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Human Interest

Tying turbans hog limelight at Indy Festival of Faiths

Punjab Newsline Network | October 16, 2017 11:31 AM

Indiapolis, USA- Sikhs Political Action Committee and Sikh Society of Indiana, an umbrella of Midwest Gurdwaras and Sikhs organized tying turban event which got an overwheling response at the 5th Annual Indy Festival of Faiths 2017. The organizers of the Festival of Faiths, Center of Interfaith Cooperation (CIC), shifted all activities inside the War Memorial, Downtown as rain played a spoil sport.
According to spokespersons of Sikh Society of Indiana and SikhsPAC more than 350 visitors, including women, from all faiths were tied colored turbans. They all looked enthusiastic and thrilled. Tying turban is a campaign to spread the message that "We are Sikhs". All were welcome. SikhsPAC had announced that   Prince, Princess, King and Queen would be selected among those who participated in the turban tying event and the winners will be adjudged “The Emperor of the World”.

Meanwhile, this year more exhibitors than ever before took part in the Festivals of Faiths, and many new activities were added to entertain and enlighten Festival-goers. CIC described it as  the "biggest" Indy Festival of Faiths ever!

CIC Board chair Jane Gehlhausen and Festival chair Muzaffar Ahmad extended welcome to the participants. Greetings were from five religious leaders, including 2017 Interfaith Ambassador of the Year Sister Norma Rocklage and song of praise by Eritren choir.
After Taiko drums performance, Michael Glen Bell performed  acoustic/folf rock  songs of faith and justice with a bit of Christian liturgy mixed in. Taiko drums were used in Japan as early as 6th century CE for communications, in festivals and in other Buddhist rituals.
After the Mexican Folklorico dance there was a Sikh Satsang Choir :" God, you are Benevolent Lord, Compassionate Master, Eternal Guide and Protector. For Sikhs, devotional music is an important aspect of this spiritual journey.

As Hindus have made their journey from India to Indiana, music and dance  have been essential for preserving  centuries- old religious heritage. Nrityanjali Dance School students gave a dance performance and  Varuna Dhanabal sang traditional Hindu song. It was followed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Double Quartet.

Part of Salesforce, SouthAsiaForce Indy tried to protect the intergrity and existence of different religions and communities from South Asia.

Closing remarks were from Reveremd Marilyn Gill of Indiana Christian Leadership Conference and Reverend Carolyn Hardville from African Methodist Episcopal Church. Then joined together in a rousing rendition of "Lift Every Voice and Sing!"

Another feature of the Festival was social awareness table conversations.  Rev Dolores Thornton helped  organize an award-winning collection of  visual and spoken word artists and writers.

A meditation program with simple instructions was followed by question-answer  session on meditation or Buddhism in general.
Congratulating the Center for Interfaith Cooperation for hosting the Indy  Festival of Faiths Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb in  a message said " Indiana is proud to be home of many religious institutions. People of all faiths in Indiana and across  this country represent the very best  of what it means to be faithful Americans. I have the sincere hope this event can continue  that mission and fuirther strengthen the bonds between Hoosiers of all faiths and the communities they serve."

Wishing for a successful and memorable Indy Festival of Faiths, the Governor wished CIC all the best in promoting faith and friendship in our comminity.

Indiana Mayor Joseph H Hogsett applauded the CIC and the Festival's Steering Committee for bringing people  together to share and learn about the many different religious traditions in our community. It is important to offer opportunities for citizens to embrace our cultural diversity and to serve as a welcoming community to all.

"Please enjoy your time at the festival today as you learn about the faith traditions of your neighbors -- you are contributing positively to the development of greater understanding, respect and trust amomg all residents of our city."

The Steering Committee comprise  Muzaffar Ahmad (chair), Cenk Kandemir, Rick Belbutoski, Nathan Day Wilson, KP Singh, Maria Pimentel-Gannon, Dr Larry Gerstein, Dorotohy Mack, George Kelley, Jane Gehlhausen, Charlie Wiles, Jon Clark, Sister Norma Rocklage, Maninder Walia, Zulaiha Razak, Jim Maher, Ben Lesile, Rev Dolores Thornton, Ray Mills, Abbygail Parker, Deb Saxon, Naseer Syed, Tim Irwin, Rev Marilyn Gill, Philip Cleveland, Maha Muzaffar, Glenn Tebbe, Rebecca Holloway, Joel Reichenbach, Carolyn Hardville, Sonal Sanghani and Valerie Khokhar.

Executive Director Educational Formation Outreach at Marian University  Sister Norma Rocklage. CIC founder member  and 2016 Interfaith Ambassador  Kanwal Prakash Singh, CIC Board chair Jane Gehlhausen, Festival chair Muzaffar Ahmad, Dr Anita Joshi, Maninder Walia, SikhsPAC founder president Gurinder Singh Walia, CIC founding board member Imam Michael "Mikal" Saahir, Gurdwara Sri Hargonind Singh, Greenwood, chairman Jasdeep Singh, Rupal Thanawala of Asian American Alliance and Jagdish Singh were among those present.

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