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
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)