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Words such as hope, faith, love, service, life, liberty, dreams, friendship, beauty, happiness, triumph, tragedy, genocide, death, war, peace, and others evoke diverse and multiple passions and perceptions, a myriad of emotions, powerful images and creative ideas, and reflect human triumph and anguish. Words enshrine thought, inspirations, illumination, information, mystery, ideas, , destinations, and every facet of human spirit and experience. Our Sacred Texts, Enlightened Teachers, and others offer us timeless wisdom, uncommon testimony, inspirations without limit on matters of life, living, and our rightful place within the unfathomable Creation.

Hopes and dreams are the essence of life; define and intimate our humanity and give birth to significant ideas, events, and actions reflecting our and society’s response in the pursuit of those hope and dreams. Some ideas challenge us to take a plunge to new pilgrimages of faith, undertake pioneering adventures into the great unknowns “on a wing and prayer.” Others invite us to imagine and witness what emancipation, liberation, and surprise may await us at the distant seashore or other side of the mountain, if only we dared. Great dreams and hopes call upon the power of our will and willingness to make the impossible possible, to usher in a new or promised renaissance in human advancement, and sometimes discover the unimagined about ourselves.

In spite of good intentions, frequent vigorous debates, the repeated calls of enlightened and extraordinary voices to create an environment in which hopes and dreams of all are enhanced and may flourish, we are far short of such a goal. Long-standing solemn proclamations and promises of universal rights and freedoms, equal justice and opportunity, healthcare and education, the end to hunger, homelessness, and illiteracy; absence of fear and violence in our everyday life; and preservation of our sacred environment, the treasured arts, culture and heritage that define our humanity, remain an eternal struggle and a foremost challenge in many societies. Some hopes and dreams have been long-time coming. Advocacy and leadership to inspire our individual and collective responsibility is an important first.

During election cycles, international forums, and times of major global conflicts, the debate and urgency to do the right things takes on a life, emotion, intensity, and momentum of its own. Many lofty ideals, visions, expectations and unmet past promises are placed before us with utmost sincerity by new pioneers, civic leaders, spiritual mentors, and passionate advocates for change. Their presentations highlight personal testimonies, deep conviction and resolve, and to provide a new kind of leadership. Each such call is an attempt to capture our attention and excite our mind and spirit to yet unrealized frontiers of human capacity and undreamed-of possibilities. The advocates generate a moral mandate for change; promises to meet the raised expectations.

Then, there are the gatekeepers of change. Those who have the responsibility, power, and legal authority to translate those raw and imaginative visions, dreams and hopes, resonating calls to redress past wrongs or neglect, and mend unfortunate entrenched ideas and conduct by creating the necessary intellectual, social, or moral environment; design a sound foundation, framework and programs to accommodate change. As the frontline of real change, they fight hard to see ideas become reality, enforce the moral mandate, evaluate the strengths and merits of the critical promises, and make delivering of cherished hopes and dreams with needed programs, a passion.

The recent debate about the rightful place of venerated advocates and those who implement the time-honored visions of humanity has prompted me to share the following personal reflection:

The great Indian statesman-scholar-philosopher, Bharat Rattna (Jewel of India), and President of India, the late Dr. Servapalli Radhakrishnan writes:
"Ideas move the world, and thought precedes action."

Then I came across this profound wisdom (author unknown):
"Great ideas are wonderful but something has to be done about them."

From the beginning of life, great hopes and dreams have been the driving force in humanity's struggle for survival and man’s tireless and intense search for answers to find his place and make life better. They have been the formidable catalyst for change, achievement markers in the journey of our civilization, and have stretched human imagination in meeting new expectations. Throughout history, the changing ideas and events have had a tremendous impact in defining and advancing our unrealized dreams and frequent demands that we do something about them.

