MOTHER’S WORDS ON A TEACHERS’ DAY

Reproducing an article written in 2014..

Mother Teresa – August 26, 1910 – September 5, 1997

“I never forget an opportunity I had in visiting a home where they had all these old parents of sons and daughters who had just put them in an institution and forgotten maybe. And I went there, and I saw in that home they had everything, beautiful things, but everybody was looking towards the door. And I did not see a single one with their smile on their face. And I turned to the Sister and I asked: How is that? How is it that the people they have everything here, why are they all looking towards the door, why are they not smiling? I am so used to see the smile on our people, even the dying one smile, and she said: This is nearly every day, they are expecting, they are hoping that a son or daughter will come to visit them. They are hurt because they are forgotten, and see – this is where love comes. That poverty comes right there in our own home, even neglect to love.”

From the Mother’s Nobel Lecture – December 11, 1979

There is this place that I visit regularly and the Mother’s these words echo on what I feel there during each of my trip.

This one is a paid home for the senior citizens, the old-age people who are forced to live there (and in every such home, paid or charitable).

Yes I can use the word ‘forced’ because no one wants to live away from his or her family when he or she needs it the most, in old-age, when they become dependent on others, financially, medically and emotionally and this dependence increases as the age advances.

Here in this particular old-age home, financial constraint is not an issue except one or two members because most are well-to-do traders or pensioners with good financial background, but overall, each of them are poor emotionally, as the Mother’s words say, as the practical needs of an old-age demand, the emotional attachment and attentions, they need people to spend time with them, to listen to them, to care for them, and that is universally true, at least in the context of the Indian tradition where the whole family still grows together, where the parents forget their own comforts, comfortably and happily, to give a comfortable life to their children.

And such old-age homes reiterate the concerns on the value-erosion that is breaking people away from the joint-family tradition where even fathers and mothers become unwanted entities.

Here in this old-age home, even if the situation is like other worldly when we compare it with similar government run institutions or many charitable ones, this poverty transcends. It begins with the families. The poverty there pushes them to throw their elderly parents away to such institutions, the eternally emotionally poor places.

And it can be read on their faces.
Yes, the grandpas and grandmas here are fully aware of their situation and the lifelong learning and bad experiences from their own children make them tolerant enough to pass the days in their solitude.

Still, they expect. Still, they pray for their sons and daughters. Still, their financial planning of whatever they have revolves around their sons who don’t even call them or the daughters who don’t even visit them even if they stay in the same city.

It is always an unacceptable point that a son (daughters are not privileged to take such decisions in Indian societies) cannot accommodate his parents or his father or his mother in ‘his family life’.

Peace always evades them and their sons and daughters live in a world of fallacy, of a caricaturized peace, earned on the sobs and tears of their parents.

Some of them had come here together. They saw here one departing. And they are now alone. Relatives including the immediate family members, including the sons and the daughters (if some of them turn up) come for the last rites and then it is even more solitary and haunting a life where the only person with whom he or she could share the emotional needs, is no more.

And the institution here, the old-age home, with good infrastructure and material facilities, is no help either. There is no emotional connect. The basic requirement of such an institution, catering to the emotional needs of the humiliated hearts, is totally absent. The staff there treats them as paid inhabitants who don’t give tips.

Most of the charitable institutions (and yes, this old-age home is one from the lot) don’t even know what charity should be, where should it begin and that there is no end to it, as the Mother’s life and words teach us to follow.

The value-erosion is deepening as evident by such institutions proliferating across the country. And there is no defined solution to address it.

The major reason behind such ‘extremely nuclear’ families is an increasingly selfish and self-centered work culture shaped by an education system that forces students to become too individualistic in competing and succeeding.

The value-based education system has been replaced by a system that focuses only on examinations. It tells students to compete and succeed at all costs. It tells them there is no life beyond it if they fail. The students are bullied by life and by the society.

They live under consistent pressure and after a point of time, they start treating genuine concerns and advices of their parents as bullying and selfish acts. They stop seeing the fine print of their parents’ intentions. They justify the family assistance as their right, something that their parents enjoyed as well when they were youngsters.

Not all sons and daughters become like that. But the increasing number of old-age homes tells us the problem is widening and the society needs to address it.

A logical way to address it is introducing value based content focusing on parents and caring for them in the teaching curriculum right from the elementary level and continue the flow year after year till the undergraduate level. It is not a wild thought to opinionate that a separate course should be developed on family values in Indian societies. If there is a need of value-indoctrination in the Indian tradition, it is here, on this and similar issues.

Due to certain reasons, my visits to this old-age homes has become more frequent these days and thoughts on these lines naturally came to me today, after watching prime minister Nadrendra Modi’s address and interaction with the students from across the country emphasizing on the ‘value of values’ on the Teachers’ Day, a day to observe the birth anniversary of the greatest academician India has ever had, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the former President of the nation and a former vice-chancellor of my alma mater, Banaras Hindu University.

