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Updated: August 26, 2013 15:07 IST

The Mother Teresa her critics choose to ignore

Navin B. Chawla
Comment (62)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
The Hindu

There can be no better reply to muckrakers than her life and her work

A few months ago, a couple of researchers in Canada produced a report entirely critical of Mother Teresa and her work, which predictably found its way into the media. Some of the issues they raised were her “questionable” contacts with dodgy characters such as the Haitian dictator, Jean-Claude Duvalier, her overly dogmatic views on contraception, abortion and divorce, and that she offered rudimentary medical care to the sick and dying in her hospices, instead of setting up a proper hospital in Kolkata. Here, there was a cruel twist to the tale — that when she herself fell ill, she benefited from the best medical attention on offer.

Putting down roots

Before I answer these accusations, let me encapsulate her life and her work. She was only 18 when she was convinced that her life’s vocation lay in her becoming a missionary in far-off India: Skopje, where she was born on August 26, 1910, was so far removed from Bengal that, barring a few Yugoslav Jesuits who fired her young imagination, no one in the small Catholic community would even have known where India lay. Yet, the early seeds of her faith, determination and compassion, nurtured by her widowed mother, impelled her to leave her close-knit family, first for Ireland to join the Loreto Order of teaching nuns, (and also to learn some English), and then by boat to faraway Calcutta, which she would grow to love so much that it would become indistinguishable with her own name. She lived and worked as a Loreto nun for close to 20 years before her true calling once again propelled her to find a way to the street, not as a lay woman but continuing to be an ordained nun. The Vatican itself gave her permission, fantastically for the first time in Church history, to step outside her secure convent into a huge and bewildering city. In 1948, Calcutta’s pavements were swarming with teeming millions uprooted by Partition, who now joined the hapless sufferers of the Great Bengal Famine of 1942-43. Here stepped in a 38-year-old nun, now dressed not in the recognisable nun’s habit, but a sari similar to what the municipal sweepresses wore, with no companion, no helper and no money.

Confronted with disease, destitution and death all around her at a time (1948) when there was hardly any health-care service to speak of, she did what was to become her hallmark. Finding a man dying in the street, she took him to a public hospital, which refused to admit him, precisely on the grounds that since he was about to die, they would not waste a hospital bed on a life they said they could not save! It was only when she sat before the hospital in a dharna that they relented. The man died a few hours later. It was at this point that she began her search for a place where she could take those people whom hospitals refused; where she could nurse them — she had some medical training — and they could at least die being comforted and with some dignity. She begged various authorities and finally, an officer in the Calcutta Municipality gave her a pilgrims’ hall adjacent to the Kalighat temple, where she requested the police and municipal authorities to bring her all and any of those dying whom the hospitals refused.

I have been so many times to this hospice at Kalighat, that I did not need to ask Mother Teresa why she had not set up a hospital instead, because I knew that a hospital would tie down all her Sisters to a single establishment, and then who would care for those who fell by the wayside? The infant abandoned on a street, the sick and elderly turned out of their homes, often enough by their own families, the leprosy sufferers or AIDS patients that no one wanted to even go near — who would look after them? How many of us actually do anything about the desperately poor we see on the streets? We only have to look within us to know that those who are quick to criticise Mother Teresa and her mission, are unable or unwilling to do anything to help with their own hands.

Although staunchly and devoutly Catholic, she reached out to people of all denominations irrespective of their faith, or even the lack of it. She did not believe that conversion was her work. That was god’s work, she said. So while she lifted the abandoned baby off a street full of prowling dogs for the sanctuary of her Shishu Bhawan, she would never convert her, because that child would probably be adopted into a nice Hindu household, and such a conversion would then have been a cardinal sin which she would never commit. That is why people of all faiths were so accepting of this diminutive Catholic nun. In my 23 years of close association with her, she never once whispered that perhaps her religion was superior to mine, or through it lay a shorter route to the Divine. Which is also why, when I asked Jyoti Basu, that redoubtable leader of West Bengal, what he, an atheist and communist, could possibly have in common with Mother Teresa for whom god was everything, he replied simply that “we both share a love for the poor.”

