Additional writings by K.P. Singh may be found as Reflections of the Sacred in the Arts and Architecture

Original drawings of some of the images shown on this website are available for acquisition. Please contact KP for more information.

Pursuing Excellence through Leadership, Diversity and Unity

A presentation delivered by K.P. Singh, in celebration of Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Indiana Department of Natural Resource (NRCS)

A few thoughts and reflections on this Year’s APA Heritage Celebration Theme:

We have to begin any discussion that concerns people of distinct and diverse ethnicities, cultures, and faiths who today live and work among us and that we may be planning to serve, lead or integrate into our society, community, or nation by fairly accepting and understanding that first and foremost:


Representing many visible and untapped opportunities:

  • Recognize their special assets, talents, strengths, and experiences
  • Identify their unique concerns, problems, cultural sensitivities
  • Redress all legitimate grievances at the workplace or in the community
  • Base all professional promotions, rewards, recognitions on merit, not on ethnicity
  • Assure a rightful place and encouragement for their ideas, perspectives
  • Provide equal treatment under the law; fairness under existing or revised policies
  • Unconditional respect and thoughtful consideration of their culture and spirit
  • Make room for the unfamiliar traditions, customs, and reasonable expectations


We must begin with a basic and thoughtful understanding:

  • Our similar hopes, cherished dreams, universal needs, common humanity
  • Willingness to learn and teach one another; our collective strengths
  • Allowing friendly winds of culture to freely flow through our universe – Our neighborhood, classroom, sacred space, and community institutions
  • Representing unimagined new assets, resources, talents, and investments
  • Enriching and innovative ideas, potentials, and experiences
  • New bridges to people, cultures, market places, and global exchange
  • A universal key to individual and collective peace and prosperity in our increasingly interconnected and interdependent world


We must create an environment:

  • Where our common humanity is the central and unmistakable thread to our UNITY
  • A sacred anchor for our UNIVERSALITY as an interdependent human family
  • A place to seek and offer PEACE and FRIENDSHIP to one another
  • A space to explore, innovate, discover and surpass the limits of our talents and technology, imagination and opportunities for the greater good of all

DIVERSITY is not, and need not be an ADVERSITY or a threat to our societal and institutional framework, traditions, culture, or heritage. It is an opportunity to connect with diverse branches of our extended family, other unique and distinct cultures that grace the human universe that are now a part of our space and experience.

Beyond the color of my turban, our gender, nationality, faith, culture and ethnic origin,

Our UNITY is not a robotic sameness, an unrealistic monolith:

We are not of one mold, but
We are made of the same clay;
We are not of one design, but
We are designed by One Master with the same basic elements, same DNA;
We are not of one mind, but
We have a mind, heart, and spirit with similar echoes and capacities;
We are not of the same culture or ethnicity, but
Our culture is a result of familiar experiences, elements, and inspirations;
We all do not pursue the same dreams, display same temperaments or responses
and interested in identical things or pursuits, but
We have similar dreams and temperaments; our interests often shaped by geography,
cultural and historical encounters, circumstances, inspirations, and experiences;
We are not the same skin color, build, endowed with the same wisdoms, insights, but
We all want to be loved, respected; be treated with dignity as a basic right, blessing;

Such declarations, understandings, and assurances are the cornerstone and foundation to foster UNITY amidst our growing DIVERSITY:

Where our outward appearance may simply be regarded as a blur but the rich diversity of ideas, talents, pioneering spirit, and energy that we bring to the feast of life to share with others are seen as a real motivating force, tangible assets; our potential and intention

That best represent the true you and me
That is the true face of my humanity reflected in yours
That is the essence of your radiance shining through mine

With such an enlightened understanding as a commitment, a solemn assurance, you can expect the best from me. I may surprise you with my strong commitment and willing reciprocity. I may excel beyond my own expectations, because I sense that I am a part of the team and that as my leader, mentor, host, friend, neighbor, and fellow American you have placed your trust in me and especially if the trust is deserved and earned, and I am unlikely to disappoint myself or shortchange such generosity. I am going to give the assigned task, my team, my community or institution the best account of my talents and opportunities and hopefully many-folds return of your fair and modest investment in me.