‘Who we are is not decided by our lineage’ but by our deeds and when we fail to perform on our primary responsibilities, that is to our parents, to care for them, to be with them on their every call, we fail in life, even if we amass great material wealth.

Dr. Radhakrishnan had said: “We are Braahmin not on account of birth or the performance of rites, not by study or family, but on account of our behavior”.

Growing up is basically about the values that we imbibe and how the values reflect in our acts. The sons and daughters who don’t learn to appreciate and imbibe the values that make the connect with their parents a natural bond remain poor throughout their lives – as the Mother’s words say, as the life says, as echoed in Dr. Radhakrishnan’s words – “Their joy is in the fulfilment of family obligations of marriage and parenthood, and other personal relationships.”

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan – September 5, 1888 – April 17, 1975

Mother Teresa - Dr. Radhakrishnan

Mother Teresa – Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
(Images sourced from the Internet)

©SantoshChaubey

HOW TWITTER REACTED TO MOTHER TERESA’S CANONIZATION

To humanity’s great joy, Mother Teresa is now officially declared as Saint by Pope Francis in the ongoing Canonization Mass today at the Saint Peter’s Square in the Vatican City. Although Canonization is a religious process and most of the canonized saints, over 600 in the last 50 years, were priests, when the Vatican finds someone like Mother Teresa, one of the biggest crusaders of the humanity, the whole process, even if it is religious in nature and belongs to one particular community, becomes a moment the whole words watches; becomes a development that people of all faiths across different communities await. The twitter trends of different counties once again reaffirmed our faith it.

Mother Teresa Twitter Collage3

As expected, Mother Teresa trending on top on Twitter India page. It was only natural that Twitter trends of Kolkata were on the same line.

In the Christian nations, she was on top or in top 10 in many countries. Italy, USA, UK, Mexico and Brazil were the big Christian countries where Mother Teresa prominently figured in people’s opinions though some other major Christian countries like France or Germany that I checked were not showing her in the top 10 trends. Italy, the Vatican’s backyard was obviously painted with Mother Teresa at top. In the US, she was trending at number 2, in Mexico at number 5, in Britain at number 6 and in Brazil at number 8.

Mother Teresa Twitter Collage1

What was heartening to see that she was trending even on the Twitter Trends of some of the Muslim countries. She was at number 2 in Lebanon trends, at number 4 in United Arab Emirates, at number 6 in Malaysia and at number 10 in Nigeria. She was in top 10 in Indonesia trends though I could not take the screenshot.

Mother Teresa Twitter Collage2

©SantoshChaubey 

MOTHER TERESA AND THE ENDLESS CONTROVERSIES OF CANONISATION AT THE VATICAN

The article originally appeared on DailyO.

In the last 50 years, from the days of Pope Paul VI that began in 1963, the Vatican has given the world some 640 saints, more than dozen a year.

Pope John Paul II, who was pope for more than 26 years, from 1978 to 2005, in fact made more saints that all previous popes together, over 480, since the papal supremacy in declaring sainthood for someone was officially established in the 16th Century. Pope Benedict who was pope for some eight years and who renounced papacy, leaving the office in 2013, had presided over 45 canonizations while the current pope, Francis, has already added 28 names to the canon of the recognized saints.

One of the canonizations by him is of the Martyrs of Otranto, 813 inhabitants of the Italian city Otranto who were massacred in 1480 after they refused to convert to Islam. If we count by the individual names, then Pope Francis has surpassed even Pope John Paul II. While Mother Teresa’s canonization mass is scheduled for September 4, 7 more will be elevated to the status of sainthood on October 16.

Almost of them have been catholic priests or adherents of Catholicism like Mother Teresa was, a staunch Catholic with orthodox values especially on women rights, abortion, contraception, divorce with her rigid views on how to treat the poor in her homes for the dying. Much of Mother Teresa’s criticism is directed by these values along with the questions raised on the financial accountability of her order.

But what sets Mother Teresa apart from the other saints or those who have been conferred with the sainthood, that the whole canon of modern saints doesn’t give you a name as big a humanitarian soul as Mother Teresa was. In fact, we can say Mother Teresa has been the most popular catholic throughout the world since she took the centre-stage with the global spread of her humanitarian organization, the Missionaries of Charity. For her service to the poor and destitute, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, a recognition that no pope has received so far. So, at least we can say the Vatican is going to honour humanity this time by canonizing someone who not only worked for the church, but also for the people of all faiths from across the world.

The religious nature of canonization has seen many controversies.

Pope Francis had canonized Junioperra Serra, an 18th Century missionary from Spain who migrated to America, in 2015. Serra has left behind him a fractured legacy of conversion and torture and large scale protests were held by the Native Americans against his canonization. According to the claims of Native American organizations, Serra’s mission killed some 90 percent of Native Californians at that time.

