India has no reason to be grateful to Mother Teresa

LurkerBaba

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Sanal Edamaruku is well know rationalist, this is from his blog


India has no reason to be grateful to Mother Teresa


by Sanal Edamaruku

India, especially Calcutta, is seen as the main beneficiary of Mother Teresa's legendary 'good work' for the poor that made her the most famous Catholic of our times, a Nobel Peace Prize Winner and a living saint. Evaluating what she has actually done here, I think, India has no reason to be grateful to her.

Mother Teresa has given a bad name to Calcutta, painting the beautiful, interesting, lively and culturally rich Indian metropolis in the colors of dirt, misery, hopelessness and death.
Styled into the big gutter, it became the famous backdrop for her very special charitable work. Her order is only one among more than 200 charitable organizations, which try to help the slum-dwellers of Calcutta to build a better future. It is locally not very visible or active. But tall claims like the absolutely baseless story of her slum school for 5000 children have brought enormous international publicity to her institutions. And enormous donations!

Mother Teresa has collected many, many millions (some say: billions) of Dollars in the name of India's paupers (and many, many more in the name of paupers in the other "gutters" of the world). Where did all this money go? It is surely not used to improve the lot of those, for whom it was meant. The nuns would hand out some bowls of soup to them and offer shelter and care to some of the sick and suffering. The richest order in the world is not very generous, as it wants to teach them the charm of poverty. "The suffering of the poor is something very beautiful and the world is being very much helped by the nobility of this example of misery and suffering," said Mother Teresa. Do we have to be grateful for this lecture of an eccentric billionaire?

The legend of her Homes for the Dying has moved the world to tears. Reality, however, is scandalous: In the overcrowded and primitive little homes, many patients have to share a bed with others. Though there are many suffering from tuberculosis, AIDS and other highly infectious illnesses, hygiene is no concern. The patients are treated with good words and insufficient (sometimes outdated) medicines, applied with old needles, washed in lukewarm water. One can hear the screams of people having maggots tweezered from their open wounds without pain relief. On principle, strong painkillers are even in hard cases not given. According to Mother Teresa's bizarre philosophy, it is "the most beautiful gift for a person that he can participate in the sufferings of Christ". Once she tried to comfort a screaming sufferer: "You are suffering, that means Jesus is kissing you!" The man got furious and screamed back: "Then tell your Jesus to stop kissing."

When Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Price, she used the opportunity of her worldwide telecast speech in Oslo to declare abortion the greatest evil in the world and to launch a fiery call against population control. Her charitable work, she admitted, was only part of her big fight against abortion and population control. This fundamentalist position is a slap in the face of India and other Third World Countries, where population control is one of the main keys for development and progress and social transformation. Do we have to be grateful to Mother Teresa for leading this worldwide propagandist fight against us with the money she collected in our name?

Mother Teresa did not serve the poor in Calcutta, she served the rich in the West. She helped them to overcome their bad conscience by taking billions of Dollars from them. Some of her donors were dictators and criminals, who tried to white wash their dirty vests. Mother Teresa revered them for a price. Most of her supporters, however, were honest people with good intentions and a warm heart, who fall for the illusion that the "Saint of the Gutter" was there to wipe away all tears and end all misery and undo all injustice in the world. Those in love with an illusion often refuse to see reality.
Okay, please

1. Don't make this Christainity vs Hinduism
2. Don't take this an attack on Indians belonging to the Christian faith
3. The author is an atheist and a rationalist
 
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LurkerBaba

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A series of videos by Christopher Hitchens (he is a militant atheist and a rationalist)

Part 1 Hell's Angel: Mother Teresa

Part 2 Hell's Angel: Mother Teresa

part 3 Hell's Angel: Mother Teresa
 
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LurkerBaba

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An article by Hitchens on Slate

Mommie Dearest

The pope beatifies Mother Teresa, a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud.


I think it was Macaulay who said that the Roman Catholic Church deserved great credit for, and owed its longevity to, its ability to handle and contain fanaticism. This rather oblique compliment belongs to a more serious age. What is so striking about the "beatification" of the woman who styled herself "Mother" Teresa is the abject surrender, on the part of the church, to the forces of showbiz, superstition, and populism.

It's the sheer tawdriness that strikes the eye first of all. It used to be that a person could not even be nominated for "beatification," the first step to "sainthood," until five years after his or her death. This was to guard against local or popular enthusiasm in the promotion of dubious characters. The pope nominated MT a year after her death in 1997. It also used to be that an apparatus of inquiry was set in train, including the scrutiny of an advocatus diaboli or "devil's advocate," to test any extraordinary claims. The pope has abolished this office and has created more instant saints than all his predecessors combined as far back as the 16th century.

As for the "miracle" that had to be attested, what can one say? Surely any respectable Catholic cringes with shame at the obviousness of the fakery. A Bengali woman named Monica Besra claims that a beam of light emerged from a picture of MT, which she happened to have in her home, and relieved her of a cancerous tumor. Her physician, Dr. Ranjan Mustafi, says that she didn't have a cancerous tumor in the first place and that the tubercular cyst she did have was cured by a course of prescription medicine. Was he interviewed by the Vatican's investigators? No. (As it happens, I myself was interviewed by them but only in the most perfunctory way. The procedure still does demand a show of consultation with doubters, and a show of consultation was what, in this case, it got.)

According to an uncontradicted report in the Italian paper L'Eco di Bergamo, the Vatican's secretary of state sent a letter to senior cardinals in June, asking on behalf of the pope whether they favored making MT a saint right away. The pope's clear intention has been to speed the process up in order to perform the ceremony in his own lifetime. The response was in the negative, according to Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, the Canadian priest who has acted as postulator or advocate for the "canonization." But the damage, to such integrity as the process possesses, has already been done.

