the good news of a Savior's arrival, a large group of angels
joined together proclaiming, "Give glory to God in heaven,
and on Earth let there be peace among the people who please God."
Wouldn't it be wonderful if something as common as a calendar could
spread the uncommon message of the angels?
Neal is a teacher at St. Richard's School in Indianapolis and an
adjunct scholar with the Indiana Policy Review. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.,
Copyright 2006 IndyStar.com. All rights reserved
Kanwal Prakash "KP" Singh
Indianapolis, Indiana USA