Tag Archives: Mother Teresa

Jagdish Bhagwati Questions Bogey of Christians Attacks

A recent opinion piece by Julio Ribeiro, the much-admired scourge of Khalistainis, complains plaintively that he is on “a hit list” today from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) because he is a Christian. Similar alarmist views on Christianity are common in India today, simply because of the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the decimation of the Congress by the BJP.

They are being spread by church leaders; for example Catholic Archbishop Anil Couto is reported to have even celebrated the defeat of BJP in the recent Delhi elections as if a calamity for Christians had been averted. But they are so ridiculous and libelous to the prime minister, and even the BJP generally, that they must be exposed forcefully as such.

Before I do that, let me establish my credentials concerning the issue at hand. I come from a family that is impressively pro-Indian-minorities. My wife, Padma Desai, has converted to Christianity (in a moving ceremony described by her in her memoirs, Breaking Out, published by Penguin/Viking in India and MIT Press in the US). Two of my nephews have married Christians: one is from Mumbai and is a multiple-award-winning psychiatrist practising in London and periodically in Mumbai, whereas the other is a Syrian Christian from Kerala. Another niece is married to a Parsi (who, of course, belongs to a still smaller, and equally beloved minority as Christians in India); and yet another almost married a Muslim young man. My only daughter’s significant other for years was a Christian and indeed an American-Indian on his mother’s side.

Abid Husain, my closest friend of over 40 years, whom I met in Turkey when we were both working there, was one of India’s most distinguished reformers and a pioneer in community development programmes. He was a Muslim and had married a brilliant Parsi intellectual. Indeed, the other equally close friend for over half a century has been former prime minister Manmohan Singh, a devout Sikh (yet another minority much loved in India except for the awfully heinous massacre, indeed a pogrom, of the Sikhs in Delhi by some Congress party men in 1984 after prime minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two Sikh bodyguards).

Most of all, I went to St. Xavier’s High School in Bombay. I got excellent education there, and I expressed my sentimental bond with the school when I was chosen recently to receive the coveted Xavier Ratna award. On a lighter side, with discipline a high point, we used to joke how strict the school was because they even had a guy nailed to the wall.

So, if there was anything to the Christian fears today, I should be the first to join the protests. But the truth is that these fears are totally groundless and are, at best, a product of a fevered imagination.

First, we now know from the admirable investigative report in Firstpost (Crying Wolf: The Narrative of the ‘Delhi church attacks’ flies in the face of facts, 17 February) by Rupa Subramanya that there is simply no evidence for the six alleged attacks on Christian churches and one Christian school. This turns out to be a case of the “monkey say, monkey repeat” phenomenon that converts false allegation into a fact.

Second, Ribeiro resents the remark of Mohan Bhagwat of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh that Mother Teresa was interested in conversions to Christianity, not just in the welfare (as distinct from the spiritual salvation) of her flock. But surely, Christians do believe in conversion, as do Muslims; does Ribeiro deny that? Again, what is sauce for the goose must be sauce for the gander. If Christians can convert non-Christians to their faith, what is wrong with Hindus doing the same? In fact, being a religion that does not normally convert, only a minuscule number of Hindus will do this whereas a far higher proportion of Christians and Muslims will.

Moreover, Ribeiro is offended that Mother Teresa is not respected as a saint by Bhagwat. But he is clearly ignorant of the fact that Mother Teresa may have won the Nobel Peace Prize but many doubt her bona fides, including the late Christopher Hitchens whose scathing critique of her was not the only dissenting voice on her, as recently recounted by the Washington Post reporter Adam Taylor (Why, to many critics, Mother Teresa is still no saint, 25 February). Since Hitchens followed this with a scathing attack on Hillary Clinton (an icon mostly to herself), I must confess that when he was coming out of a television debate on Hillary Clinton and I was going in to do a debate of my own, I could not resist telling him: Christopher, you did not say that Hillary Clinton was no Mother Teresa

Read more at: http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/lNKcsuArsta4yushnlQ9cI/Jagdish-Bhagwati–The-false-alarm-over-Christians-in-India.html?utm_source=copy

Denying Mother Theresa’s Mission in India

Sri Mohan Bhagwat of RSS addressed a function in village Bajhera, 8 kilometers from Bharatpur in Rajasthan where he inaugurated ‘Mahila Sadan’ and ‘Sishu Bal Grah’ an NGO for helpless women and children. Speaking on the concept of service in Bharat, he talked about how service is to be done expecting nothing in return . He lauded the service of the volunteers of Mahila Sadan & Sishu Bal Grah who were delivering yeomen service. He compared this with the Christian missionaries like Mother Theresa whose agenda of service has a religious mission. Read full text

This was enough to set the English TV channels questioning the “secular” credentials of Bhagwat. After all, how can one question on the service of Mother Theresa – they said ?

But, the point that most people miss is that Theresa herself was very clear about her mission. It is the gullible convent educated Hindus who  distilled the religious overtones of her work and broadcasted to the other Hindus that her service was without any religious goals.  In fact this is an insult to Mother Theresa herself !  Her life was devoted for spreading the message of Christ and denying her that objective is denying the purpose for which she lived.  The following interview clearly shows the true nature of her work which from her perspective was indeed to spread the message of Jesus to the whole of India.

This is an excerpt of one of the last interviews with Mother Teresa conducted by Edward W. Desmond in 1989 for Time magazine. Excerpts from the interview appeared in Time magazine and the full text of the interview appeared in The National Catholic Register

Time: What’s your greatest hope here in India?

Mother Teresa: To give Jesus to all.

Time: But you do not evangelize in the conventional sense of the term.

Mother Teresa: I’m evangelizing by my works of love.

Time: Is that the best way?

Mother Teresa: For us, yes. For somebody else, something else. I’m evangelizing the way God wants me to. Jesus said go and preach to all the nations. We are now in so many nations preaching the Gospel by our works of love. “By the love that you have for one another will they know you are my disciples.” That’s the preaching that we are doing, and I think that is more real.

Full Interview


Few More links

 Huffington Post Review on Mother Teresa

First Post on Mohan Bhagwat and Mother Teresa

Christopher Hitchins Video on Teresa

Mother Teresa and Bhopal Tragedy

Theresa fasting for Dalit Christian Reservation

Fanatic, Fraudulent Theresa