During the deliberations over the Second Vatican Council, under the stewardship of Pope John XXIII, MT was to the fore in opposing all suggestions of reform. What was needed, she maintained, was more work and more faith, not doctrinal revision. Her position was ultra-reactionary and fundamentalist even in orthodox Catholic terms. Believers are indeed enjoined to abhor and eschew abortion, but they are not required to affirm that abortion is "the greatest destroyer of peace," as MT fantastically asserted to a dumbfounded audience when receiving the Nobel Peace Prize *. Believers are likewise enjoined to abhor and eschew divorce, but they are not required to insist that a ban on divorce and remarriage be a part of the state constitution, as MT demanded in a referendum in Ireland (which her side narrowly lost) in 1996. Later in that same year, she told Ladies Home Journal that she was pleased by the divorce of her friend Princess Diana, because the marriage had so obviously been an unhappy one "¦

This returns us to the medieval corruption of the church, which sold indulgences to the rich while preaching hellfire and continence to the poor. MT was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction. And she was a friend to the worst of the rich, taking misappropriated money from the atrocious Duvalier family in Haiti (whose rule she praised in return) and from Charles Keating of the Lincoln Savings and Loan. Where did that money, and all the other donations, go? The primitive hospice in Calcutta was as run down when she died as it always had been—she preferred California clinics when she got sick herself—and her order always refused to publish any audit. But we have her own claim that she opened 500 convents in more than a hundred countries, all bearing the name of her own order. Excuse me, but this is modesty and humility?

The rich world has a poor conscience, and many people liked to alleviate their own unease by sending money to a woman who seemed like an activist for "the poorest of the poor." People do not like to admit that they have been gulled or conned, so a vested interest in the myth was permitted to arise, and a lazy media never bothered to ask any follow-up questions. Many volunteers who went to Calcutta came back abruptly disillusioned by the stern ideology and poverty-loving practice of the "Missionaries of Charity," but they had no audience for their story. George Orwell's admonition in his essay on Gandhi—that saints should always be presumed guilty until proved innocent—was drowned in a Niagara of soft-hearted, soft-headed, and uninquiring propaganda.

One of the curses of India, as of other poor countries, is the quack medicine man, who fleeces the sufferer by promises of miraculous healing. Sunday was a great day for these parasites, who saw their crummy methods endorsed by his holiness and given a more or less free ride in the international press. Forgotten were the elementary rules of logic, that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and that what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence. More than that, we witnessed the elevation and consecration of extreme dogmatism, blinkered faith, and the cult of a mediocre human personality. Many more people are poor and sick because of the life of MT: Even more will be poor and sick if her example is followed. She was a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud, and a church that officially protects those who violate the innocent has given us another clear sign of where it truly stands on moral and ethical questions.

Correction, Oct. 21, 2003: This piece originally claimed that in her Nobel Peace Prize lecture, Mother Teresa called abortion and contraception the greatest threats to world peace. In that speech Mother Teresa did call abortion "the greatest destroyer of peace." But she did not much discuss contraception, except to praise "natural" family planning.(Return to corrected sentence.)
 

arya

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just one line she was great human and did lots of thing for humans
 

LurkerBaba

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LB, there are better threads like Link language, regionalism and greatest king crap.You've done a great job there every now and then.:D
:p

Anyways, before people start accusing the blog writer of being an RSS agent

Sanal Joseph Edamaruku is the founder-president of Rationalist International.[1] He is also the president of the Indian Rationalist Association. He is the editor of the internet publication Rationalist International, author of 25 books and numerous articles.
Sanal Edamaruku - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

LurkerBaba

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just one line she was great human and did lots of thing for humans
Please don't spoil Mother Terasa's name with such threads based on worthless people!

At least for all that she has done for the sake of humanity, let her at peace!

Close this thread.
So far no replies except " :lalala: MT was a good, godly person" . Cmon guys, use your critical thinking abilities, try to debate points of the article, offer counter points if you don't agree
 

Param

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So far no replies except " :lalala: MT was a good, godly person" . Cmon guys, use your critical thinking abilities, try to debate points of the article, offer counter points if you don't agree
Mod edit:- shoot the message.
 

LurkerBaba

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Disappointing...absolutely no critical thinking . Members not going beyond what they've learnt while at school

Anyways here's an interview with Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens Interview

Christopher Hitchens On Mother Theresa
(Interview)
by Matt Cherry

The following article is from Free Inquiry magazine, Volume 16, Number 4.

Below, Matt Cherry, executive director of the Council for Secular Humanism, interviews Christopher Hitchens about his book The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice (Verso, 1995) and his television program, which strongly criticized Mother Teresa. The interview recapitulates the most devastating critiques of Mother Teresa ever made. It also gives a very telling account by a leading journalist into the U.S. media's great reluctance to criticize religion and religious leaders.

As Free Inquiry was going to press, we heard that Mother Teresa was suffering from heart trouble and malaria and there was concern about her chances of survival. It was, therefore, suggested to the editors that it would be inappropriate to print an interview that contains criticism of Mother Teresa's work and influence. However, in view of the media's general failure to investigate the work of Mother Teresa or to publish critical comments about her, the editors felt it important to proceed with the publication of this revealing interview.

Christopher Hitchens is "Critic at Large" for Vanity Fair, writes the Minority Report column for The Nation, and is a frequent guest on current affairs and commentary television programs. He has written numerous books on international current affairs, including Blood, Class and Nostalgia: Anglo-American Ironies.

— EDS.

Free Inquiry: According to polls, Mother Teresa is the most respected woman in the world. Her name is a by-word for selfless dedication in the service of humanity. So why are you picking on this sainted old woman?

Christopher Hitchens: Partly because that impression is so widespread. But also because the sheer fact that this is considered unquestionable is a sign of what we are up against, namely the problem of credulity. One of the most salient examples of people's willingness to believe anything if it is garbed in the appearance of holiness is the uncritical acceptance of the idea of Mother Teresa as a saint by people who would normally be thinking - however lazily - in a secular or rational manner. In other words, in every sense it is an unexamined claim.

