Nishaan-Chardi Kalaa Foundation Joint Initiative

Very much in keeping with the thrust of our Editorial in this issue, we are pleased to announce the joint initiative, nay, a partnership between Nishaan-Nagaara of New Delhi and the California-based Chardi Kalaa Foundation.

Even though Sikhi began in the Punjab over five centuries back, flourishing Sikh communities now exist in just about every country and large city of the world.

This collaboration that we announce is an attempt to formally create structures and mechanisms to celebrate Sikhi’s global presence and bridge the inevitable divide that geography creates. In time, many more such initiatives will take their impetus from what we create today.

The key objectives of the Chardi Kalaa Foundation are to promote understanding of Gurbani and core Sikh values, particularly to Sikh youth in America and the diaspora, as well as to non Sikhs, as also to work with and support other Sikh organizations, enhancing Chardi Kalaa of the Sikh community.

In subsequent issues, Nishaan will further apprise its readers of the splendid activities of the Chardi Kalaa Foundation but to begin with, here is this thumbnail note on the Foundation and its Founder-Chairman, Dr. Inder Mohan Singh. He joins the Editorial Board of Nishaan-Nagaara immediately.

Dr. Inder M. Singh is the Chairman of Chardi Kalaa Foundation and has served on the boards of several Sikh non profit organisations including SALDEF, and The Sikh Foundation. He is the Chairman of Lynux Works and was CEO until 2006, founded Excelan, and served as its chairman, CEO and President. He was a co-founder of Kalpana, one of Cisco’s early acquisitions. Dr. Singh has served on the boards of several high-tech companies.. He holds Ph.D. and M.Phil. degrees in computer science from Yale University, an MSEE from Polytechnic Institute of New York, and B. Tech (Hons) in Electronics from IIT, Kharagpur, before which he studied at the Doon School in Dehra Dun.

Being an ardent Sikh, and also a science scholar during his formative years, his views on ‘Science and Sikhi’ uphold the values of Sikhism :

‘Science and religion have often been at loggerheads, as illustrated by the persecution of Galileo for declaring that the earth moved around the sun, or the current controversies over evolution and stem cell research. Surrounded by technology, and information about scientific advances, there is a lot of skepticism about the teachings of religion that ask you to accept things on faith. Younger generations are dropping out of traditional religions in increasing numbers.

Can you be a scientist or technologist and also a devout Sikh without compromising on either? Sri Guru Granth Sahib stresses the importance of deep faith and commitment to the Guru, but at the same time asks us to use our God-given gifts of intelligent discrimination – bibek budhi – in the process, and to avoid irrational rituals and superstitions. It specifically raises questions about many widely held beliefs to point out their irrationality. “The Earth is said to be supported by a bull. What a load the bull must bear? But there are countless earths beyond this one – what supports them all?” (Japuji).

The laws of nature are a manifestation of the Divine Hukam, and a source of awe and wonder (vismaad). For a Sikh, any new discovery made by science is a celebration of the marvels of God and his creation, an affirmation of His Glory’.