Italian Padre Pio (1887-1968) who was canonized by John Paul II in 2002 was described as ignorant and psychopath by many and it was a widely held belief that his order of monks was busy in exploiting financial gains by displaying Pio’s stigmata and comparing it to the Crucifixion marks of Jesus Christ. Due to these controversies, the Vatican was initially against Padre Pio but, under the compulsions that only they can explain, the later popes dismissed all allegations against Padre Pio.

Probably the most famous canonization controversy is of Pope Pius IX (1792-1878), the last pope to rule over the Papal States before they fell to the Italian army. He was pope for over 31 years and is now reviled for his dogmatic views, his hatred for modernism and his fad on the supremacy of the papal teachings. He called Jews dogs and is notorious for abducting an six year old Jewish boy only because he was secretly baptized by a Roman Catholic maid. Attempts to beatify him, the first step towards the canonization process, failed many times due to widespread criticism and protests. But the formidable Pope John Paul II beatified him in 2000. Let’s see when and by whom he is canonized.

In fact, Pope Pius IX was a compromise replacement for Pope Pius XII (1876-1958), another controversial pope whose canonization has been vehemently opposed for not doing enough on the Holocaust, the massacre carried out by Germany and its allied nations in the Second World War. The conduct of his papacy has been widely criticized. Though the process to canonize him was started in 1965, he is yet to be beatified.

Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac of Croatia (1898-1960) was another controversial candidate who was beatified by John Paul II. He was beatified in 1998 but his canonization is still due. John Paul II described him as a martyr of faith as he had led Croatian church in the Second World War. His wartime records and affiliations have been questioned and Jews and Serbs say he did not criticize their massacre during the war the way he should have. He, in fact, supported the Independent Croatia that came into being with support from Adolf Hitler’s Germany.

These are some of the most talked about canonization controversies. The whole list is long. But the Vatican remains unaffected, unmoved. Because for the Vatian, “being the martyr/proponent of faith” has always been the primary criteria to declare someone a saint. Pope John Paul II, while beatifying Cardinal Stepinac, had said, “Beatifying a son of the church does not celebrate particular historic choices that he has made, but rather points him out for imitation and for veneration for his virtue (read adherence to church and faith here).” It is rare that the Vatican canonization process finds some who has also been a crusader of humanity that Mother Teresa was.

©SantoshChaubey

FUMING AT SENDING GOVERNEMENT DELEGATION TO VATICAN FOR MOTHER TERESA’S CANONIZATION! WHY?

Reports say, after Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), now Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangha (RSS) has expressed its displeasure on the Government of India decision to send a high party delegation to the Vatican City to participate in Mother Teresa’s Canonization Mass on September 4 when she will be declared a saint formally.

Going by the past rhetoric of these organizations, it is not unexpected. What was pleasant was how Narendra Modi summed up the emotion of the masses on the issue during his monthly radio address to the nation, “Mann Ki Baat” on August 28.

He rightly described how a person of Albanian origin, with no knowledge of English, adopted India and made its destitute people mission of her life. When he said that a high level delegation led by the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj would represent India in Vatican, it was an expression of the wishes of the majority of Indians, unlike those few who still see “good and bad” defined by the demarcation of the religious lines.

Like VHP’s Surendra Jain rushed to criticize Narendra Modi on his knowledge of history and how a “Mother Teresa sainthood” would hasten proselytization. Even RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has concluded that though Mother Teresa’s work was good, it was not selfless. While delivering a lectures last year, in February 2015, Bhagwat linked Mother Teresa’s work with conversion, saying it was her primary motive. Bhagwat’s remarks had come at a time when Narendra Modi was busy in initiatives to heal and win back Christians’ confidence after a series of church attacks that later proved non-religious in nature.

Here are two things that we should go by.

Mother Teresa’s work was termed selfish when she devoted her whole life in the service of the poorest of the poor. When she left the world, she left an institution to serve the people. She didn’t keep anything for her, living a simple and austere life. When her work is called selfish, it really pains us, who see a motherly figure in her. Shouldn’t we stop seeing the extent of the kindness of greats from a religious eye?

Conversion? Why its fear is still instilled in us? Why our opinion leaders and politicians still try such loaded words?

How can 13.8 crore Muslims and 2.4 crore Christians be a threat to convert 82.7 crore Hindus to their fold?

There is famous saying in Hinduism – and I believe it should be there in almost every religion, if religions evolve to organize and better human lives – that you cannot think of worshipping God when you are hungry and the survival crisis is the sole question haunting you. That is the story of majority of Indians. The first duty of our opinion leaders and politicians should be to feed them first, to lift their lives out of survival hell.

Where our systems failed, people like Mother Teresa filled the gap. And yet it was not enough. India has more than 3 million registered non-governmental organizations. “The government, with restrain on resources, alone cannot reach to all in a country like India with widespread poverty and illiteracy” was the basic idea that allowed such a large number of NGOs in the country – so that they can go to the spaces where the government cannot.