It's unexamined journalistically - no one really takes a look at what she does. And it is unexamined as to why it should be she who is spotlighted as opposed to many very selfless people who devote their lives to the relief of suffering in what we used to call the "Third World." Why is it never mentioned that her stated motive for the work is that of proselytization for religious fundamentalism, for the most extreme interpretation of Catholic doctrine? If you ask most people if they agree with the pope's views on population, for example, they say they think they are rather extreme. Well here's someone whose life's work is the propagation of the most extreme version of that.

That's the first motive. The second was a sort of journalistic curiosity as to why it was that no one had asked any serious questions about Mother Teresa's theory or practice. Regarding her practice, I couldn't help but notice that she had rallied to the side of the Duvalier family in Haiti, for instance, that she had taken money - over a million dollars - from Charles Keating, the Lincoln Savings and Loans swindler, even though it had been shown to her that the money was stolen; that she has been an ally of the most reactionary forces in India and in many other countries; that she has campaigned recently to prevent Ireland from ceasing to be the only country in Europe with a constitutional ban on divorce, that her interventions are always timed to assist the most conservative and obscurantist forces.

FI: Do you think this is because she is a shrewd political operator or that she is just naïve and used as a tool by others?

HITCHENS: I've often been asked that. And I couldn't say from real acquaintance with her which view is correct, because I've only met her once. But from observing her I don't think that she's naïve. I don't think she is particularly intelligent or that she has a complex mind, but I think she has a certain cunning.

Her instincts are very good: she seems to know when and where she might be needed and to turn up, still looking very simple. But it's a long way from Calcutta to Port au Prince airport in Haiti, and it's a long way from the airport to the presidential palace. And one can't just, in your humble way and dressed in a simple sari, turn up there. Quite a lot of things have to be arranged and thought about and allowed for in advance. You don't end up suddenly out of sheer simple naïveté giving a speech saying that the Duvalier family love the poor. All of that involves quite a high level of planning and calculation. But I think the genius of it is to make it look simple.

One of Mother Teresa's biographers - almost all the books written about her are by completely uncritical devotees - says, with a sense of absolute wonderment, that when Mother Teresa first met the pope in the Vatican, she arrived by bus dressed only in a sari that cost one rupee. Now that would be my definition of behaving ostentatiously. A normal person would put on at least her best scarf and take a taxi. To do it in the way that she did is the reverse of the simple path. It's obviously theatrical and calculated. And yet it is immediately written down as a sign of her utter holiness and devotion. Well, one doesn't have to be too cynical to see through that.

FI: You point out that, although she is very open about promoting Catholicism, Mother Teresa has this reputation of holiness amongst many non-Catholics and even secular people. And her reputation is based upon her charitable work for the sick and dying in Calcutta. What does she actually do there? What are her care facilities like?

HITCHENS: The care facilities are grotesquely simple: rudimentary, unscientific, miles behind any modern conception of what medical science is supposed to do. There have been a number of articles - I've collected some more since my book came out - about the failure and primitivism of her treatment of lepers and the dying, of her attitude towards medication and prophylaxis. Very rightly is it said that she tends to the dying, because if you were doing anything but dying she hasn't really got much to offer.

This is interesting because, first, she only proclaims to be providing people with a Catholic death, and, second, because of the enormous amounts of money mainly donated to rather than raised by her Order. We've been unable to audit this - no one has ever demanded an accounting of how much money has flowed in her direction. With that money she could have built at least one absolutely spanking new, modern teaching hospital in Calcutta without noticing the cost.

The facilities she runs are as primitive now as when she first became a celebrity. So that's obviously not where the money goes.

FI: How much money do you reckon she receives?

HITCHENS: Well, I have the testimony of a former very active member of her Order who worked for her for many years and ended up in the office Mother Teresa maintains in New York City. She was in charge of taking the money to the bank. She estimates that there must be $50 million in that bank account alone. She said that one of the things that began to raise doubts in her mind was that the Sisters always had to go around pretending that they were very poor and they couldn't use the money for anything in the neighborhood that required alleviation. Under the cloak of avowed poverty they were still soliciting donations, labor, food, and so on from local merchants. This she found as a matter of conscience to be offensive.

Now if that is the case for one place in New York, and since we know what huge sums she has been given by institutions like the Nobel Peace committee, other religious institutions, secular prize-giving organizations, and so on, we can speculate that if this money was being used for the relief of suffering we would be able to see the effect.

FI: So the $50 million is a very small portion of her wealth?

HITCHENS: I think it's a very small portion, and we should call for an audit of her organization. She carefully doesn't keep the money in India because the Indian government requires disclosure of foreign missionary organizations funds.

I think the answer to questions about her wealth was given by her in an interview where she said she had opened convents and nunneries in 120 countries. The money has simply been used for the greater glory of her order and the building of dogmatic, religious institutions.

FI: So she is spending the money on her own order of nuns? And that order will be named after her?

HITCHENS: Both of those suggestions are speculation, but they are good speculation. I think the order will be named after her when she becomes a saint, which is also a certainty: she is on the fast track to canonization and would be even if we didn't have a pope who was manufacturing saints by the bushel. He has canonized and beatified more people than eight of his predecessors combined.

FI: Hence the title of your book: The Missionary Position.

HITCHENS: That has got some people worked up. Of the very, very few people who have reviewed this book in the United States, one or two have objected to that title on the grounds that it's "sophomoric." Well, I think that a triple entendre requires a bit of sophistication.

FI: And your television program in the United Kingdom was called "Hell's Angel."

HITCHENS: Yes, very much over my objection, because I thought that that name had not even a single entendre to it. I wanted to call it "Sacred Cow." The book is the television program expanded by about a third. The program was limited by what we could find of Mother Teresa's activities recorded on film. In fact, I was delighted by how much of her activity was available on film: for example, her praising the Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha. There is also film of her groveling to the Duvaliers: licking the feet of the rich instead of washing the feet of the poor. But "60 Minutes" demanded a price that was greater than the whole cost of the rest of the production. So we had to use stills.

FI: How did Mother Teresa become such a great symbol of charity and saintliness?