Her hospitalisation

In the course of researching my biography on Mother Teresa, I asked her why she took money from dodgy characters like Duvalier. Her answer was concise. In charity, she said, everyone had a right to give. How was this different from thousands of people who each day feed the poor? “I have no right to judge them, God alone has that right.” And again, “I accept no salary, no grant, no government or church funds, nothing. I do not ask for money. But people have a right to give.”

Meanwhile, I researched the Duvalier story. She had set up a small mission in Port-au-Prince, one of the world’s most desperately poor places. A day after Mother Teresa visited and left, Duvalier’s daughter-in-law went to Mother Teresa’s mission and donated 1,000 dollars. It was not, as was reported, a million dollars, but Mother Teresa’s reply would still have been the same: if that gives peace to the giver, so be it.

Let me now illustrate a true story of one of Mother Teresa’s actual hospitalisations. In 1994, Mother Teresa fell ill in Delhi when she had come to receive an award. She developed high fever and possibly gastro-enteritis. Against her will (“I will be all right by tomorrow”), I rushed her to a large, public hospital, where she was hospitalised for over a week. I stood vigil. She was known to have a cardiac history, and it was up to the cardiology department or the gastro department to “take charge.” The sad truth is that no one wanted to, frankly scared she might die on their hands. She sensed this too, pleading with me to take her back to her beloved Kolkata. But she could not possibly have been moved. In those days when there were no mobile phones, the switchboard at the hospital was jammed with enquiries. I not only took almost daily calls from Rashtrapati Bhavan and the Prime Minister’s Office, but also from the White House, the Vatican, and chancelleries all over Europe. Ambassadors called frequently. Prime Minister Narasimha Rao offered her treatment anywhere in the world. Finally, not quite recovered in my view, her Sisters took her back to Kolkata. I have to say that the cardiac team was relieved to discharge her! There are other cases of her hospital treatments that I am aware of. If only the Canadian research team had known the reality about her hospitalisations, perhaps they would not have been so uncharitable.

At the Vatican

In her lifetime, Mother Teresa was sometimes described as a “religious imperialist,” a handmaiden of the Church’s doctrinaire policies on abortion and birth control. These were indeed her views and she was undeterred by such criticism. Yet, she gently but unmistakably left her imprint on the heart of the Vatican itself. Finding in Pope John Paul II a kindred spirit, she cajoled him into literally and metaphorically opening a small door to set up a tiny soup kitchen adjacent to the Pope’s grand audience chamber. At 6 p.m. each day, Rome’s homeless and hungry continue to be fed by Mother Teresa’s Sisters, just a few metres away from the grand Basilica of St. Peter’s. At a stroke, this frail nun, indisputably the world’s most decorated person, helped to demystify the Vatican’s aura of wealth and privilege, serving a daily reminder to the Vatican where its true vocation lay.

(Navin B. Chawla is a former chief election commissioner of India and biographer of Mother Teresa’s.)


The miracle that was Mother TeresaAugust 26, 2011

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I have been several times to missionaries of charity at kolkata. Its a matter of condemnation to raise trivial controversies over mother's life and work. Every biased allegations over her life and work stamds too diminutive before the colossalness of her work. I would like to remind the distracted canadian intellectuals that mother's life was an epitome of restraint and austerity. She lived in a tiny room with no worldy goods. The kitchen above her room emanated heat, making her tiny dwelling uncomfortable for a normal human, but she refused an electric fan. Every concious citizen of world would admire the humane nature of her work and institution. Criticising mother have no intellectual logic than indicating the meanness and ill intentioned perversness of the canadian researchers.

from:  Sachin Singh
Posted on: Aug 28, 2013 at 12:22 IST

Very well written article

from:  NK BAJWA
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 23:07 IST

“we both share a love for the poor.” - yes keep poor poor, love for poor
would be eternal.

from:  madhu
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 22:21 IST

If people want to find faults, they can find anywhere. Saints, meanwhile, do their own work and disappear from the world leaving only the love.

from:  Krishna
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 14:14 IST

Thanks for Navin B Chawla for giving a such an article

from:  Clyton
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 09:03 IST

Well written

from:  Nripinder
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 04:00 IST

Why is Navin Chawla implying that Mother Teresa was keen to go to
'public hospitals'? She re-used needles for her residents in Kalighat
but she herself demanded the best and costliest treatment possible. In
Calcutta she went to the Woodlands and Belle Vue Clinics (repeatedly)
but that is not all. She had treatments in Gemelli Hospital in Rome,
and also at the Scripps Clinic In La Jolla, California, both preserves
of the very rich.
Teresa fascination is a sad symptom of Indians' love of corruption
and of their colonised minds.