The second thing that again reinforces the feeling that whenever there is a crisis on religious/community lines in the society, it is fuelled by motivated interests, is that none of incidents of church attacks last year were found religiously motivated. There was a great hue and cry and the whole political lot as well as evangelical institutions, from India and abroad, were propagating something like Christianity was in some imminent danger in India, especially after a Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) led government was the incharge of affairs in India whose ideological mentor RSS has always been suspicious of the motives of the Christian missionaries working in India, something that even reflected in the Mohan Bhagwat statement mentioned above.

But nothing happened. India as secure for Hindus, as for Muslims, Christians and other faiths.

To continue..

©SantoshChaubey

RELIGIOUS ADHERENCE OF MOTHER TERESA: INSPIRATION BEHIND HER WORK

It is in such a bad taste that the mind desperately urges to run away from the TV sets or think of that impossible situation where they all could be dumped somewhere deep so that their twisted voices cannot surface. These so called Seers, Gurus, Saints, the modern day Shankaracharyas, the Sadhus, the religious Satraps, and their ugly bickering in the name of sanctifying the religion and their silly and unpardonable crusades – who is asking them to represent us – who are they to interfere in our personal matters?

Practicing religion is personal and no one has any right to issue a diktat to follow this or that God or this or that Saint or a diktat on whom to believe in as a God. But ‘they doing so’ tells us they do not follow the religion they boast to represent. In fact no religion allows for gaudy display of God ownership and faith ownership. Unfortunately, such ‘representatives’ have had a long run.

Every religion, in its true essence, preaches and teaches love and peace. If we don’t talk of the distortions and the distorted leading opinions, no one religion imposes itself on the other. In essence, every religion is anti-crusade, in its purest, in its spiritual form. In fact, a devout religious soul respects other religions in the same way as his/her.

And who can symbolize it better than the Mother Teresa – who was born on August 26, 1910 in Albania, a European country under the Ottoman Empire then – and who spent her whole life in India since 1928. She was a devout catholic and followed the ways and the teachings of Jesus religiously. It is said Jesus came to her asking her to be His messenger, spreading the message of His love and peace by working for those who needed it the most, the poor, the needy, and in-turn, receiving the love and peace Himself, because He exists in every such soul. And she followed the message, with her beginning in 1948, when she established an order to work for the poor, and she was soon to become the Mother.

It hurt Jesus to love us, it hurt him. And to make sure we remember his great love he made himself the bread of life to satisfy our hunger for his love. Our hunger for God, because we have been created for that love. We have been created in his image. We have been created to love and be loved, and then he has become man to make it possible for us to love as he loved us. He makes himself the hungry one – the naked one – the homeless one – the sick one – the one in prison – the lonely one – the unwanted one – and he says: You did it to me. Hungry for our love, and this is the hunger of our poor people. This is the hunger that you and I must find, it may be in our own home.
(From the Nobel Lecture delivered by the Mother on December 11, 1979 on being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.)

She remained a devout Catholic throughout her life but devoted her life to the people of a largely Hindu country. She never asked for the religion. Her doors were open to everyone. She found Jesus in every needy soul. She became so Indian that she is known as the ‘Blessed Teresa of Calcutta’. In fact, her religious adherence was her inspiration, the force behind her motherly love. People loving her are in every walk of like, in India, around the world, something that the so called religious satraps of Hinduism, Islam, Christianity or for that matter any other religion can never even dream of. What is happening to her Order is debatable and even Mother Teresa’s life and works have seen many controversies but when we remember her, the first image that comes before us is of a loving mother who gave her whole in the service of the poor. She remains among the people even after her passing away in 1997 because she remains in the soul of humanity.

Though she is going to be canonized on September 4 by the Vatican that will officially accord her the status of being a Saint, she has always been seen like the one. In fact, Saints should like her, a modern day Saint as the TIME magazine’s “Mother Teresa at 100: The Life and Works of a Modern Saint” rightly says, not like them who are ready to tear into each other yesterday and today, on TV sets, in public. Thanks for blessing humanity dear Mother. Thanks for blessing India. Thanks for being there for those who needed peace and who desperately needed help. Thanks for being there Mother.

©SantoshChaubey

MOTHER TERESA OR MAHATMA GANDHI: GIVE THEM THE LIBERTY TO REMAIN HUMANS

Mother Teresa is probably the biggest humanitarian icon the 20th Century India has given to the world. And though her saintliness doesn’t need any endorsement like Mahatma Gandhi’s greatness doesn’t need a Nobel Prize, her Canonization on September 4, a day before her 19th death anniversary on September 5 and almost after a week of her 106th birth anniversary on August 26, is an event that the whole humanity should be looking up to, for it will further motivate the sisters and fathers of her Order, the Missionaries of Charity, and it will further entrench her legacy with a global footprint after the Vatican recognition.

Because there are many who continuously spew venom against her – on her means to raise and manage funds, like accepting donations from dictators or her firm religious/Catholic values on abortion or contraception or her hospices which she defined as the ‘houses of the dying’ which the critics say should have been replaced by hospitals much earlier or her support for Indira Gandhi and the Emergency of 1975.

Mother..

