Tuesday, September 4, 2007

One Light - The Idea behind it

Hi, my name is Angad Singh. I am thirteen years old and I live in Alpharetta GA. This summer I worked on a short film called ‘One Light’ that celebrates the oneness of all people. I want to share with you the idea behind it and how we all can take a baby step to making this world a better place.


I just came back from a 3 week Duke University TIP program after completing a course on International Relations. We learnt that a major source of conflict in this world is dwelling on differences, whether they are in religions, cultures or races. The next is; fear of the unknown. Often that fear stems from ignorance. So I thought; what if we started with acknowledging similarities between people and slowly learn about uniqueness each one has to offer. Then there will be no ignorance about each other and hence no fear and no conflict.


USA is such a melting pot of different cultures, ethnicities and thoughts but we often don’t take time to learn about each other. So, with this project my goal is to bridge the gap of differences and fear of unknown between people, and celebrate the similarities that we as the human race share.


With that in mind, I made this short film through which I can share my idea, process and experience with the world community in the hope to inspire many others.I think a good way to start would be to get to know our own neighbors.

My neighbors were asked the following questions for the footage shooting:
1. Tell me about your background

2. Tell me what the source of conflicts in the world are and how can we as individuals bridge the gaps in human race

3. Ask me what you want to know about me, my culture, my religion or anything else

4. What parallels do you draw with my background and yours

5. What did you learn in this session and

6. What is your message to the world ?


I was thrilled to see what my neighbors had to say. I am hopeful and inspired, connected and charged.


Difference can be made in this world with baby steps and this is my baby step in the direction to resolving world conflicts.

I invite you to read about my work, see the film and share your baby step with everyone.
********************To a friendlier world!!! ******************************
Angad Singh

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Process

My first step was to type out some fliers that contained information about me, my ethnicity and my spiritual path - Sikhism. Also I asked the recipients to share something about their background and get back to me if they were interested to be a part of this project. I distribute 47 of them. Would they respond ? Why would they care to spend time and effort?

I was a bit nervous but to my delight in the next 5 days I would speak to 10 of my neighbors and they all were so enthusiastic and amazed at this project. Many others regretted that they did not have time and some were camera shy but they all read my fliers, learnt about Sikhism and me and appreciated the idea.

Next came the Interviews. I spent on an average a couple of hours with each neighbor (more with the famlies).

At first I got a chance to share our backgrounds with each other. We discussed our roots, ethnicities, religions, culture and customs. My neighbors asked me a lot of questions about me and Sikhism. I learnt that I had hidden treasures in my neighborhood consisting of an educator who is a cancer survivor and adopted child and has dedicated her life to working for children with disability, of a doctor who is a son of great scientist that identified the Salmonella bacteria and is committed to improving health through proper nutrition in the society, of his wife and Yoga teacher who wants to bring about world peace through helping bring inner peace to their clients, Mothers who teach their children to respect all besides their obvious differences, fathers who put their families first and grandparents who are always their for not only their families but all their neighbors in need. I learnt about Christian Sciences, Judaism, Catholicism and Protestant faiths, of Hispanic, Latin American, Western and East European origins. They asked me Why I wore a Iron Bracelet, what my uncut hair meant to me, how I dealt with kids being insensitive to me because of my unique appearance. They learnt about the Sikh Philosophy, history and demographics.

After sharing our backgrounds and beliefs with each other we were thrilled to find that even though we were rooted in different parts of the world, practiced different religions, we had so much in common in terms of family and faith values, love for humanity, nature and animals and everyone was really concerned about war, hunger, human rights and environmental degradation and wanted to serve the underprivileged.

One of my neighbors shared with me how kids would bully her because of her ethnic background when she grew up. Everyone welcomed learning about Sikhism and was happy to have know about this wonderful all accepting and close to nature religion. They loved the idea of this project.

The highlight was learning about the Alliance for New Humanity from Mrs. Bulmash. The Alliance believes that we are all connected and can bring a change in the world by Personal Transformation, Connection and Service. They address Poverty, Human Rights Abuse, War and Environmental degradation through various projects. She mentioned that even without being a member I was doing the Alliance’s work…Ofcourse I said, That’s exactly what Guru Nanak asks of me.

Next we got a chance to share our views on what the sources of conflicts in the world are and how can we as individuals bridge the gaps in human race. We talked about greed, power, ignorance and ego. The responses on solutions filled me with hope. I found that My neighbors already believed in the concept of Ek Noor or One light. The idea is to celebrate what binds us together and not dwell into what divides us.

We also decided that if humanity had any chances, it was possible only if the Youth stepped up and broke all boundaries that divided the mankind, if they took the onus of being the Change Agents of the Future through humanitarian, educational and political process.

The Third Step was the most difficult one. My biggest challenge was to put all this treasure into 20 minutes. I spent hundreds of hours painfully cutting those jewels I gathered to fit into this film.

Fun part was Overlaying with the right music and adding credits. My Mom's friends wrote two original tracks for the film.

Hundreds of hours (that cut my Summer Vacation so so short) later:

I bring to you my work from this little step I took to bring the humanity a little closer, all inspired by the message of Guru Nanak, in the hope that you will all do the same. Won’t you reach out to your neighbors and share the jewels of love, peace and harmony too ? Won’t you celebrate the message of One Light? Together our baby steps will make one giant leap towards a better mankind.

Why and How the Idea came about ?

Conflict in the world has always bothered me. Be it bullying in our schools, Terrorists killing innocent civilians or hate crimes committed against people who look a certain way, the Iraq war, the Rwandan genocide in Africa or the Sikh genocide in India, ethnic cleansing of the Jews, gypsies and the Slavs . How can the human suffering to this extent not bother anyone ?

The Search for an answer recently took me to a Duke University course on International Relations. I learnt that a major source of conflict in this world is dwelling on differences, whether they are in religions, cultures or races. We somehow think that they are not us. They don’t need what we do, they don’t feel the way we do. The next is; the fear of the unknown that stems from ignorance.

So What do I do to change this ? Where do I start ? The course stressed on Dialogue or building Relations through communication.

And I thought, What better way to start this than with my own neighbors. I had to find out how they perceived of and processed someone with a different ethnicity and identity such as myself ? Does the conflict in the present day world bothered them as much as it does to me ? What did they feel as to what we as average humans can do to make this world a better place ?
With that in mind, I decided to reach out to my neighbors.

My missionTo celebrate the One Light that created us, that nurtures us and to break the walls of ignorance, fear and differences.

My inspiration – Guru Nanak who traveled 25,000 miles on foot and reached out millions of people to impart the message of One God, One Humanity.

The Film

The film is being screened at the Online Sikhnet Film Festival starting Sept 6th, 2007.

Click Here to Watch the Film


Search it on the Sikhnet Film Festival in Junior Division

SikhNet Youth Online Film Festival