Today many diverse celebrations and experiences color and enrich our landscape:

Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, Black History Month, International Festival,
St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Italian and Greek Festivals, American Indian Pow Wows at Eiteljorg Museum, Gyuto Monks at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Sikh Baisakhi, Indian Diwali, Chinese New Year, and countless others events and happenings are all about diverse ethnic and cultural journeys converging in this blessed land. We have brought our hopes and dreams, songs and dances from our native lands to the “New Courtyard of World Civilizations” that is America. This is exciting for us; we must be enthusiastic partners in celebrating our individual cultures and our emerging ethnic and cultural composite, our beautiful “Tapestry of Cultures,” not because it is a politically correct thing to do but because it is the right thing to do. Together we can further strengthen our “One Nation under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All.”

United States of America offers a very farsighted vision, a formidable promise, and each of us has a responsibility and solemn stake to honor this promise. As old and new daring souls, pioneers, innovators, and trailblazers in search of the possible and impossible we have to pick up the banner of generations of Americans before us and fully engage in building “A More Perfect Union” and taking it yet unimagined heights. We must simultaneously pursue our own dreams and answer the call of our own spirit.

As the great Indian Nobel Laureate, poet, educator, musician, songwriter, philanthropist, and humanitarian Rabindra Nath Tagore reminds us that there are “no aliens” in the human race, or among us. The sacred Sikh scripture command us to, “Recognize all humanity as One Race, One Brotherhood” and know that, “Every living being is a repository of Divine Light.” Many sacred texts further elaborate that “No one is outside the Circle of God’s Benevolence and Compassion” and must not be outside our thoughtful consideration and basic respect. The Buddhist sacred text, Meta Sutra reminds us: “One should cherish all life, radiating friendliness; above, below, all around without limit.” Ignorance about our common humanity or continuing to promote unfounded stereotype about other people, cultures, and faiths is a serious roadblock to knowing our collective spirit, promise, and unimagined potential. We are all fellow travelers brought together by destiny and invitation of Lady Liberty. We need to get along; create and provide the environment and framework for us to excel; and discover unity, friendship, love, and light in each other.

It all begins with each one us seeking, celebrating, and encouraging the best in each other. Our ethnic and national origins, cultural textures, and religious associations are a matter of pride, but our real calling card is that we are all Americans, members of one human family. In that spirit, we should respect and celebrate our native and national events, diverse and colorful traditions, other significant and landmark anniversaries. We must understand and embrace the privilege of being in a place where cultures and people from the farthest corners have met to shape a new chapter for human civilization. By taking the time to know other members our team, partners in this endeavor, we may suddenly discover that there are no strangers in the human race, only people we have not made our friends yet. Each has much to contribute to our personal growth, economy, and future. By combing our traditional strengths with those of new pioneers, we have the best chance of undreamed-of achievements and success in critical fields and meeting the challenges of our times. We need to mainstream our attitude towards one another, towards the entire human race, attract the best and brightest to our shores, and harness the untapped and under-utilized wisdoms and experiences of all who come here from distant lands with unfamiliar customs and cultures. The world looks to us for our generosity, spacious skies, and unimagined wealth and we must look to the world for yet untapped resources, talents, and marketplaces where we can make a difference for our fellow man or another nation. We must seek and promote a united front and fight against poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, and global menaces such as HIV/AIDS, terrorism, and violation of basic human rights. We must teach and learn about being a world citizen.

The English poet William Blake reminds us, “Clasp the hands and know the thoughts of men in other lands.” Today, we can see the world is already at our doorsteps. Let us transform this presence, incredible energy, ancient wisdoms, and gifts to solve problems. Let us preserve, honor, and celebrate all spectrums of our cultural and spiritual heritage, our unique and treasured textures, rhythms, and creativity as a vital key, bridge to shared humanity; and find inspirations to strengthen our unity, solidarity as fellow Americans.

We can begin by providing the kind of leadership and optimism that is contagious; that encourages unity amidst diversity; that rewards fairly and excellence over mediocrity; and promotes the best in each of us as people with sights on our collective greatness.

Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month is another reminder of millions of Americans of Asian origin from many Asian countries who are making incredible contributions in many diverse fields to American culture, excellence, and prosperity. It is also a reminder to do all that we must to mainstream and celebrate their presence and assure their rightful place in the American dream. In honoring fellow Americans or any facet of the American spirit and our emerging and colorful cultural festival, we honor ourselves.

Kanwal Prakash “KP” Singh
Indianapolis, Indiana USA