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Kanwal Prakash "KP" Singh
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

As I reflect upon the year 2004 that just ended, I am left with a deep sadness over the cataclysmic tsunami on December 26th in Southeast Asia that has brought unimagined destruction, staggering loss of life, and heart-wrenching suffering to the survivors in eleven countries along the rim of the Indian Ocean. Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand were the worst hit with a combined total of over 250,000 deaths.

Amidst this and other episodes of intense darkness, overwhelming tragedy, deprivations of many basic essentials for life and happiness; disregard for human dignity, rights, and justice; and ethnic conflicts and complex cultural and spiritual divides, there are countless testimonies of immense generosity, celebrations of human triumphs, and affirmations and miracles that strengthen our faith and determination to imagine and build a better world.

As we pray for the victims of natural and man-made disasters and neglect and outrage, we must seek and find direction to address the continuing struggles and sufferings of millions on this Earth. My mind, reflections, and meditation about our civilization lead my thoughts, hopes, and imagination toward a distant and promising dawn:

Where there is a lasting peace and the resolution of conflicts is through peaceful means; peace is not just another unfulfilled wish or a spineless declaration but a global policy and universal commitment; and human dignity, rights, and justice are never the victim.

Where cultural, spiritual, societal, and economic issues and concerns that often divide us as a human family are bridged by ideas and shared hopes that reconcile our differences; we search, discover, and magnify common threads that unite us; and we create an environment that builds trust and cooperation among cultures, communities, and nations.

Where innocent children play on the "seashores" of life in safety and enjoy divinely-blessed rights to education, healthcare, fun, and loving homes; special opportunities to reach their full potential are in place; and the unimagined and impossible is encouraged.

Where stem-cell research for many troubling diseases and health conditions is not just an ideological debate but, within guidelines of acceptable risks and ethical restraints, is a vigorous pursuit to bring hope and healing to those suffering from debilitating medical and related problems that limit their freedoms, talents, and pursuit of happiness.

Where sharing of knowledge and scientific advancements, resolving major problems and mysteries of our human universe, and enhancing the state of the entire planet and living beings are a worthy destination, an honored assurance, and important founding principle.

Where politics are not driven by narrow perspectives, ideological confrontations, and divisive distractions but are seen as an opportunity to serve and expand human promise; shaping of policies and directions that lead to improving the quality of life and providing fair and equal opportunities for all citizens is a cherished dimension of our humanity.

Where the environment is clean: the air is fit to breathe; the life-giving water is pristine; the sky, our universally shared canopy, is deep blue; flowers bathed in sunshine proudly grace the landscape; birds sing; the Earth is regarded as a sacred entity for all living beings and is protected from unconscionable and reckless abuse and exploitation; and an aura of sanctity about Nature and Life greets the senses and nurtures the human soul.

Where a rich tapestry of ideas and thoughts, unfamiliar faiths and unique traditions, and diverse cultural spectrums and perspectives frequently converge at friendly crossroads; leaders offer creative and lasting answers to human challenges and enhance our collective gifts and dreams and image before gods and man.

Where we see life through many-faceted prisms; wisdom, learning, and understanding freely transcends the traditional frontiers of culture, space, and origin; and uncommon and rewarding visions give birth to choices that best reflect our times, needs, and spirit.

Where Light, not darkness; universal good, not selfish ends; and knowledge and freedom, not ignorance and fear guide our energies, talents, and promise at every step; we discover daily new thresholds of mutual and universal survival, prosperity, and peaceful coexistence; and together build monuments that showcase and strengthen the best about community, creativity, and culture.

Where caring for others includes: safeguarding their civic and sacred rights; a place for and preservation of all cultures; neighborliness and friendship across unfounded bias or uncertainties; understanding that bridges religious, ethnic, anthropological, and gender divides, recognizing and celebrating as the Sikhs believe, "All humanity as One Race, One Brotherhood" and that "Every living being is a repository of Divine Light." It is in honoring Dr. Martin Luther King's eloquent reminder of recognizing the "self-evident truth that all men are created equal" that we can hope to shape a world that is lead by light, conscience, justice, and a higher purpose.

Where timeless music, the arts, and literature serve as treasured Ragmalas (Asian Indian paintings that combine and capture the composite texture and spirit of visual arts, music, poetry, seasons and sensuality) and as a favorite forum that enrich our lives and unite our cultures; and to know, appreciate, and nurture the face and spirit of our civilization.

Where each of us has a part in this symphony, fascinating and magnificent play, and splendid mosaic of life and spirit; have a fair share in this beautiful fabric of sunshine and hope; and a voice and faith in our collective destiny and a place to catch our own dreams. (3)


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