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Saturday, January 3, 2015

In time of ‘ghar wapsi’, 3 faiths under one roof

This is a good story, pretty much like mine. I celebrate and write about all the beautiful festivals as well as commemorate the events. We need more good stories like this in India to offset the destructive extremists in India now.

Mike Ghouse
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Courtesy Times of India December 25, 2014

LUDHIANA: At a time when Ghar Wapsi programmes by Sangh affiliates have created a raging controversy over religious conversions in the country, here is a heart-warming story of a family that has not allowed faith to come in the way of true love.

Christmas has a special meaning in the home of Lavi Kalyan, 52, in charge of the Ludhiana civil hospital nursery. She is a Christian by religion who is married to a Hindu, 62-year-old lawyer Ashok Kumar Upadhyay. Their daughter Shilpa is married to Manpinder Singh Mand, a Sikh, and is now settled in Australia.

Sitting at her home in Ludhiana's Mohar Nagar, Lavi says, "We decorate our home on Diwali and keep the glitter till New Year. On Diwali, we perform all rituals according to the Hindu tradition. For us, love is above all the religions."

On Diwali, the family performs traditional Hindu rituals at Upadhyay's office at the new court complex while on Christmas, they visit the church. Their neighbours fondly address Upadhyay as Christian and Lavi as a Hindu.

Now that their daughter is married to a Sikh, Gurpurb is also the part of their list of festivals which are celebrated with gusto.

Lavi jokingly asks her son Anurag to bring home a Muslim daughter-in-law so that they have all religions under one roof. "If we are celebrating all festivals, a Muslim in the family would complete the circle. I always ask my son whether he got a girlfriend. Unfortunately he hasn't yet," she laughs.

Anurag, a first-year MBBS student at Christian Medical College in Ludhiana, seems more focused on studies for the time being.

On Christmas eve, the family had a bonfire with all their friends and family. On Christmas they give donations to needy people. "It's all about spreading love wherever you go. There is no power, which can defeat love. Different people have different opinions about different religions, but we ignore them. We would not hesitate to stay anywhere, whether it is temple, a mosque, gurdwara or church," adds Upadhyay.

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