HITCHENS: Her break into stardom came when Malcolm Muggeridge - a very pious British political and social pundit - adopted her for his pet cause. In 1969, he made a very famous film about her life - and later a book called Something Beautiful for God. Both the book and the film deserve the label hagiography.

Muggeridge was so credulous that he actually claimed that a miracle had occurred on camera while he was making the film. He claimed that a mysterious "kindly light" had appeared around Mother Teresa. This claim could easily be exploded by the testimony of the cameraman himself: he had some new film stock produced by Kodak for dark or difficult light conditions. The new stock was used for the interview with Mother Teresa. The light in the film looked rather odd, and the cameraman was just about to say so when Muggeridge broke in and said, "It's a miracle, it's divine light."

FI: Are we all victims of the Catholic public relations machine? Or has the West seized upon Mother Teresa as salve for its conscience?

HITCHENS: Well, you are giving me my answer in your question. For a long time the church was not quite sure what to do about her. For example, when there was the Second Vatican Council, in the 1960s, there was an equivalent meeting for the Catholics of the Indian subcontinent in Bombay. Mother Teresa turned up and said she was absolutely against any reconsideration of doctrine. She said we don't need any new thinking or reflection, what we need is more work and more faith. So she has been recognized as a difficult and dogmatic woman by the Catholics in India for a long time.

I think there were others in the church who suspected she was too ambitious, that she wouldn't accept discipline, that she wanted an order of her own. She was always petitioning to be able to go off and start her own show. Traditionally, the church has tended to suspect that kind of excessive zeal. I think it was an entirely secular breakthrough sponsored by Muggeridge, who wasn't then a Catholic.

So it wasn't the result of the propaganda of the Holy Office. But when the Catholic church realized it had a winner on its hands, it was quick to adopt her. She is a very great favorite of the faithful and a very good advertisement to attract non-believers or non-Catholics. And she's very useful for the current pope as a weapon against reformists and challengers within the church.

As to why those who would normally consider themselves rationalists or skeptics have fallen for the Mother Teresa myth, I think there is an element of post-colonial condescension involved, in that most people have a slightly bad conscience about "the wretched of the Earth" and they are glad to feel that there are those who will take action. Then also there is the general problem of credulity, of people being willing - once a reputation has been established - to judge people's actions by that reputation instead of the reputation by that action.

FI: Why do you think no other major media before you had exposed Mother Teresa?

HITCHENS: I'm really surprised by it. And also I'm surprised that no one in our community - that of humanists, rationalists, and atheists - had ever thought of doing it either.

There's a laziness in my profession, of tending to make the mistake I just identified of judging people by their reputation. In other words, if you call Saudi Arabia a "moderate Arab state" that's what it becomes for reportorial purposes. It doesn't matter what it does, it's a "moderate state." Similarly for Mother Teresa: she became a symbol for virtue, so even in cartoons, jokes, movies, and television shows, if you want a synonym for selflessness and holiness she is always mentioned.

It's inconvenient if someone robs you of a handy metaphor. If you finally printed the truth it would mean admitting that you missed it the first, second, and third time around. I've noticed a strong tendency in my profession for journalists not to like to admit that they ever missed anything or got anything wrong.

I think this is partly the reason, although in England my book got quite well reviewed because of the film, in the United States there seems to be the view that this book isn't worth reviewing. And it can't be for the usual reasons that the subject is too arcane and only of minority interest, or that there's not enough name recognition.

I believe there's also a version of multi-culturalism involved in this. That is to say, to be a Catholic in America is to be a member of two kinds of community: the communion of believers and the Catholic community, which is understood in a different sense, in other words, large numbers of Irish, Italian, Croatian, and other ethnic groups, who claim to be offended if any of the tenets of their religion are publicly questioned. Thus you are in a row with a community if you choose to question the religion. Under one interpretation of the rules of multi-culturalism that is not kosher: you can't do that because you can't offend people in their dearest identity. There are some secular people who are vulnerable to that very mistake.

I'll give you an interesting example, Walter Goodman, the New York Times television critic, saw my film and then wrote that he could not understand why it was not being shown on American television. He laid down a challenge to television to show this film. There was then a long silence until I got a call from Connie Chung's people in New York. They flew me up and said they would like to do a long item about the program, using excerpts from it, interviewing me and talking about the row that had resulted. They obviously wanted to put responsibility for the criticism of Mother Teresa onto me rather than adopt it themselves - they were already planning the damage control.

But they didn't make any program. And the reason they gave me was that they thought that if they did they would be accused of being Jewish and attacked in the same way as the distributors of The Last Temptation of Christ had been. And that this would stir up Catholic-Jewish hostility in New York. It was very honest of them to put it that way. They had already imagined what might be said and the form it might take and they had persuaded themselves that it wasn't worth it.

FI: So your film has never been shown in the United States?

HITCHENS: No, and it certainly never will be. You can make that prediction with absolute certainty; and then you can brood on what that might suggest.

FI: What was the response in Britain to your exposé of Mother Teresa? Did you get a lot of criticism for it?

HITCHENS: When the film was shown, it prompted the largest number of phone calls that the channel had ever logged. That was expected. It was also expected that there would be a certain amount of similarity in the calls. I've read the log, and many of the people rang to say exactly the same thing, often in the same words. I think there was an element of organization to it.

But what was more surprising was that it was also the largest number of calls in favor that the station had ever had. That's rare because it's usually the people who want to complain who lift the phone; people who liked the program don't ring up. That's a phenomenon well known in the trade, and it's a reason why people aren't actually all that impressed when the switchboard is jammed with protest calls. They know it won't be people calling in to praise and they know it's quite easy to organize.

A really remarkable number of people rung in to say it's high time there was a program like this. The logs scrupulously record the calls verbatim, and I noticed that the standard of English and of reasoning in the pro calls was just so much higher as to make one feel that perhaps all was not lost.

In addition to the initial viewer response, there was also a row in the press. But on the whole both sides of the case were put. Nonetheless, it was depressing to see how many people objected not to what was said but to its being said at all. Even among secular people there was an astonishment, as if I really had done something iconoclastic. People would say "Christopher Hitchens alleges that Mother Teresa keeps company with dictators" and so on, as though it hadn't been proven. But none of the critics have ever said, even the most hostile ones, that anything I say about her is untrue. No one has ever disproved any of that.

