IndiaStar: A Literary-Art magazine

Mother Teresa’s Hidden Mission in India:

Conversion to Christianity

By Dhiru Shah

[Editor’s intro: Dhiru Shah is an Atlanta-based writer.]

We must praise and respect any person involved in selfless humanitarian work irrespective of his or her religious belief. But as soon as that work is done with ulterior motive, it no longer remains a saintly deed. Mother Teresa’s work falls into the second category. Unfortunately, glowing tributes were paid to her by the pseudo-secularist leaders of India, Indian newspapers, and several Westernized Indians, without examining her mission in India.

Mother Teresa was wedded to the Catholic Church, particularly the Vatican establishment, whose main mission is to convert people in developing countries into Christianity by any means, now that Europeans are abandoning church membership and Christianity in increasing numbers. (But for imported Indian priests and nuns many European churches would have to close doors because Europeans seminaries are unable to fill their vacancies with Europeans.) In the early days of Christianity, those who refused to believe in Jesus were first branded as heretics and witches and then killed or burnt at the stake. In the name of the holy wars, military missions were sent which resulted in millions of people being massacred in South America. To perpetuate the forces of imperialism in Asia and Africa, the Western powers fit like a hand in glove with the

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Gandhi: “If I had the power and could legislate, I should certainly stop all proselytising.” (Collected Works, Vol 61, page 46-47)

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Christian Church and used their military might to convert the natives into Christianity. Following the dictum ‘the end justifies the means,’ the Christian Church had to devise new means to convert Asians and Africans into Christianity after the demise of the Western Imperialism. Along with this came a breed of Christian evangelists guided and financed by the Vatican and the Western powers to carry on the crusade by using the label of “poverty and disease” as their weapons. That is exactly what Mother Teresa was doing in India.

Mother Teresa portrayed India as a poor, starving, and a diseased land to her Western donors who responded by filling her coffers so that she could continue her mission of converting the poor and illiterate of India. She effectively used the converted Indian nuns for this purpose and thereby achieved her major mission of the Church. Mother Teresa, the founder of the “Missionaries of Charity “was “a crafty user of public relations” as pointed out by Christopher Hitchens in his recent book, The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice.

The Western media played a big role in projecting her as a saint and savior of the poor. This powerful media at the same time told the world that Indians, particularly the Hindus, don’t care for their helpless people and hence a foreign Christian saint has to perform that job.

The Christian Church and the Western media succeeded in convincing many of the Indian leaders and the westernized Indians that Mother Teresa was a great saint and therefore should be given a state funeral, an honor reserved only for great leaders of India. She was equated by one of the Indian leaders with Mahatma Gandhi. In doing so, then Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Gujaral, and leaders of other political parties excepting the BJP confirmed to the world that the Indians are incapable of taking care of their own poor and sick people. Indian leaders like Gujaral have insulted Gandhi by equating Mother Teresa with him.

Gandhi was extremely articulate in opposing the conversion activities of Christian missionaries in India and questioned their motives in establishing educational institutions and other services in India. The following are cited from Arun Shourie’s 302-page book, Missionaries in India New Delhi, ASA Publications, 1994):

“There was a deeper problem with these services, and Gandhiji drew attention to it again and again. The services were incidental. They were the means. The objective was to convert the natives to Christianity. “The Collected Works of Gandhi” contain several accounts as do Mahadev Desai’s “Diaries” in which missionaries acknowledged to Gandhiji that the institutions and services are incidental that the aim is to gather a fuller harvest of converts for the Church.

“To gain access to non-Christian households, counsels the ‘Catholic Dharma ka Pracharak,’ [How to Preach the Catholic Religion] the preacher should know something of medicine. He will then be sought after whenever there is some illness in the house. Once there, he should try to prevail upon the parents that he should be allowed to baptize the child as the baptism would aid the child’s recovery. If they do not agree, says the guide: ‘If it is clear to you that the father is not going to agree to the child being baptized, and, as far as you can see, the child is close to death, then, on the pretext of administering some medicine, sprinkle water on his head in some secret way and pronounce the words of baptism. O, preacher, should the child die, you would have opened the gates of heaven for this child. Is this not a good deed? Now, if every preacher were to devote himself to his work, then how many children would they send to heaven in a year?’ “(Shourie, page 7-8)

Shourie goes on to question the motives of Mother Teresa.

