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Listen to Hoosier History Live! at 11:30 a.m. each Saturday on WICR 88.7 FM. You also can listen online at the WICR website during the broadcast. And, beginning Feb. 6 you will be able to join a listening group at Bookmama's in Irvington to listen to, and discuss, the Saturday show.


K.P. Singh on the Sikh heritage in Indiana


It’s our 100th show, so wouldn’t you expect something special from Hoosier History Live? Well-known artist K.P. Singh will join Nelson in studio for a show in our rotating series about ethnic immigration and spiritual heritage in Indiana. Born in India, trained as an architect and renowned for his pen-and-ink drawings, K.P. was one of the few local members of the Sikh religion when he settled in Indianapolis during the 1960s; then-Mayor Richard Lugar had hired him as a city planner. Today, there’s more than one Sikh temple in the Indy metro area, as well as a head priest.  K.P. Singh.K.P., who eventually became a founding member of the International Center of Indianapolis and now devotes himself full-time to his artwork, will share details about the growth here in Sikhism, the world’s fifth-largest religion. At one Sikh temple alone in Indianapolis, weekly attendance usually is more than 300 people.


Credited with helping start a group that saved Union Station from demolition in the 1970s, K.P. is a tireless advocate of historic preservation and is acclaimed for his architectural artwork of Hoosier landmarks, ranging from the Indianapolis City Market, Monument Circle and the Indiana Statehouse to the Vigo County Courthouse and the University of Notre Dame. He's also acclaimed for his artwork that depicts monuments in his homeland of India, as well as in Washington D.C., such as the Lincoln Memorial. Many of his drawings, as well as accompanying essays and poems, are featured in his book, The Art and Spirit of K.P. Singh (2003). He will share his personal journey as a Hoosier, along with details about the evolution of local Sikhs, whose temples are called “ gurdwaras."


In 1947, when he was just 7 years old, K.P. left India with his family. His family members, along with thousands of other people, were thrown out of the country during an era of ethnic strife. Eventually he studied architecture, then earned a master’s degree in city planning at the University of Michigan. He came to Indianapolis in 1967 and almost immediately found himself described on the front page of the former Indianapolis News in its "Did You Notice?" feature this way: "Did you see a turbaned and bearded man looking like an Indian maharajah viewing a children’s exhibit in the lobby of the City-County Building?" Fortunately, Indy has come a long way in its international diversity, sensitivity and awareness during the 43 years since his arrival created such a stir. Along the way, K.P., who has been named a Sagamore of the Wabash, has enjoyed remarkable successes with his artwork. It’s been exhibited in more than 25 countries and at the Smithsonian in Washington DC.


Some fun facts:

  • Before the building of gurdwaras, local Sikhs usually worshipped in private homes. K.P. is a member of the Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis, which worships at Gurdwara Sahib, a temple built in 1999 on Southeastern Avenue near Acton. In 2008, Gov. Mitch Daniels visited the Sikh temple, praised the growth of the Sikh community in Indiana, and said, "May it multiply ... and as it does, we will become a stronger state."
  • Sikhs believe in one God (Hindus worship  to  multiple deities) and worship on Sundays. People entering a gurdwara remove their shoes and cover their heads with hats, scarves, caps or turbans. All members of Sikhism have the surname Singh. The head priest at Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis is Pritam Singh.
  • Most accounts indicate there are nearly 30 million Sikhs around the world, with about one million in the U.S. and Canada. They have been in the U.S. for more than 100 years, initially settling in California as farmers. Sikhs have a particularly strong presence in the Punjab state in India.
  • Over the years, K.P. has done pen-and-ink drawings of a vast range of Hoosier houses of worship. His book includes his artwork depicting the historic St. John’s Catholic Church in downtown Indy and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on the Northside, for example.


History Mystery question


A former governor of Indiana served as the U.S. ambassador to a small Asian nation in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Question: Name the former governor and the Asian nation where he represented the U.S. in the diplomatic corps.


The call-in number for the correct answer is (317) 788-3314, and the prize is a pair of tickets to the Children's Museum, courtesy of the ICVA. The station requests that you not try to call in to win if you have won a prize on any WICR program within the last two months. Of course, we always do welcome general questions into the show!




