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Kanwal Prakash (KP) Singh



Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
July 30, 2011
Kanwal Prakash Singh

Mayor and Mrs. Ballard, and Mr. David Kane visited the Sikh Temple (Acton Road) in Indianapolis on Sunday, July 17, 2011.  Their visit is a part of our deep and sustained commitment to learn about leaders and their vision for our City and State as it relates to the communities that make central Indiana their home.  In June, we were happy to welcome Ms. Melina Kennedy, the Democratic Party’s candidate for Mayor.  Over the last few years, we have welcomed Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, Mayor Bart Peterson, Indiana’s First Lady Judy O’Bannon, Indiana State Representatives; heads of American Red Cross, FBI, Indiana Faith Based and Community Initiatives, Asian American Alliance, Indiana Humanities, and several business, education, faith leaders, and students.  We frequently invite and receive fellow Americans from other faith traditions and distinguished guests from several countries who visit Indianapolis as guests of the U.S. Department of State.  We are grateful for each visitor and opportunity to share ideas on many subjects of common interest and thankful for their friendship with the Sikh American community of central Indiana.

Mayor and Mrs. Greg Ballard made their second visit to the Sikh Temple.  This is the first visit of Mr. David Kane, Director of Transportation Security Administation (TSA) at the Indianapolis International Airport.  We have worked with Mr. Kane in providing cultural education about the significance and respect for sacred Sikh articles of faith to the TSA officers during airport screening.

Mayor Greg Ballard possesses a remarkable resume.  He has had a distinguished career as a U.S. Marine, a business leader, a visionary Administrator of Indianapolis- a major American city, married to a beautiful lady of Asian origin; a wonderful father and a thoughtful friend to all cultures.  He is passionate about further enhancing our rich tapestry of cultures and ethnic celebrations, exploring the full range of our cultural and community assets, and assuring a rightful place for their future in the fabric and spirit of our City and the Nation.  We appreciate and applaud his cultural sensitivity.  He understands the power of people and the strength and wisdom that flow from nurturing that spirit in every human being and believes that it brings out the best in us.  Mayor Ballard is always willing to go the distance to forge new friendships and alliances, and in this commitment and vision, he has few equals in Indiana or the nation.

Mayor Ballard’s strong personal and professional ethic, a non-political approach to solving tough and complex problems, and putting people and their interests above all else is refreshing.  Mayor and Mrs. Ballard exude a spirit of optimism that in the Sikh culture is called Charhdikala.  As a Mayor, he has been willing to identify with the citizens, explore new ideas; dare us to follow and encourage us to lead.  Mr. Ballard is a man of strong faith and conviction and a tireless champion of diversity in all its multiple dimensions.  

 Mayor Ballard reminded us that, “it takes a village” with each of us working together to make a city great.  It takes good education, sound infrastructure, a responsible management of resources and people’s trust, attractive business environment, safe neighborhoods, improving relationships between faith and ethnic communities, and a City that is looking to its future with a deep sense of its past and imaginative ideas that work.  Mayor Ballard promised to do what he can to accommodate Sikh articles of faith for those wishing to pursue law enforcement careers.
Mayor Ballard emphasised that every valuable asset and strength needs to be carefully integrated to produce results that benefit all citizens, and much like Mayor Richard Lugar (now U.S. Senator), he has made this a centerpiece of his leadership style.

Mayor Ballard and Mrs. Ballard genuinely care and understand the challenges of the Sikh faith-mandated sacred articles of faith since the horrific events of 9/11.  He is prepared to set a new standard of community engagement and inclusiveness where our talents are recognized and utilized to the fullest.  His message reflected a deep commitment to public safety, family values and humanitarian concerns; to our youth and their future in an intensely competitive and interdepent world.  He challenged us to do our part and respect the laws.  His passion to bring about a renaissance through tireless striving and postive reinforcement about serving is a welcome relief.  On behalf of the Sikh congregation, Mr. David Kane was presented the traditional Sikh Siropa; Mrs. Ballard, a silk scarf; and Mayor Ballard, a Siropa and check of $1001.00 in support of families of police officers killed in the line of duty.

Indiana Sikhs have been striving to be an active part of the larger community:

  • Inviting City and international guests, and faith leaders to the Sikh temple for discussions
  • Raising funds and collecting the canned food for the Interfaith Hunger Initiative
  • Participating in the Asian American Alliance’s “Race For All Races” to raise money for
       student scholarships
  • Participating in the 500-Festival Parade as a part of Nationalities Council’s Parade Unit
  • Participating in Interfaith Prayer Services and other faith-related events and forums
  • Supporting school programs, civic and community projects and engagements
  • Regularly featuring the Sikh community’s activities and achievements in the media

Sikhs in central Indiana have been participating in events and discussions to learn about all facets of community life, culture, and political process to understand their opportunities and responsibilities as citizens.  In their remarks Mayor Ballard, David Kane, and others have offered reassurances to safeguard interests of all citizens and respect for distinct cultural mandates.  They have applauded the initiatives of the Sikh community in serving Indiana and the nation and encouraged us to stay engaged.

We are beginning to see the results of our active and diverse involvements: greater appreciation and acceptance.  We recognize the ideas and spirit that reinforce our collective betterment, not those that emphasize our differences, have the best chance of building greater understanding.  We must learn to identify with ideas and pursuits that serve all citizens and in time earn a place for our heritage, values, experiences, and pioneering energy in the emerging cultural and spiritual fabric of our City and our Nation.  The Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis under the leadership of Jesse Lalli, Maninder Walia, Harpreet Sandhu, Narvinder Bhola, Avtar Singh, and others has made remarkable strides in that  Indianapolis, Indiana USA    July 20, 2011