Probably the most intelligent review appeared in the Tablet, a English monthly Catholic paper. There was a long, serious and quite sympathetic review by someone who had obviously worked with the church in India and knew Mother Teresa. The reviewer said Mother Teresa's work and ideology do present some problems for the faith.

FI: But in America the idea that Mother Teresa is a sacred cow who must not be criticized won out and your book and your critique of Mother Teresa never got an airing?

HITCHENS: Yes, pretty much. Everything in American reviews depends on the New York Times Book Review. My book was only mentioned in the batch of short notices at the end. Considering that Mother Teresa had a book out at the same time, I thought this was very strange. Any book review editor with any red corpuscles at all would put both books together, look up a reviewer with an interest in religion and ask him or her to write an essay comparing and contrasting them. I have been a reviewer and worked in a newspaper office, and that is what I would have expected to happen. That it didn't is suggestive and rather depressing.

FI: The Mother Teresa myth requires the Indians to play the role of the hapless victims. What do the Indians think of Mother Teresa and of the image she gives of India?

HITCHENS: I've got an enormous pile of coverage from India, where my book was published. And the reviews seem to be overwhelmingly favorable. Of course it comes at a time when there is a big crisis in India about fundamentalism and secularism.

There are many Indians who object to the image of their society and its people that is projected. From Mother Teresa and from her fans you would receive the impression that in Calcutta there is nothing but torpor, squalor, and misery, and people barely have the energy to brush the flies from their eyes while extending a begging bowl. Really and truly that is a slander on a fantastically interesting, brave, highly evolved, and cultured city, which has universities, film schools, theaters, book shops, literary cafes, and very vibrant politics. There is indeed a terrible problem of poverty and overcrowding, but despite that there isn't all that much mendicancy. People do not tug at your sleeve and beg. They are proud of the fact that they don't.

The sources of Calcutta's woes and miseries are the very overpopulation that the church says is no problem, and the mass influx of refugees from neighboring regions that have been devastated by religious and sectarian warfare in the name of God. So those who are believers owe Calcutta big time, they should indeed be working to alleviate what they are responsible for. But the pretense that they are doing so is a big fraud.

FI: You mention in your book that Mother Teresa is used by the Religious Right and fundamentalist Protestants who traditionally are very anti-Catholic as a symbol of religious holiness with which to beat secular humanists.

HITCHENS: Yes, she's a poster girl for the right-to-life wing in America. She was used as the example of Christian idealism and family values, of all things, by Ralph Reed - the front man of the Pat Robertson forces. That's a symptom of a wider problem that I call "reverse ecumenicism," an opportunist alliance between extreme Catholics and extreme Protestants who used to exclude and anathematize one another.

In private Pat Robertson has nothing but contempt for other Christian denominations, including many other extreme Protestant ones. But in public the Christian Coalition stresses that it is very, very keen to make an alliance with Catholics. There is a shallow, opportunist ecumenicism among religious extremists, and Mother Teresa is quite willingly and happily in its service. She knows exactly who she is working for and with. But I think she is happiest when doing things like going to Ireland and intervening in the Divorce Referendum, as she did recently.

By the way, there is an interesting angle to that which has not yet appeared in print. During the Divorce Referendum the Irish Catholic church threatened to deny the sacrament to women who wanted to be remarried. There were no exceptions to be allowed: it didn't matter if you had been married to an alcoholic who beat you and sexually assaulted your children, you were not going to get a second chance in this world or the next. And that is the position that Mother Teresa intervened in Ireland to support.

Now shift the scene: Mother Teresa is a sort of confessor to Princess Diana. They have met many times. You can see the mutual interest; I'm not sure which of them needs the other the most. But Mother Teresa was interviewed by Ladies Home Journal, a magazine read by millions of American women, and in the course of it she says that she heard that Princess Diana was getting divorced and she really hopes so because she will be so much happier that way.

So there is forgiveness after all, but guess for whom. You couldn't have it more plain than that. I was slightly stunned myself because, although I think there are many fraudulent things about Mother Teresa, I also think there are many authentic things about her. Anyway, she was forced to issue a statement saying that marriage is God's work and can't be undone and all the usual tripe. But when she was speaking from the heart, she was more forgiving of divorce.

FI: A footnote in your book criticizes Mother Teresa for forgiving you for your film about her.

HITCHENS: I said that I didn't ask for forgiveness and I wasn't aware that she could bestow it in any case. Of all the things in the book, that is the one that has attracted most hostile comment - even from friends and people who agree with me. They ask why I object to that, what's wrong with forgiveness? My explanation is that it would be O.K. if she was going to forgive everyone. When she went to Bhopal after the Union Carbide industrial accident killed thousands, she kept saying "Forgive, forgive, forgive." It's O.K. to forgive Union Carbide for its negligence, but for a woman married to an alcoholic child abuser in Ireland who has ten children and no one to look after her, there is no forgiveness in this life or the next one. But there is forgiveness for Princess Diana.

FI: There is a Roman Catholic doctrine about the redemption of the soul through suffering. This can be seen in Mother Teresa's work: she thinks suffering is good, and she doesn't use pain relievers in her clinics and so forth. Does she take the same attitude towards her own health? Does she live in accordance with what she preaches?

HITCHENS: I hesitated to cover this in my book, but I decided I had to publish that she has said that the suffering of the poor is something very beautiful and the world is being very much helped by the nobility of this example of misery and suffering.

FI: A horrible thing to say.

HITCHENS: Yes, evil in fact. To say it was unChristian unfortunately would not be true, although many people don't realize that is what Christians believe. It is a positively immoral remark in my opinion, and it should be more widely known than it is.