Chris Gahl.Our Roadtripper, Chris Gahl of the ICVA, logs almost as many airplane miles as George Clooney in Up In the Air. (Of course, our intrepid Roadtripper is a far more stand-up guy than is the Clooney character.) How are new security guidelines affecting air travel these days? Just how much do you have to take off, and what about those full-body scanners? What are some tips for getting in and out of the airport in a smooth and calm manner? Any trips on parking, or good transit options? Tune in this Saturday to hear Chris's report!


Your friends in Hoosierdom,

Nelson Price, host and creative director

Molly Armstrong Head, producer, (317) 927-9101

Richard Sullivan, tech and web director    

Garry Chilluffo, online editor

Dan Ripley's Antique HelperSkip Sauvain, Realtor

Lucas OilStory Inn

Please tell our sponsors that you appreciate their support:
Antique Helper, Skip Sauvain of Sycamore Group Realtors, Lucas Oil and Story Inn.


Acknowledgments to Print Resources, Indianapolis Marion County Public Library, Monomedia Inc., Indiana Humanities Council, Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association, WICR-FM, Fraizer Designs, Drew Pastorek, and many other individuals and organizations. We are an independently produced program and are self-supporting through sponsorships and through individual tax-deductible contributions through the Indiana Humanities Council. Visit our website to learn more.


Hoosier History Live! celebrates two years on the air


Please join us at the Morris-Butler House, 1204 N. Park Avenue in Indianapolis, on Friday, Feb. 5, from 5 to 9 p.m., as we celebrate our two years on the air, as well as the launch of our new website with expanded audio! Historic Landmarks of Indiana logo.Special opportunity for this soirée: After 6 p.m. you'll also have the chance to meet and greet the artists from the Hoosier Salon, who will be exhibiting downstairs in the Morris-Butler House. All a part of First Friday, of course!


We thank Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana for hosting. And do please RSVP to info@historiclandmarks.org.


Upcoming show

High school hoops’ 100 years


On the heels of our 100th show, the sport intertwined with Indiana culture is about to celebrate a centennial. The high school basketball season will culminate with the 100th state tournament, the perfect opportunity for Hoosier History Live! to explore the chaotic and colorful early years of hoops here. With the "100 Years in 100 Days" celebration of Hoosier Hysteria under way – it will culminate with a parade in downtown Indy in March – Nelson will be joined in studio by Chris May, executive director of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in New Castle and a Hall of Famer: Ralph Taylor, an outstanding player for Washington High School’s state champion team of 1965. (Ralph went on to star at Purdue, leading the Boilermakers to a Big Ten championship in 1969.)


Basketball and shoes.Ralph, Chris and Nelson will explore the first basketball game ever played in Indiana. (The game in 1894, the subject of one of our History Mystery questions awhile back, was played at the Crawfordsville YMCA.) We also will explore the tumultuous early days of the state tournament; the first, in 1911, came down to arch-rival teams from Crawfordsville and Lebanon. According to some accounts, the Crawfordsville players were in agony during the first half because of sabotage. Their jock straps had been saturated with Dr. Sloan’s Liniment.  


Hoops enthusiasts know basketball wasn’t invented by a Hoosier; that distinction goes to Dr. James Naismith of Massachusetts, who used peach baskets. Even Naismith, though, identified the Hoosier state as ideal for the sport. Chris and Ralph will share details of the "100 Years in 100 Days" hoopla, which will involve a traveling exhibit put together with the help of the Basketball Hall of Fame – that will visit high schools and towns across Indiana; the centennial celebrations are being organized by the Indiana High School Athletic Association.


Fun facts: Today, Ralph is an Indy-based international resource adviser and president of the Hall of Fame’s board. Chris, a former radio sportscaster, was not on the team during his days at Rushville High School; at 5-feet-6, he has found other ways to be immersed in the sport he loves.


Visit our website!


Our newly revamped website is chock-full of Hoosier history, including details of past and upcoming Hoosier History Live! shows. We are gradually adding a richer audio section with full-length shows for your listening pleasure. Recently added::


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