Such informed misinformation campaigns are run with no concern of or respect for rechecking and reconfirming the facts. Most of such ‘informed campaigns’ go without the ethical requirements of going out in the field to cross-verify the information and its context because the intent is biased mostly.

In case of cross-cultural critics, the methodologies of such campaigns are designed in cultural isolation and the folks never bother to know and understand the context associated with the place or attached with the person’s identity. They flimsily analyse and process the information based on their own cultural contexts and ethos looking at the facts from the spectacle of their own societies (or their own prejudices, that goes for the inland folks).

They simply don’t care about the contextual interpretation of ‘how, what and why’ of the ‘what they intend to do’.

They don’t care to understand the historical and the prevailing cultural context to get into the localized, contemporary context of a tradition/custom/activity/method/process of a place.

Instead, they go on criticising the Greats and sometimes go unrestricted in their choice of words to express their displeasures (anger or prejudice, alternatively or arbitrarily). They criticise the Greats even if they are no more present among us.

But does it matter? The Greats never believe in defending something that is so utterly misplaced or something that will obstruct them in their duty and responsibility to reach out and heal the humanity. The Greats don’t respond to because their emotive responses are concentrated on helping others.

Mother Teresa or the Mahatma, they kept on working for the well-being of the poorest of the poor. Souls like them who leave the aspirations of their material lives, how can they be blamed of being selfish or prejudiced or indulging in misappropriations? Almost of the Indians would not be aware of Mahatma Gandhi’s family tree after the Mahatma, the Great who got us Independence, the soul who kept on working for the last person of the society first. How can we see the Mother in a negative light when she spent her whole life in a small room without any material possession? After leaving her family at 18, she never saw her mother again.

Yes, the Greats, they can and they go wrong, for they are humans like you and me, but who are we, the living-beings of the material world, soaked up in our individual lives, absorbed by our own petty problems, who never venture out to feed even a single needy person, let alone helping the dying ones, to question the motives of the Greats?

Yes, the Greats, being humans like us, they all have their own limitations. Yes, they do win over them and manage them much more efficiently than us. But that doesn’t mean they cannot err. They are as much entitled to err like all of us are. They cannot be expected to be all-knowing or versatile.

But, then who is perfect? And don’t we criticise even God?

All the Greats who have walked so far, none of them was perfect, and never even claimed. In fact, being the human beings like you and me, they were always fallible, till the very end. Yes, they rose to become Great, but, intrinsically, they were the human beings who worked on their Good Self to dominate their Weak Self so effectively that they became God-like for us. Yes, but they were not Gods. The Weak Self was very much alive within them and that let the Greats remain among us, something they always aspired for.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi began his journey to become the Mahatma as a fallible man, like all of us, and he remained fallible, like all of us, throughout his journey through life, from an early married boy to the Father of the nation, Bapu, to the Fatherly figure of the human conscience, he remained fallible.

But unlike almost of us, including the folks who run campaigns to discredit and dishonour the Humanity’s Greats, he always spoke of it, and he always atoned for it with his personal austerity and self-discipline, inflicting the severest pain on himself. All of the true Human Greats, the healers of the Humanity, were like him or he was like them, and all to come will be in the same league.

The world is not going to be moved, to be swept emotively or ideologically by a single soul and the true Greats never intended so. They all did and would be doing what the Humanity needs the most, caring for the billions of the needy, taking care of the emotional poverty and the chronic hunger.

We elect leader even after knowing their follies. And we blame them who work selflessly for the issues that we create from nowhere. A research study criticising Mother Teresa after 16 years of her death in 2013 based on interpretation of a 1981 incident blaming her supporting the Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, while comfortably forgetting what she did for Humanity tells us this only, and bewares of such a mindset.

Give the Greats the liberty to remain humans . They crave for it in their private moments. Give them their freedom to remain fallible. Give them their moments to introspect. They deserve it after committing their lives for others, to us. Stop criticising her for her hypocrisy as some of her letters speak about her disenchantment from her belief in God. Doesn’t it happen with all of us?

©SantoshChaubey

ON CRITICISM OF HUMANITY’GREATS: LIKE MOTHER TERESA OR MAHATMA GANDHI OR ALL IN THEIR LEAGUE

The sources of information behind such ‘campaigns’ are interesting stuff the way they are dug into and collected.

Such informed campaigns are run with no concern of or respect for rechecking and reconfirming the facts. Most of such ‘informed campaigns’ go without the ethical requirements of going out in the field to cross-verify the information, because the intent is pre-fixed mostly.

In case of cross-cultural critics, the methodologies of such campaigns are designed in cultural isolation and the folks never bother to know and understand the context associated with the place or attached with the person’s identity. They flimsily analyse and process the information based on their own cultural contexts and ethos looking at the facts from the spectacle of their own societies (or their own prejudices, that goes for the inland folks).

They simply don’t care about the contextual interpretation of ‘how, what and why’ of the ‘what they intend to do’.

They don’t care to understand the historical and the prevailing cultural context to get into the localized, contemporary context of a tradition/custom/activity/method/process of a place.