She is old, she has had various episodes with her own health, and she checks into some of the costliest and finest clinics in the West herself. I hesitated to put that in the book because it seemed as though it would be ad hominem (or ad feminam) and I try never to do that. I think that the doctrine of hating the sin and loving the sinner is obviously a stupid one, because its a false antithesis, but a version of it is morally defensible. Certainly in arguments one is only supposed to attack the arguments and not the person presenting them. But the contrast seemed so huge in this case.

It wasn't so much that it showed that her facilities weren't any good, but it showed that they weren't medical facilities at all. There wasn't any place she runs that she could go; as far as I know, their point isn't treatment. And in fairness to her, she has never really claimed that treatment is the point. Although she does accept donations from people who have fooled themselves into thinking so, I haven't found any occasion where she has given a false impression of her work. The only way she could be said to be responsible for spreading it is that she knowingly accepts what comes due to that false impression.

FI: But if people go to her clinics for the dying and they need medical care, does she send them on to the proper places?

HITCHENS: Not according to the testimony of a number of witnesses. I printed the accounts of several witnesses whose testimony I could verify and I've had many other communications from former volunteers in Calcutta and in other missions. All of them were very shocked to find when they got there that they had missed some very crucial point and that very often people who come under the false impression that they would receive medical care are either neglected or given no advice. In other words, anyone going in the hope of alleviation of a serious medical condition has made a huge mistake.

......

{offtopic stuff}
 

Daredevil

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From what I read, she was a good preacher and missionary. One look at her Nobel Prize Speech tell us that it is full of missionary and preacher language. Also I don't like the fact that she encouraged the raped women during 1971 genocide of bangladeshis not to abort the babies. She may be a good person but viewed everything from the prism of Catholicism. Anyways, that's my view.

Nobel Lecture

As we have gathered here together to thank God for the Nobel Peace Prize I think it will be beautiful that we pray the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi which always surprises me very much - we pray this prayer every day after Holy Communion, because it is very fitting for each one of us, and I always wonder that 4-500 years ago as St. Francis of Assisi composed this prayer that they had the same difficulties that we have today, as we compose this prayer that fits very nicely for us also. I think some of you already have got it - so we will pray together.2

Let us thank God for the opportunity that we all have together today, for this gift of peace that reminds us that we have been created to live that peace, and Jesus became man to bring that good news to the poor. He being God became man in all things like us except sin, and he proclaimed very clearly that he had come to give the good news. The news was peace to all of good will and this is something that we all want - the peace of heart - and God loved the world so much that he gave his son - it was a giving - it is as much as if to say it hurt God to give, because he loved the world so much that he gave his son, and he gave him to Virgin Mary, and what did she do with him?

As soon as he came in her life - immediately she went in haste to give that good news, and as she came into the house of her cousin, the child - the unborn child - the child in the womb of Elizabeth, leapt with joy. He was that little unborn child, was the first messenger of peace. He recognised the Prince of Peace, he recognised that Christ has come to bring the good news for you and for me. And as if that was not enough - it was not enough to become a man - he died on the cross to show that greater love, and he died for you and for me and for that leper and for that man dying of hunger and that naked person lying in the street not only of Calcutta, but of Africa, and New York, and London, and Oslo - and insisted that we love one another as he loves each one of us. And we read that in the Gospel very clearly - love as I have loved you - as I love you - as the Father has loved me, I love you - and the harder the Father loved him, he gave him to us, and how much we love one another, we, too, must give each other until it hurts. It is not enough for us to say: I love God, but I do not love my neighbour. St. John says you are a liar if you say you love God and you don't love your neighbour. How can you love God whom you do not see, if you do not love your neighbour whom you see, whom you touch, with whom you live. And so this is very important for us to realise that love, to be true, has to hurt. 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.

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. Maybe in our own family we have somebody who is feeling lonely, who is feeling sick, who is feeling worried, and these are difficult days for everybody. Are we there, are we there to receive them, is the mother there to receive the child?

I was surprised in the West to see so many young boys and girls given into drugs, and I tried to find out why - why is it like that, and the answer was: Because there is no one in the family to receive them. Father and mother are so busy they have no time. Young parents are in some institution and the child takes back to the street and gets involved in something. We are talking of peace. These are things that break peace, but I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a direct war, a direct killing - direct murder by the mother herself. And we read in the Scripture, for God says very clearly: Even if a mother could forget her child - I will not forget you - I have carved you in the palm of my hand. We are carved in the palm of His hand, so close to Him that unborn child has been carved in the hand of God. And that is what strikes me most, the beginning of that sentence, that even if a mother could forget something impossible - but even if she could forget - I will not forget you. And today the greatest means - the greatest destroyer of peace is abortion. And we who are standing here - our parents wanted us. We would not be here if our parents would do that to us. Our children, we want them, we love them, but what of the millions. Many people are very, very concerned with the children in India, with the children in Africa where quite a number die, maybe of malnutrition, of hunger and so on, but millions are dying deliberately by the will of the mother. And this is what is the greatest destroyer of peace today. Because if a mother can kill her own child - what is left for me to kill you and you kill me - there is nothing between. And this I appeal in India, I appeal everywhere: Let us bring the child back, and this year being the child's year: What have we done for the child? At the beginning of the year I told, I spoke everywhere and I said: Let us make this year that we make every single child born, and unborn, wanted. And today is the end of the year, have we really made the children wanted? I will give you something terrifying. We are fighting abortion by adoption, we have saved thousands of lives, we have sent words to all the clinics, to the hospitals, police stations - please don't destroy the child, we will take the child. So every hour of the day and night it is always somebody, we have quite a number of unwedded mothers - tell them come, we will take care of you, we will take the child from you, and we will get a home for the child. And we have a tremendous demand from families who have no children, that is the blessing of God for us. And also, we are doing another thing which is very beautiful - we are teaching our beggars, our leprosy patients, our slum dwellers, our people of the street, natural family planning.

And in Calcutta alone in six years - it is all in Calcutta - we have had 61,273 babies less from the families who would have had, but because they practise this natural way of abstaining, of self-control, out of love for each other. We teach them the temperature meter which is very beautiful, very simple, and our poor people understand. And you know what they have told me? Our family is healthy, our family is united, and we can have a baby whenever we want. So clear - those people in the street, those beggars - and I think that if our people can do like that how much more you and all the others who can know the ways and means without destroying the life that God has created in us.