For ideas and visions to become possible and a reality, we needed the where-with-all, wise and thoughtful support from people at many levels willing to stand in solidarity, take incredible risks, understand the nature of the challenge, and help design the pathway to dreams and destinations for the benefit of a few, or well-being of the entire human race. Along the way, sometimes we needed peaceful protest or threats of force to make those in authority do the right thing. Over the course of human history, many ideas triumphed and flourish today as an integral part of culture. Some visions and hopes perished, others languish due to resistance to change, intense cultural opposition, politics, and prejudice and ignorance of the day. Many of humanity's great hopes and dreams remain works-in-progress, waiting to see the light and final acclamation.

We know there is much distance to cover, mountains to climb, for many of our fellow citizens here and in distant lands to experience the fullness of their God-given humanity. Hope and faith remain the keystones of human struggle and survival; they power the human imagination and spirit in unique and profound ways. Somewhere, I read this eloquently-expressed thought:

"Faith is believing things that we have not yet seen;
The reward for such faith is seeing things that we believe."

The late Senator Robert F. Kennedy often used to remind us of the words of the great English author, George Bernard Shaw:

"Some people see things as they are, and ask why? I dream of things as they never were, and ask why not?"

We have to power our hopes and dreams. They are the key to unlocking our unimagined energy and potentials to do great things. We need the sun, favorable winds and stars, faith and wisdom, universal peace and compassion, and tireless striving and serving to guide our passage.

To realize our significant and extraordinary dreams, to give shape to our hopes and promise, transform and uplift human condition against formidable obstacles, and raise our sights and hopes to yet higher horizons, we must create favorable conditions and build a strong and viable foundation and strategy for successful implementation. We must sustain such a framework with needed laws, safeguards, relevant initiatives, and thoughtful champions that may facilitate the outcome. Great ideas need, not just wings of imagination, understanding, and prayer, but also critical support, networking, and determined advocates and fighters to make things right.

We see a free society as having the fundamental responsibility to assure and safeguard our right to universal basic hopes and dreams - life, liberty, and happiness. We look to leaders in terms of our own personal commitments and solemn passions and gravitate towards those who inspire us, help channel our hopes and unexplored strengths, and call upon the best in each of us towards greater good. We often connect in personal ways with mighty and just visions encouraged and promoted by enlightened souls that occasionally arrive to guide human destiny and jolt us out of our "contentment of the status quo." We admire those who give wings to our imagination, hopes and dreams; a sense of believability and testimony of their deserving our confidence and trust.

The two distinct areas of human experience, the great ideas and their advocates and those who give shape to those ideas, are intertwined, interdependent, and not mutually exclusive. Both contribute as important partners to the advancement of human thought. This composite and dynamic relationship has brought the human thought, institutions, and civilization to where we are today. Going forward, we have to embrace and strengthen those ideas that expand hope, redress lingering unjust conditions, and call upon all who can or demonstrate sound judgment and experience to lead and guide our future. In an increasingly complex interdependent world, parents, educators, artists, scientists, innovators; business, spiritual, civic, and world leaders all have a special role in preparation of a generation by promoting the right kind of values and strengths to face a world full of uncertainty, unimagined challenge, and fierce competitiveness.

The advocate of a dream and one who advances that vision to reality, together represent a triumph and cause for celebration. Both deserve our deepest admiration, gratitude, and prayers for what they offer to enrich and advance the human spirit. If great ideas are the soul of humanity, then those who give shape to those ideas represent the true architects of hopes and dreams for our civilization. Sometimes, ordinary souls and lone powerful voices have emerged to lead us forward in extraordinary ways. Each of us can contribute in transforming our individual and collective hopes and dreams into reality; motivate ourselves in placing greater trust in our own personal commitment and investment, instincts and passions; and seeing outside the box and seizing the moment and challenge. Simply engaging in giant leaps of faith that our ‘caravan of hopes’ will come home with new turns of destiny, season, or trusting in dazzling promises shouted from the pulpit, podium, rooftops, or during campaigns may only bring giant disappointment. Often it has “taken an entire village” to do the heavy lifting. That means becoming a solemn hope and living-force to our common and shared dreams as one people.

Kanwal Prakash "KP" Singh
Indianapolis, Indiana USA



“KP” Singh,
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