And all ‘makes’ of critics, they criticise the Greats and sometimes go unrestricted in their choice of words to express their displeasures (anger or prejudice, alternatively or arbitrarily). They criticise the Greats even if they are no more physically present among us.

But does it matter? The Greats never believe in defending something that is so utterly misplaced or something that will obstruct them in their duty and responsibility to reach out and heal the humanity. The Greats don’t respond because their emotive responses are concentrated on helping others.

Mother Teresa or the Mahatma, they kept on working for the well-being of the poorest of the poor. Souls like them who leave the aspirations of their material lives, how can they be blamed of being selfish or prejudiced or indulging in misappropriations? Almost of the Indians would not be aware of the Mahatma Gandhi’s family tree after the Mahatma, the Great who got us Independence, the soul who kept on working for the last person of the society first. How can we see the Mother in a negative light when she spent her whole life in a small room without any material possessions? After leaving her family at 18, she never saw her mother again.

Yes, the Greats, they can and they go wrong, for they are humans like you and me, but who are we, the men of the material world, soaked up in our individual lives, absorbed by our own petty problems, who never venture out to feed even a single needy person, let alone helping the dying ones, to question the motives of the Greats?

Yes, the Greats, being humans like us, they all have their own limitations. Yes, they do win over them and manage them much more efficiently than us. But that doesn’t mean they cannot err. They are as much entitled to err like all of us are. They cannot expected to be all-knowing or versatile.

But, then who is perfect? And don’t we criticise even God?
All the Greats who have walked so far, none of them was perfect, and never even claimed. In fact, being the human beings like you and me, they were always fallible, till the very end. Yes, they rose to become Great, but, intrinsically, they were the human beings who worked on their Good Self to dominate their Weak Self so effectively that they became God-like for us. Yes, but they were not Gods. The Weak Self was very much alive within them and that let the Greats remain among us, something they always aspired for.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi began as a fallible man, like all of us, and he remained fallible, like all of us, through his journey with life, from an early married boy to the Father of the nation, Bapu, to the Fatherly figure of the human conscience, he remained fallible.

But unlike almost of us, including the folks who run campaigns to discredit and dishonour the Humanity’s Greats, he always spoke of it, and he always atoned for it with his personal austerity and self-discipline, inflicting the severest pain on himself.

All of the true Human Greats, the healers of the Humanity, were like him or he was like them, and all to come will be in the same league.

The world is not going to be moved, to be swept emotively or ideologically by a single soul and the true Greats never intended so. They all did and would be doing what the Humanity needs the most, caring for the billions of the needy, taking care of the emotional poverty and the chronic hunger. We elect leader even after knowing their follies. And we blame them who work selflessly for the issues that we create from nowhere. A research study criticising Mother Teresa after 16 years of her death in 2013 based on interpretation of a 1981 incident blaming her supporting the Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier who passed away last week, while comfortably forgetting what she did for Humanity tells us this only, and bewares of such a mindset.

Give the Greats the liberty to remain humans . They crave for it in their private moments. Give them their freedom to remain fallible. Give them their moments to introspect. They deserve it after committing their lives for others, to us.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

JEAN-CLAUDE DUVALIER IS NO MORE: THE ONLY THOUGHT THAT CAME TO MIND ON HEARING IT

Papa Doc’s Baby Doc is no more. There are many stories and conspiracy theories about one of the most notorious dictators (all of them are), Jean-Claude Duvalier, who became President of Haiti in the age of 19 in 1971 after death of his Papa, the senior Duvalier.

He had to flee the country with his family and wife Michelle Bennett after mass uprising in 1986. It is said his family used to sell cadavers and body parts of his dead countrymen and Duvalier earned a great fortune by trade in narcotics.

Anyway, figures like Duvaliers are not to be remembered on their anniversaries. The reason he echoed in my thoughts was about a controversy related to Mother Teresa because of him.

last year, some folks (may say researchers), came out with outcome of their ‘meticulously’ done study where they ‘studied’ through the documents, sitting in a far away land, employing their skills on their secondary source of information, when they happened to stumble upon some pieces of information including the one in context here and in their ‘enlightened zest, their infinite wisdom gave us their ‘eureka sort’ of theory which they went on to declare proven immediately with the same source of information, that sought to dim the halo of Mother Teresa, that started speaking aggressively to question the ‘hallowed’ life of the Mother.

Such research studies are interesting stuff the way they are carried out, compromising on the very ethics of a research work that makes it an enduring legacy of an academic work to be used for a generalized purpose. And such research studies are carried out in every stream, on every possible subject, in the manner of roundtable negotiations, with no concern for rechecking and reconfirming the facts and going out in the field to cross-verify the information contained in the secondary sources. Most of such studies are done in cultural isolation and the researchers never bother to know and understand the context of the subject matter at hand. They flimsily analyse and process the information based on their own cultural contexts and ethos looking at the facts from the spectacle of their own societies.