Just how strongly Gandhi felt about Christian missionaries in India can be gauged from his recorded comments:

  1. Gandhi’s writing: “The cultured Hindu society has admitted its grievous sin against the untouchables. But the effect of Christianity upon India in general…has been disastrous.” (Shourie, p.6)
  2. Gandhi to Krezenski, a visiting professor of Philosophy from Poland, who had told him that Catholicism was the only true religion: “The idea of conversion, I assure you is the deadliest poison that ever sapped the fountain of truth.” (Shourie, p.11)
  3. Gandhi to a visiting missionary nurse: “The other day a missionary descended on a famine area with money in his pocket, distributed it among the famine-stricken, converted them to his fold, took charge of their temple and demolished it. This is outrageous. This friend goes and gets it demolished at the hands of the very men who only a little while ago believed that God was there.” (Shourie, p. 17)
  4. Gandhiji: “If I had the power and could legislate, I should certainly stop all proselytizing.” (Collected Works, Vol 61, page 46-47; Shourie, p. 38).
  5. Several missionaries tried to convert Gandhi. When they failed, one of the reverend gentlemen, writes Mahadev Desai, “retired with the imprecation…’Mr. Gandhi, soon there will come a day when you will be judged, not in your righteousness, but in the righteousness of Jesus.’ “(Collected Works, Vol 60, p.323; Shourie, p. 240)

Gandhi worked for the poor and the diseased without any selfish motive. He was a great philosopher, teacher, intellectual, and above all a great world leader. None of this can be said of Mother Teresa. Her helping of poor and downtrodden was only a facade behind which she carried out her real assigned mission of converting the miserable lot. Hitchens calls her as a “Christian Fundamentalist” who described the suffering of the poor as a gift from God. She called abortion as the single greatest threat to the world peace in her Nobel Prize speech. She was against attempts to resist injustice and inequality and though she called herself as “non-political,” she expressed sympathy for conservative Catholic forces in Latin America and Southern Europe.

Was Mother Teresa truly a holy, selfless person and completely dedicated to the service of the poor and the wretched as she has been projected by her mission and the world press? No, says Hitchens. She befriended the rich and powerful and was a defender of Western big business. Though she proclaimed her devotion to the poor and downtrodden, she urged the Indians to forgive Union Carbide for the gas leak in Bhopal which had killed more than 2000 people. She visited Haiti in 1981 to accept that nation’s highest award from the Duvalier family and made a glowing speech in which she said that the dictator ‘Baby Doc’ and his wife, Michele, not only loved the poor but were also loved by the poor!

Hitchens further reveals that Mother Teresa went to Albania in 1990, at that time the most oppressive of the Balkan Stalinist states, and laid a wreath on the grave of the dictator, Enver Hoxha, and embraced Hoxha’s widow while remaining silent on human rights. In 1992, Mother Teresa gave many lucrative endorsements, including a character reference to the court for Charles Keating, the biggest fraud and embezzler in the American history who stole a total $252 million from mainly small and poor depositors. Hitchens claims that Keating gave $1.25 million in cash to Mother Teresa and allowed her to use his private jet. The court had asked her to return the donation given by Keating but she never replied to the request.

Hitchens describes how Mother Teresa urged the faithful in the Republic of Ireland to vote against the referendum on the divorce issue but when asked in an interview in “The Ladies Home Journal” about Princess Diana’s impending divorce, she said, “It is good thing that it is over. Nobody was happy anyhow.” Thus she preached morality and obedience to the poor but forgiveness and indulgence for the princesses.

Hitchens doubts her celebrated concern for the poor and the weak. Hitchens cites testimony from the leading American and British physicians about the extremely low standard of medicine practiced in her small Calcutta clinics. There are no pain killers and the syringes are washed in cold water. He goes on to claim that no public accounts are made available for her Missionaries of Charity, but enormous sums are known to have been raised.

Mother Teresa had spoken with pride of having opened more than 500 convents in 125 countries, “not counting India.” It is obvious that the money donated by well-wishers (or guilty-conscience Westerners?) for the relief of poor was being used for the purpose of religious proselytizing by the “Missionary Multinational.”