from:  Aroup Chatterjee
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 03:13 IST

To see anything in B&W does not excercise intellectual faculty. A traditional society like India fears the grey and coccoons itself from such nuiances. It is easy to maintain order in a large and diverse population as evidenced by numerous handful occupiers in the last 1000 years.
Not surprisingly the large majority of responses have cared not to look into the contents of a research article published in a respectable journal. They merrily confuse opinion pieces from media as facts.
@Kurt has provided the most objective response to an opinion without going to the other extreme.
If I may add to corroborate the aspect of media projection of Mother Theresa, then a comparison with Ramakrishna Paramhansa Mission providing charitable help and schooling in the same geographical location is worth looking into. One hardly hears anything about it.

I pose a rhetorical question:
Would a Muslim or Hindu instead of a foreign born Catholic qualify for this media and mass veneration?

from:  Anamaendra Bharati
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 02:36 IST

Colonist always had religious reasons to come to India. But the best
thing that happened to India was to have Mother Teresa which was like
Hope fairy in Pandora Box.

from:  senthil
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 01:13 IST

Critics exist for every good. Whatever it was she was the image of God.

from:  Ashok
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 00:40 IST


"Use logic and use evidence." - That's a fallacy because by that
definition you will lose out any and all emotions that can easily be
defied by logic.

Mother Teresa did multitude of things that marks her selflessness. To
those who feel worthy of criticizing her, lets begin by leaving your
convenient abode to settle down in a destitute society as she did.

from:  Albert Mendonca
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 00:22 IST

The canadian study on Mother Teresa is the most unkindest cut of
Thank you Mr. Chawla for being so forthright.

from:  Sunny Mathew
Posted on: Aug 27, 2013 at 00:19 IST

I thank Navin Chawla (a Hindu by name) and the biographer of Mother
Teresa for his article published in your paper on her birthday which
clearly shows the extent to which she had gone in her long stay in
Kolkata to tend to the "least of my brethren" as what was preached by
Jesus Christ, thereby vindicating what ill has been said about her in
Canada. Also she showed little or no distinction among religions, which
is necessary in a multi-religious country like India.

from:  Hugh Vas
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 23:23 IST

Mother Teresa's life is full of personal sacrifices for the benefits of
deprive section of society.She taught poor children in slums under open
sky and using soil as blackboard and found happiness among those people
who were treated as untouchables in the Indian society.Even if she had
contacted some dodgy characters she can not be criticized because she
did that for gathering resources for the help of poor so such criticism
is unjustified...

from:  anoop kumar bhardwaj
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 22:59 IST

It has been said...
"Beauty lies in the eyes of beholder"
"When we speak bad about others, our mouth is filled with bad words ..first"
All said and done ...Mother Teresa's hard work and compassion towards poor cannot be judged by simply numbers and data...those who have data to prove otherwise should try the work even for a day with same compassion...
LET ONE PERSON SHOULD CRITICIZE WHO has done even fraction of her work

from:  Nishikant
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 22:52 IST

We shouldn't forget the fact that "4 fingers are indirectly pointing us when we point one "
Mother Theresa is an angel to have walked down to earth and I sincerely believe we don't stand a chance to question the authenticity and integrity of her work .
In a country like India where a large sect of people are more concerned about looting someone to earn a buck, her service to the downtrodden has no parallel

from:  Pavan
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 21:33 IST

Thanks Mr. Navin B. Chawla for such a beautiful article. It is really heart touching and also increased my knowledge about Mother Teresa.

from:  Sanjay Sharma
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 20:39 IST

It is difficult to find fault with such a life, as lived by mother Teresa. So, true many westerners make the cardinal mistakes of judging without knowing or having lived in India. Hope they could do even 5% of what she did. Truely, she was a godly women par excellence!

from:  Robin Temsu
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 20:38 IST

It is sad that India is the only country that prides in its poor and markets them to the western world to attract funding in one form or the other when all the while letting thugs and crooks loot the country with crores of rupees.

