GURUGRAM: There’s a parish in Gurugram that’s like a mini India, a home to people from across the country. It’s a parish that’s a microcosm of Gurugram itself, for this city is home to many communities, people who have migrated from all corners to make a new life for themselves.
To reflect the melting pot that is Gurugram, Church of Immaculate Conception came up with the ‘One Nation, One Love’ campaign, which culminated during Independence Day celebrations on Wednesday, when the faithful braved muggy conditions to congregate at this house of worship in .

Over the last few weekends, after every mass, men, women and children of the parish have been handed coloured cards on which they can share prayers, for their families, state and country. These prayers were read out in church on the eve of Independence Day, and on the morning of August 15, all cards were joined in such a way as to give shape to the map of India, conveying strength in unity.

The states were split into six regions (central, east, north, northeast, south, west), and each region was colour coded, so that all the hues of a rainbow were displayed on the map. The seventh colour, incidentally, was red. “The colour red completes the rainbow, just like the love of God completes us,” articulated a member of the parish.

Altogether, some 250 parishioners returned cards with handwritten prayers for the wellbeing of their loved ones, and for peace and harmony in the land. From as simple a wish as for a sibling (inscribed, in all probability, by a child) to prayers for those affected by floods this season, here were invocations that were tender and powerful.

Many prayed for a more tolerant India. They thought of the welfare of the farmers (and hoped for a happy harvest), and they prayed for good governance and women’s safety. And while an occasion like Independence Day always brings people together, ‘One Nation, One Love’ did more than that. It gave the gathered, who numbered around 700-800, a sense of belonging and shared solace.

Amid drumbeats and songs, the Kanhai church played gracious host to a celebration of the wondrous diversity that is India, a nation that has flourished only because it has allowed its people to live and let live. It’s this gift of generous acceptance, everyone agreed, that can help guide her into calmer waters.

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