India still remains poor after 50 years of independence. This does not speak highly of the Congress party. The only objective of Congress politicians has been to remain in power. Most Congress leaders have been naive and shallow who have never bothered to read and analyze the Christian and Islamic histories and understand their present and future strategies of conversion of poor and helpless people of India.

India has already been divided into three countries thanks to the pseudo-secularism of Nehru and his dynasty. The Congress under Sonia Gandhi and their leftist supporters want the government to follow the same policies which will eventually divide India further. The current problems in Kashmir, Nagaland, and Assam are the results of the failure on the part of the Indian leaders to recognize the threat of the Christian and Islamic conversion factor. In any country, such leaders would have been branded as traitors for selling their country to foreigners.

Unfortunately, many westernized Indians in India and abroad have shown the same ignorance, indifference, and insensitivity on the above subject as their leaders. Their minds are so Anglo-Americanized that they read and believe only in the Western media which always wants to propagate the Western religion, culture, and history in the developing world. Most of the leading Indian newspapers and magazines have also followed this trend. They have joined hands since independence with the Indian politicians in criticizing the Hindus and ignoring the real danger of the Christian and Islamic conversion jihad which is being carried out currently in India, supported and financed by the Vatican Establishment, Western powers, and Islamic countries. Millions of dollars are pouring into India every day from these sources to convert and subvert India.

By glorifying Mother Teresa, the world has been made to believe that there are no other persons in India, excepting her who are engaged in caring for the poor and helpless folks. This is a lie perpetuated by the Christian church and the Western media slavishly supported by some section of the Indian press and the dishonest politicians.

There are many Indians involved in similar noble humanitarian works like Mother Teresa but without her ulterior motives. Pandurang Shashtri Athavale had dedicated himself in selfless ‘Lok Seva’ for many years. He and his followers have made a tremendous impact on the lives of poor and helpless fishermen on the West Coast of India. Until he won the Templeton Award, he was not recognized by the Anglo-Americanized Indians or the Indian government.

Acharya Shri Chandananji, a Jain nun, has been carrying on a crusade of uplifting the illiterate and poor section of the society in Bihar since 1973. She founded an institution called “Veeraytan” at Rajgir, Bihar with the clear objective of ‘providing unflinching service in the field of community health, education, and employment’ which has created a total social transformation of that locality. It teaches ‘the practicality of religion to the modern scientific world, a religion totally honest to mankind and entirely free from the sectarian prejudices.’ The institution has set up a hundred bed charitable eye hospital along with other medical facilities which is basically managed by the nuns supported by a medical team of surgeons, doctors, nurses, and medical students. Veerayatan is also involved in uplifting the lives of thousands of deprived local children by providing free meals and education. It also provides training facilities in vocational courses like carpentry, pottery, and medical staff attendants. Acharya Shri Chandanaji has been able to prove in spite of several problems and challenges that it is possible to serve the poor and needy without any sectarian bias.

The list of such dedicated humanitarians is inexhaustible. In every nook and corner of India one can find such workers who devote their lives to the caring and service of the poor and weak sections of the society. Some of them are so humble that they don’t want their names to be brought into limelight. Unfortunately, westernized Indians have the tendency to recognize our great people only when there is a stamp of approval of the Western world. We did not give the state funerals to such great humanitarians like Vinoba Bhave or Jayprakash Narain, but our leaders thought it fit to give that rare honor to Mother Teresa in order to please the Western powers, the Vatican, and the minority at home.

Instead of creating a true secular state where all citizens are governed by the same laws and wherein all people irrespective of their faith are treated equally, our self-serving politicians in India have not only enacted separate laws for minorities but also have given special preferential treatment to them, solely for the purpose of getting their votes. Any person from the majority community objecting to this type of pseudo-secularism is branded as a “Hindu Chauvinist” or “Hindu Fundamentalist.”

It is unfortunate that neither the Indian leaders nor the educated people from the majority community have learnt any lessons from the last 800 years of India’s bloody slavery. Today India is being subverted from within as well as abroad by the Christian and Islamic forces who are bent on disintegrating India with the active help of some greedy and selfish politicians and the indifferent majority. Those who do not heed the truth of history must perish.

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Dhiru Shah

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