The poor people are very great people. They can teach us so many beautiful things. The other day one of them came to thank and said: You people who have vowed chastity you are the best people to teach us family planning. Because it is nothing more than self-control out of love for each other. And I think they said a beautiful sentence. And these are people who maybe have nothing to eat, maybe they have not a home where to live, but they are great people. The poor are very wonderful people. One evening we went out and we picked up four people from the street. And one of them was in a most terrible condition - and I told the Sisters: You take care of the other three, I take of this one that looked worse. So I did for her all that my love can do. I put her in bed, and there was such a beautiful smile on her face. She took hold of my hand, as she said one word only: Thank you - and she died.

I could not help but examine my conscience before her, and I asked what would I say if I was in her place. And my answer was very simple. I would have tried to draw a little attention to myself, I would have said I am hungry, that I am dying, I am cold, I am in pain, or something, but she gave me much more - she gave me her grateful love. And she died with a smile on her face. As that man whom we picked up from the drain, half eaten with worms, and we brought him to the home. I have lived like an animal in the street, but I am going to die like an angel, loved and cared for. And it was so wonderful to see the greatness of that man who could speak like that, who could die like that without blaming anybody, without cursing anybody, without comparing anything. Like an angel - this is the greatness of our people. And that is why we believe what Jesus had said: I was hungry - I was naked - I was homeless - I was unwanted, unloved, uncared for - and you did it to me.

I believe that we are not real social workers. We may be doing social work in the eyes of the people, but we are really contemplatives in the heart of the world. For we are touching the Body of Christ 24 hours. We have 24 hours in this presence, and so you and I. You too try to bring that presence of God in your family, for the family that prays together stays together. And I think that we in our family don't need bombs and guns, to destroy to bring peace - just get together, love one another, bring that peace, that joy, that strength of presence of each other in the home. And we will be able to overcome all the evil that is in the world.

There is so much suffering, so much hatred, so much misery, and we with our prayer, with our sacrifice are beginning at home. Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the action that we do. It is to God Almighty - how much we do it does not matter, because He is infinite, but how much love we put in that action. How much we do to Him in the person that we are serving.

Some time ago in Calcutta we had great difficulty in getting sugar, and I don't know how the word got around to the children, and a little boy of four years old, Hindu boy, went home and told his parents: I will not eat sugar for three days, I will give my sugar to Mother Teresa for her children. After three days his father and mother brought him to our home. I had never met them before, and this little one could scarcely pronounce my name, but he knew exactly what he had come to do. He knew that he wanted to share his love.

And this is why I have received such a lot of love from you all. From the time that I have come here I have simply been surrounded with love, and with real, real understanding love. It could feel as if everyone in India, everyone in Africa is somebody very special to you. And I felt quite at home I was telling Sister today. I feel in the Convent with the Sisters as if I am in Calcutta with my own Sisters. So completely at home here, right here.

And so here I am talking with you - I want you to find the poor here, right in your own home first. And begin love there. Be that good news to your own people. And find out about your next-door neighbour - do you know who they are? I had the most extraordinary experience with a Hindu family who had eight children. A gentleman came to our house and said: Mother Teresa, there is a family with eight children, they had not eaten for so long - do something. So I took some rice and I went there immediately. And I saw the children - their eyes shinning with hunger - I don't know if you have ever seen hunger. But I have seen it very often. And she took the rice, she divided the rice, and she went out. When she came back I asked her - where did you go, what did you do? And she gave me a very simple answer: They are hungry also. What struck me most was that she knew - and who are they, a Muslim family - and she knew. I didn't bring more rice that evening because I wanted them to enjoy the joy of sharing. But there were those children, radiating joy, sharing the joy with their mother because she had the love to give. And you see this is where love begins - at home. And I want you - and I am very grateful for what I have received. It has been a tremendous experience and I go back to India - I will be back by next week, the 15th I hope - and I will be able to bring your love.

And I know well that you have not given from your abundance, but you have given until it has hurt you. Today the little children they have - I was so surprised - there is so much joy for the children that are hungry. That the children like themselves will need love and care and tenderness, like they get so much from their parents. So let us thank God that we have had this opportunity to come to know each other, and this knowledge of each other has brought us very close. And we will be able to help not only the children of India and Africa, but will be able to help the children of the whole world, because as you know our Sisters are all over the world. And with this prize that I have received as a prize of peace, I am going to try to make the home for many people that have no home. Because I believe that love begins at home, and if we can create a home for the poor - I think that more and more love will spread. And we will be able through this understanding love to bring peace, be the good news to the poor. The poor in our own family first, in our country and in the world.

To be able to do this, our Sisters, our lives have to be woven with prayer. They have to be woven with Christ to be able to understand, to be able to share. Because today there is so much suffering - and I feel that the passion of Christ is being relived all over again - are we there to share that passion, to share that suffering of people. Around the world, not only in the poor countries, but I found the poverty of the West so much more difficult to remove. When I pick up a person from the street, hungry, I give him a plate of rice, a piece of bread, I have satisfied. I have removed that hunger. But a person that is shut out, that feels unwanted, unloved, terrified, the person that has been thrown out from society - that poverty is so hurtable and so much, and I find that very difficult. Our Sisters are working amongst that kind of people in the West. So you must pray for us that we may be able to be that good news, but we cannot do that without you, you have to do that here in your country. You must come to know the poor, maybe our people here have material things, everything, but I think that if we all look into our own homes, how difficult we find it sometimes to smile at each, other, and that the smile is the beginning of love.

And so let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love, and once we begin to love each other naturally we want to do something. So you pray for our Sisters and for me and for our Brothers, and for our Co-Workers that are around the world. That we may remain faithful to the gift of God, to love Him and serve Him in the poor together with you. What we have done we should not have been able to do if you did not share with your prayers, with your gifts, this continual giving. But I don't want you to give me from your abundance, I want that you give me until it hurts.