And for the media carriers, most of them do not care before printing such stuff, such observations which are contextually misplaced, as I have seen in many such studies of the Western folks on Varanasi, on Ganga, on religious and spiritual aspects of Hinduism and on many more.

These works are mostly products of half-baked intellects where the creators are not aware of the context or they don’t do the proper pre-research study work, the contextual interpretation of ‘how, what and why’ of the subject under study or the work under development.

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MOTHER’S WORDS ON A TEACHERS’ DAY

Mother Teresa – August 26, 1910 – September 5, 1997

“I never forget an opportunity I had in visiting a home where they had all these old parents of sons and daughters who had just put them in an institution and forgotten maybe. And I went there, and I saw in that home they had everything, beautiful things, but everybody was looking towards the door. And I did not see a single one with their smile on their face. And I turned to the Sister and I asked: How is that? How is it that the people they have everything here, why are they all looking towards the door, why are they not smiling? I am so used to see the smile on our people, even the dying one smile, and she said: This is nearly every day, they are expecting, they are hoping that a son or daughter will come to visit them. They are hurt because they are forgotten, and see – this is where love comes. That poverty comes right there in our own home, even neglect to love.”

From the Mother’s Nobel Lecture – December 11, 1979

There is this place that I visit regularly and the Mother’s these words echo on what I feel there during each of my trip.

This one is a paid home for the senior citizens, the old-age people who are forced to live there (and in every such home, paid or charitable).

Yes I can use the word ‘forced’ because no one wants to live away from his or her family when he or she needs it the most, in old-age, when they become dependent on others, financially, medically and emotionally and this dependence increases as the age advances.

Here in this particular old-age home, financial constraint is not an issue except one or two members because most are well-to-do traders or pensioners with good financial background, but overall, each of them are poor emotionally, as the Mother’s words say, as the practical needs of an old-age demand, the emotional attachment and attentions, they need people to spend time with them, to listen to them, to care for them, and that is universally true, at least in the context of the Indian tradition where the whole family still grows together, where the parents forget their own comforts, comfortably and happily, to give a comfortable life to their children.

And such old-age homes reiterate the concerns on the value-erosion that is breaking people away from the joint-family tradition where even fathers and mothers become unwanted entities.

Here in this old-age home, even if the situation is like other worldly when we compare it with similar government run institutions or many charitable ones, this poverty transcends. It begins with the families. The poverty there pushes them to throw their elderly parents away to such institutions, the eternally emotionally poor places.

And it can be read on their faces.

Yes, the grandpas and grandmas here are fully aware of their situation and the lifelong learning and bad experiences from their own children make them tolerant enough to pass the days in their solitude.

Still, they expect. Still, they pray for their sons and daughters. Still, their financial planning of whatever they have revolves around their sons who don’t even call them or the daughters who don’t even visit them even if they stay in the same city.

It is always an unacceptable point that a son (daughters are not privileged to take such decisions in Indian societies) cannot accommodate his parents or his father or his mother in ‘his family life’.

Peace always evades them and their sons and daughters live in a world of fallacy, of a caricaturized peace, earned on the sobs and tears of their parents.

Some of them had come here together. They saw here one departing. And they are now alone. Relatives including the immediate family members, including the sons and the daughters (if some of them turn up) come for the last rites and then it is even more solitary and haunting a life where the only person with whom he or she could share the emotional needs, is no more.

And the institution here, the old-age home, with good infrastructure and material facilities, is no help either. There is no emotional connect. The basic requirement of such an institution, catering to the emotional needs of the humiliated hearts, is totally absent. The staff there treats them as paid inhabitants who don’t give tips.

Most of the charitable institutions (and yes, this old-age home is one from the lot) don’t even know what charity should be, where should it begin and that there is no end to it, as the Mother’s life and words teach us to follow.

The value-erosion is deepening as evident by such institutions proliferating across the country. And there is no defined solution to address it.

The major reason behind such ‘extremely nuclear’ families is an increasingly selfish and self-centered work culture shaped by an education system that forces students to become too individualistic in competing and succeeding.

The value-based education system has been replaced by a system that focuses only on examinations. It tells students to compete and succeed at all costs. It tells them there is no life beyond it if they fail. The students are bullied by life and by the society.

They live under consistent pressure and after a point of time, they start treating genuine concerns and advices of their parents as bullying and selfish acts. They stop seeing the fine print of their parents’ intentions. They justify the family assistance as their right, something that their parents enjoyed as well when they were youngsters.

Not all sons and daughters become like that. But the increasing number of old-age homes tells us the problem is widening and the society needs to address it.

A logical way to address it is introducing value based content focusing on parents and caring for them in the teaching curriculum right from the elementary level and continue the flow year after year till the undergraduate level. It is not a wild thought to opinionate that a separate course should be developed on family values in Indian societies. If there is a need of value-indoctrination in the Indian tradition, it is here, on this and similar issues.

