Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu aka Saint Teresa of Calcutta aka Mother Teresa born on 26th Aug 1910, canonized on 4th Sep 2016 has been in the headlines since last few days. She is known for her missionary work for which she has received numerous praises and accolades. However, her name has been associated with many controversies too. No doubt she has done a commendable service to poor. And a lot has been written about it too. A lot has also been written in her criticism; the most notable being the article of Christopher Hitchens, where he calls her “a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud” and claims “even more will be poor and sick if her example is followed”.
A lot of controversies have surfaced including her requesting the court to show leniency to Charles Keating, who was convicted for fraud, racketeering & conspiracy. Mother Teresa had received $1 Million from him and he had also lent his helicopter to her.
She kept taking favours from Jean-Claude Duvalier, the person who destroyed Haiti economically and kept praising him publicly in return. She implicitly gave support to corrupt businessmen such as Charles Keating and Robert Maxwell and received funds in the name of charity in lieu of that.
Susan Shields, a former Missionaries sister who left the organization “unhappy”, found $50 million in her New York Bank account, supposedly which should have been spent for the service of poor.
Back home, she had praised Indira Gandhi for imposing emergency; one of the darkest chapters of Indian democracy. The victims of Bhopal gas tragedy, the world’s worst industrial disaster, are still waiting for justice. Mother Teresa had rushed to Bhopal immediately after the accident, but only to request the officials to forgive or at least be lenient towards the management.
But she is now a Saint. To get nominated for beatification – the first step of sainthood – two verifiable miracles have to be attested. A Bengali woman named Monica Besra’s cancer treatment was the first miracle. Mrs Besra became an overnight celebrity in September 1998 when she reported that she had been cured of a tumour after praying to Mother Teresa, while pressing a medallion bearing the nun’s image to her side. Her physician, Dr. Ranjan Mustafi, says that she didn’t have a cancerous tumour in the first place. However more than a decade later, Mrs Besra too complained that she has been abandoned by the nuns who escorted her to Rome four years ago as living proof of their Mother Superior’s healing powers.
Apart from these controversies that show her compromising with ethics, her indulgence in religious conversions in the name of service to poor has been widely criticized. Her ways on medical treatments, her arguments & views on family planning, all are questionable. Let’s not forget that whenever she herself fell ill, she got treatment in well-equipped modern hospitals. It says a lot.
There are several such examples which have been floating around like a blot on the larger-than-life-image of Mother Teresa, and these are not just allegations but well researched reports backed by strong evidences which are irrefutable.
Let’s forget about rationality of miracles & sainthood that may label us as fanatic-Hindus & Christianity haters.
To counter those pseudo-liberals who also have some rationality left; have come up with two arguments:
- What’s wrong if she took money from the corrupt when she intended to spend it for charity, for the betterment of poor?
- Nobody is perfect, but at least she saved lives. She might have had her agenda but she served humanity at large.
And precisely these two are the points which make me dislike Mother Teresa.
There are two types of crimes: legal and moral. No legal authority or Govt stops anybody from committing something morally or ethically wrong. The legal framework also has several loopholes which gives escape. The other force which stops people from committing any type of crime is – conscience. It is the authority which has an eye on our actions 24×7 & stops us from doing anything wrong, be it legally wrong or morally wrong. It doesn’t give you any escape route. Personally I feel this force has greater authority on us than the legal authority.
Now comes the service to humanity & religion. Some crooks have created a system and they give you an escape route. Commit a sin, loot someone, do some charity and all your sins are washed away. You are clean. You give them money, they will spend it for the service of poor, they will pray for you & it will make your conscience relieved & you can sleep peacefully at night. These crooks have created a loophole in the most effective ‘policing’ system ever. I have never heard or seen any criminal going to such ‘charity firms/humanity agents’ and coming out saying: “Wow my conscience is alive again, I confess all my crimes & I am ready to go for prosecution & punishment.”
These humanity agents never encourage them to stop doing what they are doing, rather they give them respite. Criminals like Warren Anderson, Charles Keating and Robert Maxwell were very influential people. It was almost impossible for law agencies to stop them from doing what they did. They had no fear of law. The only force which could have stopped them was their conscience but hail the mother who made them immune to it.
There are many people in UP & Bihar who keep roaming around police stations. They tell you about the legal loopholes & using their ‘connections’ they can save you from the hands of law once you have committed a crime. There are many Mothers & Fathers & Babas who are doing the same thing. Teresa was one such Mother. It doesn’t matter where she spent that money & how she spent it.
Even worse, they are doing it in the name of charity & humanity. A common citizen committing a theft is bad, but a policeman doing the same thing is worse. And no one can argue that “Since he has nabbed many thieves in past & he’ll keep nabbing them in future so let’s ignore his own crime of theft.”
Had Samuel Johnson been alive today he would have said “Service to humanity is the last refuge of a fraud.”