1st letter photo

Well-known Indian American community leader Inder Singh (left), promoter of the 9th Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Los Angeles in 2015, seen with event supporter and social entrepreneur Sunil and Neelam Tolani. (photo provided)

I first met Inder Singh, an unpretentious man, in 2013 at his India Heritage Scholarships event and it changed my life. I looked up to him right away. A few months earlier at the Excel Foundation Youth Conference in Norwalk, we met again and had a profound discussion on life, morality and hard work. We talked about the families and community that prays together, stays together and the love grows who lets Waheguru into their lives.

He asked about my dad who always said, “Goodness is good.” We both were totally inspired by the spirit of true and divine love (Nanak naam) and selfless service (Nirswarath Sewa). The power of divine love, devotion, Kirtans, meditation and Gurbani. It was just one of the many enlightening conversations we would have over the years meeting at charitable and Indian American community events and where Inderji was hosting Indian ambassadors, consuls general and politicians. He never got caught up in the petty human frailties of gossip, judgment and politics.

He was a man of principles and a couple of years ago, he produced a coffee table book on “Top Indians in L.A.,” on important, influential, successful, trailblazer Indian Americans. He had the largest 3-page profile on me but due to a friendly disagreement, I decided to opt-out of the publication.

Inderji loved life and the people around him with his humility and generosity. He was just the most inspirational man, it seemed like he closed the gap between good and bad. He had amazing spirit of light and positivity and unconditional love for all, especially students. He lived a life of giving and embodied a Sikh's commitment to Seva (selfless service) and a love for all humanity.

I was lucky enough to know his illustrious history. He had blessed me when I told him that I wish to be 10% of his 100%. Singhji wanted to accomplish great things, and did. In our community where every leader wants to take credit for everything, he refused to take credit for a lifetime of achievements.

The last communication I had with him was on July 21 where he offered condolences and regrets on my father’s funeral day as he could not come due to his wife's hip replacement surgery, who was confined to bed, and he was home bound in absence of any other family member taking care of her. He would say, “Deepi ji is the rock in our family. Full of energy, fascinating and ever ready to challenge naysayers, she is a light and loved by everybody.”

Inderji deserved more time in life. Myself and my family and the community will miss him tremendously. Sadly for us, Waheguru brought him home to heaven. I hope and pray to talk and meet him in heaven. Let us honor his legacy and continue to live with gratitude and hope. Life is a gift; the promise of eternal life with Waheguru is the greatest gift of all. Thank you Inder Singh ji, it was our privilege.

Sunil Tolani

Los Angeles, Calif.

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