April 2016 \ Diaspora News \ Diaspora—Community Service
Inder Singh Leaving A Legacy

“Surround yourself with smart, dedicated people—to build something isn’t a one-man show” —Niklas Zennstrom

By Sayantan Chakravarty

Why did Inder Singh choose to do this? He had plenty on his plate anyways after dedicating his life to community service. “A community worker never retires,” he says, philosophically. Temple work came first, then followed his engagements with a Punjabi cultural organization, FIA of Southern California, the NFIA, and later with the GOPIO International that he chairs. You cannot find logical answers to a man’s deeds always, especially when they are kind, generous and selfless. What we believe is that 30 years ago he decided that young Indian talent needed to be showcased and recognized for posterity, but more importantly for telling America that India had some serious talent. And America, and particularly California, surely knows today what Indians can do. Ask firms like Microsoft, Google, Adobe, Sun, and many more.

And so began Mr Singh’s journey of a thousand miles. His first sponsor was Professor Frank Chookolingo who provided a seed money of USD 5,000. That along with other donations enabled the curtains to go up on the first award function at the Marriott Hotel at the Los Angeles Airport. The year was 1987. Much has happened since. America has seen 4 more Presidents. The L.A. Lakers have won 6 more NBA championships. Two Indian movies have been nominated to the Oscars. Indian Americans in the USA have quadrupled to over 3 million. And those that received the awards have seen the winds of change blowing in the Indian community, and have made their presence felt over time.

As far as celebrating the success of young Indian Americans is concerned, one man has certainly made his presence felt. We know that it’s never a one man show. But it’s always that one man that makes a big difference.

Take a bow, Inder Singh. You have created and mentored many institutions and champions along the way.

Tags: USA, Diaspora, awards