Today, according to an international report, $1 billion dollars comes to the country to the various NGOs with 95% of them going to NGO associated with religious minorities and in the process making many self-styled priests crorepatis.

As a country we are in a real sad state

from:  Gopinath Rajee
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 20:29 IST

Just as Swami Vivekananda faced criticism from Muzamdar, Mother Teresa has to receive criticisms - all to prove to the Universe "Mother Teresa" needs no paraphernalia to prove that" "She is a Saint"!-

Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 18:42 IST

The article still does not shed light on why she had continued to let the poor suffer in
buildings with poor care while she clearly had more donations to build better facilities for
them. I think that was the main criticism the article posted.

from:  anne
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 18:00 IST

Mother Theresa never publicised the amount of money she received as donations and how she spent them.

from:  seetharaman
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 17:53 IST

Charity and accountability do not go together. The article is high on emotion, and very less in content. Actually, I am surprised that Mr. Navin Chawla wrote this article (and the biography), whose own credentials are controversial.

from:  subramaniam
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 17:05 IST

"Some people should never be questioned...especially Mother Teresa"

Are you a german in Nazi Germany?
Everything on this planet should be questioned. Nothing should be left to prejudice.

from:  Pranjal
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 16:33 IST

Mr Navin Chawla. There is Baba Amte who is doing great work in Anandwan.
He started from scratch. His motto "Work Builds; Charity Destroys" is
his sublime philosophy. His is a philosophy in action. He would say,
"Give them a Chance not Charity." This is from his web site Please
write about Baba Amte.

from:  gajanan
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 16:29 IST

For those who criticize Mother Teresa, they may have reasons to do that, but no one can deny her humanitarian contribution to the mankind especially to poor and diseased people of Kolkata.
And here, Mr.Chawla rightly taken the stand for the Mother Teresa. The one thing, which I liked the most, is that the author has not been defensive in whole article. He has only presented the facts about her and also her way of thinking towards the mankind. Rest is left over to the reader to interpret.
And interpretation is obvious to everyone,left alone the crtics of Mother Teresa.

from:  Piyush Shukla
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 16:13 IST

Mother is the doyen of social service. She will always remain in our
hearts. Glad she left abode. Had she heard these comments, she would
have given the smile back to these critics which is blessing in

Last month when I had been to Gaya to offer rituals for my mother, I
also offered Mother Teresa's Pind Pradhan for that I felt she is the
one who showed us the 'what and the how of social service.'
Rest in peace Mother.

from:  Prashanth Suravajhala
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 14:15 IST

When you are a Public figure, critics wait at your door step. As Nobody
is perfect, there may be some truth in findings. But what matter most
was her service and love which transformed the life of many and inspired

from:  Ramesh Sivashanmugham
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 14:09 IST

we should not let this researchers claim based on secondary data stain the beautiful while flower of peace that bloomed in Kolkata..........thank you Mr. Chawla for the beautiful portrayal of Mother Teresas life and her works.

from:  sukanya sharma
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 13:37 IST

thanks you for this article for providing the other perspective.
Whatever critics say, it is worth knowing the both sides of the story.

from:  pradeep
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 13:08 IST

Praise the lord

from:  Edwin
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 12:41 IST

a coin has two face and this is universal truth that if someone has
done kindred work for a community or society on the base of humanity
without being biased for a specific society, there is always path for
throne and needled stone for that person.
there is only one religion and that is humanity in this heart
is full of respect for my mother Teresa till my last breathe
irrespective of her cruel critics.

from:  shashi shekhar
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 12:20 IST

It is so sad, if not ironic of us Indians to speak up against someone like Mother Teresa. Regardless of her achievements, her fame or popularity, you can call it whatever you want, she was a good person with a good heart. True, there may be institutions that are giving better service than what she gave, but that doesn't mean her contributions to society doesn't account for naught. In fact, I am bemused at this lack of sensitivity by some of the readers where they have blatantly expressed their narrow-minded or timid views over this. Coming to what is 'so so' critical about this article, take it as a faint reminder that real happiness lives in helping and serving people, not in debating about how great or not so great she was. We would do well to remember her own quote 'If you judge people, you will have no time to love.'

from:  bharath
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 12:16 IST

Any one born as human-being will definitely have shortcomings and biases. Understandably, Mother Teresa was no exception. She had her share of strengths and weaknesses.

