The Saint, the Fanatic and the Miracle – Indian Currents Editorial

Learn From the Mother, The Saint, the Fanatic and the Miracle – Dr Suresh Mathew Chief Editor

Mother Teresa is no idol with feet of clay. No amount of mudslinging or badmouthing can belittle the ‘saint of the gutters’ who spent half-a-century of her life for the poor and marginalised people across the globe. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat’s comment that the Mother’s services to the poor had been motivated by a desire to convert them to Christianity has not caused even a scratch on her saintly image.  The world has recognized her with Nobel Prize for “bringing help to suffering humanity.” On the other hand, the RSS chief exposed the Hindutva mindset and prejudice against Christianity. It bared the anti-Christian venom being injected into the secular psych of the nation.  

Mohan Bhagwat and his ilk would do well if they take pain to read what Navin Chawla, the official biographer of Mother Teresa, said about her vision of life. Asked whether she converted people, she had replied: “I do convert, but convert them to be a better Hindu, better Muslim, better Catholic and better Sikh. Once you have found Him, it is up to you to do what you want. Conversion is not my work.” Mr Chawla has vouched that when inmates in the house of Missionaries of Charity died, the Mother had ensured that their last rites were conducted as per the religious beliefs of the deceased. Do Mr. Bhagwat and his cohorts need any more proof for the diversity of religion practiced in the Houses of Mother Teresa?

The vicious criticism of Blessed Teresa and her work is an attack on the poor and the abandoned for whom the former was a messiah. She took care of the sick with passion; she cleansed them with zeal; she fed with altruistic feelings. In all her activities, she was driven by the love of God; she saw God in each one of those she took care of. If the jaundiced eyes of Bhagwat and his followers see conversion in these acts of self-sacrifice, they have none else but themselves to blame. They are looking for excuses for works they could not do; neither they can do what the Mother did with a spirit of self-abnegation.

The timing of Bhagwat’s fulmination is equally important. It came on the eve of Parliament session. The Sangh Parivar did it on the eve of last session too. They want to divert the attention of the law-makers with emotive issues so that matters relevant to common people are sidelined. The Modi government is under attack from all quarters, including its allies, for its failure to fulfil the poll promises made last year. In the last Parliament session, much of its precious time was wasted with the Opposition and the ruling party members indulging in war of words over ghar vapsi and the insinuations of the likes of Sakshi Maharaj and Niranjan Jyoti. This time around, it was apparently Bhagwat’s turn to raise another controversial issue to divert the attention of the people and the Parliament. But, people have become wiser; the leaders better see the writing on the wall.

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