The other day I received 15 dollars from a man who has been on his back for twenty years, and the only part that he can move is his right hand. And the only companion that he enjoys is smoking. And he said to me: I do not smoke for one week, and I send you this money. It must have been a terrible sacrifice for him, but see how beautiful, how he shared, and with that money I bought bread and I gave to those who are hungry with a joy on both sides, he was giving and the poor were receiving. This is something that you and I - it is a gift of God to us to be able to share our love with others. And let it be as it was for Jesus. Let us love one another as he loved us. Let us love Him with undivided love. And the joy of loving Him and each other - let us give now - that Christmas is coming so close. Let us keep that joy of loving Jesus in our hearts. And share that joy with all that we come in touch with. And that radiating joy is real, for we have no reason not to be happy because we have no Christ with us. Christ in our hearts, Christ in the poor that we meet, Christ in the smile that we give and the smile that we receive. Let us make that one point: That no child will be unwanted, and also that we meet each other always with a smile, especially when it is difficult to smile.

I never forget some time ago about fourteen professors came from the United States from different universities. And they came to Calcutta to our house. Then we were talking about that they had been to the home for the dying. We have a home for the dying in Calcutta, where we have picked up more than 36,000 people only from the streets of Calcutta, and out of that big number more than 18,000 have died a beautiful death. They have just gone home to God; and they came to our house and we talked of love, of compassion, and then one of them asked me: Say, Mother, please tell us something that we will remember, and I said to them: Smile at each other, make time for each other in your family. Smile at each other. And then another one asked me: Are you married, and I said: Yes, and I find it sometimes very difficult to smile at Jesus because he can be very demanding sometimes. This is really something true, and there is where love comes - when it is demanding, and yet we can give it to Him with joy. Just as I have said today, I have said that if I don't go to Heaven for anything else I will be going to Heaven for all the publicity because it has purified me and sacrificed me and made me really ready to go to Heaven. I think that this is something, that we must live life beautifully, we have Jesus with us and He loves us. If we could only remember that God loves me, and I have an opportunity to love others as he loves me, not in big things, but in small things with great love, then Norway becomes a nest of love. And how beautiful it will be that from here a centre for peace has been given. That from here the joy of life of the unborn child comes out. If you become a burning light in the world of peace, then really the Nobel Peace Prize is a gift of the Norwegian people. God bless you!.

Mother Teresa - Nobel Lecture
 

Yusuf

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Running an NGO has been a profitable business for a long time. Poverty sells. Remember there was a time when tr westeners came to see poverty, beggars, snake charmers.

If the article is true then there is no surprise in it. Today anything is a money making venture if sold well.
 

W.G.Ewald

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For every person who dedicates his life to helping the helpless, there will be 100000 intellectuals or atheists who will tell us why it means nothing. So goes the world.

Why is this a subject for DFI?
 

LurkerBaba

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Whatever her faith system she did more to humanity than her critics.No statue was ever erected for a critic
For every person who dedicates his life to helping the helpless, there will be 100000 intellectuals or atheists who will tell us why it means nothing. So goes the world.

Why is this a subject for DFI?
We're still avoiding debate. The articles say that she made the problems worse and did not actually help people. Let me exract a few points


1. She actually liked poverty and suffering
2. She was against birth control, which exacerbated the problems from Bangladeshi refugees
3. Church ran a big PR campaign, and obviously we all know how political the Nobel Peace prize is

Some more extracts


Mother Teresa did not serve the poor in Calcutta, she served the rich in the West. She helped them to overcome their bad conscience by taking billions of Dollars from them.

One of the most salient examples of people's willingness to believe anything if it is garbed in the appearance of holiness is the uncritical acceptance of the idea of Mother Teresa as a saint by people who would normally be thinking - however lazily - in a secular or rational manner. In other words, in every sense it is an unexamined claim.
 

W.G.Ewald

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Mother Teresa has given a bad name to Calcutta, painting the beautiful, interesting, lively and culturally rich Indian metropolis in the colors of dirt, misery, hopelessness and death.
India should sue Mother Teresa's organization for loss of revenue from tourism. Seek justice from the court.
 

Iamanidiot

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LB she did a lot as much as I have a lot of foul thing called soul harvestings the churches do.She did more to Calcuttas poor as far as birth control she was just adhering to her faith
 

LurkerBaba

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I still don't get the reluctance. Why... we've had multiple threads on Gandhi (the 'Father of our Nation'), we've scrutinized him, had all kinds of viewpoints. Don't know why this particular topic suddenly becomes uber holy


We're still avoiding debate. The articles say that she made the problems worse and did not actually help people. Let me exract a few points


1. She actually liked poverty and suffering
2. She was against birth control, which exacerbated the problems from Bangladeshi refugees
3. Church ran a big PR campaign, and obviously we all know how political the Nobel Peace prize is

Some more extracts



Mother Teresa did not serve the poor in Calcutta, she served the rich in the West. She helped them to overcome their bad conscience by taking billions of Dollars from them.
One of the most salient examples of people's willingness to believe anything if it is garbed in the appearance of holiness is the uncritical acceptance of the idea of Mother Teresa as a saint by people who would normally be thinking - however lazily - in a secular or rational manner. In other words, in every sense it is an unexamined claim.
 

Iamanidiot

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LB the mahatma is god the best thing we have had got in a millenia .Only right wing morons with zero knowledge of social history fail to recognize this
 

LurkerBaba

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Whatever her faith system she did more to humanity than her critics.No statue was ever erected for a critic
The same could be said about Mayawati my friend

LB the mahatma is god the best thing we have had got in a millenia .Only right wing morons with zero knowledge of social history fail to recognize this
AFAIK BR Ambedkar and Dalit organizations hate him
 
Last edited:

Iamanidiot

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Mayawathi is a very positive thing for indian politics.Ambedkar was critical of gandhi he never hated him.Ambedkar owed his position in constitution drafting to gandhi
 

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