Due to certain reasons, my visits to this old-age homes has become more frequent these days and thoughts on these lines naturally came to me today, after watching prime minister Nadrendra Modi’s address and interaction with the students from across the country emphasizing on the ‘value of values’ on the Teachers’ Day, a day to observe the birth anniversary of the greatest academician India has ever had, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the former President of the nation and a former vice-chancellor of my alma mater, Banaras Hindu University.

‘Who we are is not decided by our lineage’ but by our deeds and when we fail to perform on our primary responsibilities, that is to our parents, to care for them, to be with them on their every call, we fail in life, even if we amass great material wealth.

Dr. Radhakrishnan had said: “We are Braahmin not on account of birth or the performance of rites, not by study or family, but on account of our behavior”.

Growing up is basically about the values that we imbibe and how the values reflect in our acts. The sons and daughters who don’t learn to appreciate and imbibe the values that make the connect with their parents a natural bond remain poor throughout their lives – as the Mother’s words say, as the life says, as echoed in Dr. Radhakrishnan’s words – “Their joy is in the fulfilment of family obligations of marriage and parenthood, and other personal relationships.”

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan – September 5, 1888 – April 17, 1975

Mother Teresa - Dr. Radhakrishnan
Mother Teresa – Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
(Images sourced from the Internet)

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

MOTHER TERESA: RELIGIOUS ADHERENCE WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND HER MOTHERLY LOVE

Mother Teresa Collage-1Image courtesy: Time and The Telegraph

It is in such a bad taste that the mind desperately urges to run away from the TV sets or think of that impossible situation where they all could be dumped somewhere deep so that their twisted voices cannot surface.

These so called Seers, Gurus, Saints, the modern day Shankaracharyas, the Sadhus, the religious Satraps, and their ugly bickering in the name of sanctifying the religion of the Hindus and their silly and unpardonable crusade against ‘Sai Baba worship’ – who is asking them to represent us – who are they to interfere in our personal matters?

Yes, practicing religion is personal and no one has any right to issue a dictat to follow this or that God or this or that Saint or a dictat on whom to believe in as a God, something that this ill-intended Dharm Sansad (religious congregation) in Chhatisgarh did yesterday.

And ‘they doing so’ tells us they do not follow the religion they boast to represent. In fact no religion allows for such gaudy display of God ownership and faith ownership. Unfortunately, such ‘representatives’ have had a long run.

Every religion, in its true essence, preaches and teaches love and peace. If we don’t talk of the distortions and the distorted leading opinions, no one religion imposes itself on the other.

In essence, every religion is anti-crusade, in its purest, in its spiritual form. In fact, a devout religious soul respects the other religion the same way as his/her.

And who can symbolize it better than the dear Mother – Mother Teresa – who was born on this day 104 years ago in Albania, a European country – and who spent her whole life in India since 1928.

She was a devout catholic and followed the ways and the teachings of Jesus religiously. It is said Jesus came to her asking her to be His messenger, spreading the message of His love and peace by working for those who needed it the most, the poor, the needy, and in-turn, receiving the love and peace Himself, because He exists in every such soul.

And she followed the message, with her beginning in 1948 and she was soon to become the Mother.

It hurt Jesus to love us, it hurt him. And to make sure we remember his great love he made himself the bread of life to satisfy our hunger for his love. Our hunger for God, because we have been created for that love. We have been created in his image. We have been created to love and be loved, and then he has become man to make it possible for us to love as he loved us. He makes himself the hungry one – the naked one – the homeless one – the sick one – the one in prison – the lonely one – the unwanted one – and he says: You did it to me. Hungry for our love, and this is the hunger of our poor people. This is the hunger that you and I must find, it may be in our own home. (From the Nobel Lecture delivered by the Mother on December 11, 1979 on being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.)

She remained a devout Catholic throughout her life but devoted her life to the people of a largely Hindu country. She never asked for the religion. Her doors were open for everyone. She found Jesus in every needy soul. She became so Indian that she is known as the ‘Blessed Teresa of Calcutta’. In fact, her religious adherence was her inspiration, the force behind her Motherly love.

People loving her were in every walk of like, in India, around the world, something that these religious satraps of Hinduism can never even dream of. That love, the devotion to her is still there.

What is happening to her Order is debatable but the Mother is beyond any questions.

We can and we need to rightly question Gods but messengers like Mother Teresa go beyond the reach of such questions because we experience the God through them. We can touch and feel the God through them. She remains among the people even after her passing away in 1997 because she remains in the soul of Humanity.

Saints are like her, a modern day Saint as the TIME Mother Teresa at 100: The Life and Works of a Modern Saint rightly says, not like them who were ready to tear into each other yesterday and today, on TV sets, in public.

Thanks for blessing India Mother. Thanks for being there for those who needed peace and who desperately needed help. Thanks for being there Mother.

Mother Teresa Collage 2Image courtesy: Indian Express, The Telegraph and Daily Mail

MOTHER TERESA: RELIGIOUS ADHERENCE WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND HER MOTHERLY LOVE

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/