Everyone world over knows that Blessed Mother Teresa was canonized as a saint on September 5, 2016. The news of Mother Theresa’s canonization was highlighted in the print and audio-visual media in the whole world.
Similar news, perhaps more important news was published in a governent press release in 2016. But that news was treated as insignificant news publishing it in an inside page of a few news papers! The news was that the BJP government has cancelled the permission of 13 orphanages out of 16 orphanages run by Mother Teresa’s Sisters, the Missionaries of Charity in India.
To understand the importance and the significance of this news three things are specially needed. First, you need to be a lover of fellow human beings. Second, your sensitive heart needs to feel the heartlessness of some people and the want of social equality so much that your heart prompts you to do something to change this criminal situation. Third, your merciful heart wants to do something for the poor and the needy.
These three qualities or virtues are seen in abundance in Mother Teresa and her Sisters. Hence they are able to serve selflessly the poorest of the poor. The people who are volunteers or are witnesses of the loving services Mother Teresa and her Sisters will agree with me hundred percent.
Mother Teresa was fully possessed by these three qualities or virtues. She loved of fellow human beings, with a burning desire to serve the poor selflessly with a loving and merciful heart. That is why Mother Teresa dared to leave of the prestigious Loreto Convent School as a much respected the Principal and a much loved teacher. Still she ventured into the slums of Moti Jeel and started to serve the poorest of the poor people in 1948. She never looked back.
By the time of her death on September 5, 1997, that is 48 years after leaving the convent, her Sisters, the Missionaries of Charity numbered about 5000! They were serving in more than 600 institutions in 135 countries with great love and kindness. These institutions included orphanages, leprosy asylums and hospitals, old age homes and abandoned children’s homes like Shishu Bhavans.
Cancelling the permission to run the 13 orphanages out of thousands of them in the world may not matter much to the people without empathetic hearts. But for the people with sympathetic hearts the cancellation of permission to run 13 orphanages matters a great deal. For, think of the inmates of those orphanages. For, hundreds of orphan boys and girls those orphanages are their only home, only place of refuge, the only place where they are taken care of with much love, food, shelter and other basic needs of existence. They are abandoned or separated from their unknown kinfolks. They may be sick and deformed. They are broken and helpless on their own. They have received love and selfless services from the Sisters of Mother Teresa and their kind volunteers. They help each other in the orphanage and find meaning for their existence.
Now by cancelling the permission, the heartless government has driven the orphan children to the streets! Those politicians and their executives who enjoy 5 star accommodations and services have nothing to lose in closing the 13 orphanages. They do not have the empathetic hearts like the Mother Teresa and her Sisters. Unlike the MC Sisters the government authorities and their Babus do not recognize the orphan boys and girls as their own brothers and sisters.
The decision to close the 13 orphanages run by the Sisters of Mother Teresa will add some more people to the poor number of people living on the edges of the society. But there will be no shortage of food on the table of the heartless people who orders the closer of the orphanages. On the contrary, they might celebrate that they have stopped the services of the ‘hated’ missionaries and have kept away the people who are impressed by the services of the missionaries.
Mother Teresa was very popular and was known as ‘the Saint of the Slums’, ‘the Personification of Mercy’, ‘the Mother of the Orphans’, ‘the Goddess of the Gutter’ and ‘the Refugee of the Poor’ etc. The long process before the canonization of Mother Teresa was over. There was a question. Where the official ceremony of the canonization should be held, at the eternal city Rome or in the city of Kolkata, which was very dear to Mother Teresa’s heart?
To hold the ceremony at Kolkata the BJP government of Narendra Modi needs to give an official invitation to Pope Francis as he is the head of Vatican, a small City State in Rome. This was a great puzzle for Prime Minister Modi as he has been speaking abroad about the ancient Indian culture and the very tolerant people of India.
PM Modi is the elected with massive majority as the head of the largest democracy in the world. With his innumerable trips abroad he has claimed to be a very efficient Prime Minister. This was a golden opportunity for PM Modi to prove himself that he was not a puppet Prime Minister of the Sangh Parivar as his detractors claim.
Then, by inviting Pope Francis to hold the canonization ceremony at Kolkata Modi could have achieved a number of things. First of all, Modi could prove among the foreign press and other media wrong that the Christians and other minorities are persecuted instead of just saying in defense that “the foreign media do not understand the Indian situation”. Secondly, Modi could have proved himself that he is capable of taking right decision at the right time. But his silence in this respect proved the opposite that Modi is a puppet in the hands of the Sangh Parivar and that he is not able to do what he wants. This was a great challenge for PM Modi but ,,,,
In spite of the strong opposition from the Sangh Parivar, the then PM Atal Behari Vajpai proved himself an eminent politician by inviting Pope (now saint) John Paul II in November 1999. John Paul II proclaimed an inspiring document entitled “Asian Church” on 06-11-1999 from Sacred Heart Cathedral, New Delhi.
The ceremony of canonization of Mother Teresa or for that matter any Saint is an international event. Long preparations go into declaring a person saint in the Catholic Church. Later the decision was taken to hold Mother Teresa’s canonization ceremony at Rome and Pope Francis was not in a situation to accept PM Modi’s invitation for the occasion.
Even at that stage PM Modi could have redeemed himself leading the Indian team going to attend the canonization ceremony. But nothing of the sort happened. The Foreign Minister Mrs. Sushma Swaraj led the Indian team and came back after their lack luster presence in the canonization ceremony at Rome.
According to recent newspaper reports the highest Church authorities in India had specially met PM Modi and requested him to invite Pope Francis this year. I hope that PM Modi will do that to make up for not inviting Pope Francis in the earlier occasions.
Finally our politicians should know that in a meaningful Gujarati verse a well known Poet Yacub Parmar has beautifully expressed the current situation of the country.
“Someone is shaking the foundation of democracy
Some people are hammering away at the dome
The democracy is not able to shout or cry
Some men are burning the facade of democracy.”