However, her goodness, love for the poor and suffering, as well devotion to the welfare of others less fortunate was overwhelming.

We need to give credit to such soul and celebrate their life and sustain their mission.

from:  Dr. Som P pudasaini
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 12:02 IST

As a womon I salute mother teresa as she served as real mother to poor. whatever may be the critics she lives still in everyone's heart.

from:  Shobhana Samith
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 11:53 IST

Critics of Mother Teresa never understood the call & the works she was
doing. Their perspectives are outlandish, biased, wishful and utterly
selfish. Credibility of those critics is dubious. Views are born out
their power of money, position, security. Imposing views are the
creation of their one mindset and circumstances. Unable to see the
other side of humanness. The lives of the greatest men and women on
earth are distinct precisely because of their ability to identify the
life-calling, work and contribution to the world. Let the visible life
speak for itself first. Critics are judges of their own choice.

from:  Pramod Ekka
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 11:49 IST

To all those who have criticized the efforts of Mother Teresa,and think
that this is an extremely irrelevant article please introspect within
themselves and ponder whether they even possess 1% of what Mother
Carry,its very easy to criticize someone without knowing the veracity
of the issue.

Mother Teresa will and always be remembered for her altruistic
activities,for her incessant love for poor,destitute and helpless.She
will always be a Godly figure in human form which India rather world
was blessed. Embracing some Random researched articles' claim without
using one's own brain is absolutely foolishness.So, my sincere request
clear your thoughts and pray for her,let her immortal soul rest in
peace,if nothing,at least we can pay tribute by remembering her on her
birthday .

from:  Rituraj
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 11:47 IST

Why bring the argument to an emotional level. As a right to food campaigner and someone who helps conduct nationwide surveys, I can safely say that Mother Teresa's media attention and Nobel was not deserved. the condition of her small charity is terrible housing too few people.

The media attention should be on social activists who leave all wealth and actively do emperical research on the poor to find public policy on the poor.

Use logic and use evidence. Sentiments have no place here

from:  Pranjal
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 11:47 IST

What Mother Teresa thought of divorce or abortion or Duvalier did not
interfere with her charity work ,,,so why should anyone dwell on them.
Mother Teresa's name is associated with the orphaned children and poor &
sick people whom she along with her Sisters nursed till death. And it
will always remain so. We all have our personal views on
divorce/abortions but are our deeds as crystal clear as hers.

from:  Rejani
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 11:44 IST

I do not understand this statement that a few people make "there are
others too who are doing the same job". Yes, others might also be
doing the same job and yes they may be doing it on a bigger scale and
in a better way, but that does not mean we should not appreciate a
good job(small or big). I am a devout Hindu, I respect the selfless
work done by the RSS and I also respect the work done by Mother
Teresa. If people think the RSS or other organizations are not given
their due recognition (even I think so) then we should probably start
off an online campaign to apprise people about it, it is not
impossible in this age of internet, rather than throwing muck at other
selfless deeds.

from:  Krishna
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 11:35 IST

Its disheartening to see the few comments which belittles the work done
by this great women... please understand just this one thing, whatever
she has done, she did it from utmost love for fellow human beings
without expecting anything back from this world. Please do not compare
and please do not just read some stupid reports, articles, write ups and
throw them off in public like this. Respect, understand and cherish the
sacrifice the lady has made for our country.

from:  Ananthan
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 11:19 IST

"...I did not need to ask Mother Teresa why she had not set up a hospital instead, because I knew that a hospital would tie down all her Sisters to a single establishment, and then who would care for those who fell by the wayside..."

