KP emphasizes the “each” in “each citizen.” By tapping into the diversity of talent and experience of individual citizens, Indianapolis became a better place to live. In 1967, KP explained, Indiana residents had never seen a Sikh with a traditional turban and beard. When he arrived in Indianapolis after working for one year as an architect helping to develop downtown Detroit, just having graduated from the Master in City Planning program at University of Michigan, Indianapolis was struggling under the “No-Place” reputation. A turning point came with Mayor Lugar’s vision of progress to build more opportunities for more kinds of people: “The message went out over the wind current to say, ‘We are in business; come and see us; come and help us build. Bring your dreams and add your dreams to the dreams of those who are already here. Collectively we can build a city that we are very proud of.”
Slowly but surely, people of various faiths and communities found a place in Indianapolis, and KP acted as foremost an ambassador and welcomed newcomers as an immigrant who had pioneered living in Indianapolis. He has been intensely involved with international organizations, including the International Center of Indianapolis, (Founding Member, President ’74-75), Multi Ethnic Indiana, Sikh Council on Religion and Education, Race & Cultural Relations Leadership Network (2002-2012), Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis, Center for Interfaith Cooperation, and Asian-American Alliance, a founding member of the Indiana Community of Indianapolis. KP was a founding member of the Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis (first Sikh congregation) and helped to start a number of local establish the current Sikh temple on Acton Road. He told me, “A city, like a person, is work in progress.” Part of that progress is “making a place at the table for all types of people to learn about differences and to educate themselves about each other.” In tandem with a deep interest in the diversity of the City is KP’s passion for historic preservation and cultural heritage.