That doesn't make sense. You fail to make a convincing case as to why the Missionaries will not set up a properly equipped hospital of their own. One more important question that begs to be asked is "Where is the money going?"

from:  Agnel
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 11:10 IST

I wish such a spontaneous publication by The Hindu and such analytical
rebuttal by an informed and experienced person also had taken place when
one Mr. Jeffry Kirpal (from the school of Prof. Wendy Doniger) had
submitted his PhD thesis on the life of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. Time
and again the secularism in India is gaining a polarised defenition,
perception, execution and propagation. I wish things change atleast
during my lifetime.

from:  Dr. Ramanathan
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 11:09 IST

A study conducted by Canadian researchers questions Mother Teresa´s views on the poor´s suffering, the dubious management of money by the Missionaries of Charity, and contends the humanitarian image of Mother Teresa is a media-orchestrated “myth”.The study was published on-line on January 15, 2013 in the Journal “Studies in Religion/Science.
The study is based on the analysis of 287 documents covering 96% of the literature on the life and work of Mother Teresa. The report concludes that the nun´s sacred image and the events leading to her beatification were the result of a well-orchestrated and effective media campaign.
The study points out that Mother Teresa organised 517 missions for poor and sick people in over 100 countries. The researchers indicate the missions have been described as “homes for the dying” by doctors who visited several of these institutions in Kolkata. According to the study “the doctors observed a significant lack of hygiene, even unfit conditions, as well as a shortage of actual care, inadequate food, and no painkillers.”
Since the foundation created by Mother Teresa collected hundreds of millions of dollars, the authors of the study allege that the problem was not caused by lack of funds. They assert that the situation was due to to the nun´s rather unique conception of suffering and death: “There is something beautiful in seeing the poor accept their lot, to suffer it like Christ´s Passion. The world gains much from their suffering.”
Another aspect of the report deals with Mother Teresa´s management of millions of dollars collected by her foundation. The researchers contend the nun was generous dispensing blessings and prayers, but very tight-fisted with her foundation´s millions when it came to give assistance to those in distress. During numerous floods in India, Mother Teresa presented numerous prayers and medallions of the Virgin Mary to the survivors, but no direct monetary support.
One may really ask where the millions of dollars for the poorest of the poor have gone?
The authors of the study argue that the media overstated Mother Teresa´s image and succeeded in building an aura of unequivocal holiness and unlimited goodness which led her to win the Nobel Peace Prize and further beatification by the Catholic Church in an abbreviated process through the attribution of an alleged miracle. It was the healing of an Indian woman who had been suffering from intense abdominal pain caused by an ovarian cyst.
If the extraordinary image of Mother Teresa conveyed in the collective imagination has encouraged humanitarian initiatives that are genuinely engaged with those crushed by poverty, one can only rejoice. It is likely that she has inspired many humanitarian workers whose actions have truly relieved the suffering of the destitute and addressed the causes of poverty and isolation without being extolled by the media. Nevertheless, the media coverage of Mother Teresa could have been more rigorous.
But there is no doubt the Missionaries of Charity have done and are doing a lot for the poorest of the poor and vulnerable.

from:  kurt waschnig
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 10:20 IST

I am actually surprised the criticism of the whatever research
team.Thankyou Chawla for jotting down your experience.Although I am
Indian and christian too,I say this with shame that I know nothing about
Teresa other than what we were taught at school.I am thinking why don't
the research team live among our slums for a while.Maybe that way
they'll understand the magnitude of her work among the slums,which they
will never encounter in their country.

from:  David HKL suantak
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 09:58 IST

I am always amazed at how people can focus on the thorns of a rose bush when it is in full bloom. Mother Teresa will be loved and remembered for generations to come. I'm not so sure about those Canadian researchers though...

from:  Tony Santamaria
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 09:39 IST

extremely irrelevant article...........

from:  praful
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 09:30 IST

Mr. Chawla there are hundreds of Hindus and thousannds of Projects being run by RSS which are far better than the ones run Mother Teresa.I do not have any Personal Animosity towards Mother Teresa

from:  Ramyavaran
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 08:03 IST

Thank you Mr NAVIN B. CHAWLA for reminding us of this miracle my country has been blessed with

from:  Isaac Frank
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 07:56 IST

Thank you 'The Hindu' for unfailingly remembering the mother on her
birth anniversary every year. The writing of Mr. Navin Chawla adds
further decoration; it is wonderful.
As far the criticism of the mother's work, this single sentence in Mr.
Navin's article provides the answer. "We only have to look within us
to know that those who are quick to criticise Mother Teresa and her
mission, are unable or unwilling to do anything to help with their own
I am pleasantly surprised to read the common factor between the Mother
and the great communist leader of West Bengal, (late) Mr. Jyoti Basu.
“we both share a love for the poor.” These are the same words I once
said to a devout communist friend at the early stages our friendship.
We are very close friends in spite of vastly differing ideas on many

from:  D. Darwin Albert Raj
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 07:52 IST

Please read Christopher Hitchens account of Mother Teresa. You will find well
documented evidence of some of her less savoury acts.

I will narrate just one. When Ireland started debating the constitutional prohibition
against divorce, she raced off to Ireland to rally the faithful against divorce. A few
months later, in the American magazine, Ladies Home Journal she was asked about
her friendship with Princess Diana and also about Diana’s then impending divorce.
Of the divorce Mother Teresa said that “It is a good thing that it is over. Nobody
was happy anyhow.”

Also, reflect on the glowing praise she had of Duvalier and his wife after she was
decorated by the African dictator.

from:  David Lewis
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 07:38 IST

Unparalleled contribution. I respect her for having great respect and showing equality on others. I am feeling proud that she lived in my country India.

from:  Vignesh K
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 07:32 IST

I invite people to read Aroup Chatterjee's meticulously researched
book, "Mother Teresa: The Final Verdict". He presents unimpeachable
evidence that shows there are other service groups that have done and
continue to do quietly far more to service the poor than what Mother
Teresa ever did. The latter's purpose was mainly missionary, and the
media has projected her far beyond what the ground reality was. From
an official press release by the Université de Montréal: The myth of
altruism and generosity surrounding Mother Teresa is dispelled in a
paper by Serge Larivée and Genevieve Chenard of University of
Montreal’s Department of Psychoeducation and Carole Sénéchal of the
University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Education (Studies in
Religion/Sciences religieuses, March). The researchers conclude that
her hallowed image--which does not stand up to analysis of the facts--
was constructed---and that her beatification was orchestrated by an
effective media relations campaign.

from:  V. Vanamaliv
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 05:58 IST

Her personal effects, particularly some diary notings referring to her doubts about her
Saviour conveniently omitted.

from:  Raghuram Ekambaram
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 05:14 IST

Theek hai ji. ( I agree ).

Chawlaji , you have rightly stood up for her. It is a great pity that many icons suffer attempts on their integrity and fame after their death.

Where were these persons when the icons were alive ?

from:  Saurabh Sharma
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 05:07 IST

What else you would expect from some of the armchair researchers from Canada
(and the West in general); they have never seen real suffering and poverty in real life!

from:  Mathew Zacharias
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 04:28 IST

Thanks to the author for this much needed rebuttal of the 'Canadian researcher' claim.In today's world of lies and cover-ups, everything becomes a conspiracy theory and the media is particularly quick to sensationalize any new 'research' that would bring the high and mighty down in the eyes of the common people.
The sadistic satisfaction of seeing the famous get maligned is, admittedly, easy to fall prey to but them more importantly, people need the stories of perfect beings and a belief in the truthfulness of their hearts and causes as well.

from:  Manish Joshi
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 04:27 IST

I still did not understand what is so so critical about it.

from:  Shambhu
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 02:53 IST

What an article sir... Thanks for writing this...

from:  MS Heman
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 02:42 IST

She was truely a humantarian and angel sent for children of lesser god. Now few people are filled with so much delusion and hatred that they have begun to question the sacrifice of such saintly person.

from:  Manish
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 02:25 IST

I read the report of of the Montreal professor Sergei Lerivee, whose views completely rely upon reporting documents of another reporter Christopher Hitchens. Which completely exclude the reality of Indian Health Care and marketed professional health care which disregard the poor and compassion for them. Regarding the charity everybody say a lot of funds pour into the system but fail to realize the actual expenses and flow of charity itself. Actually except for Times of India everyone has regarded it as a speculative report and completely disregarded it.

from:  derick gannon
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 01:31 IST

Thank you, Mr. Chawla. There have been a few celebrity people in the 20th century who should never be criticized. Mother Teresa was one them.

She was essentially a Bengali first than any other identity. She wore the sari as Bengalis do, she spoke Bangala fluently, she had a Bengali temper and Bengali passion,

from:  Kalyan Singhal
Posted on: Aug 26, 2013 at 00:27 IST
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