Swarajya-Indic Academy Webinar: Dr Aroup Chatterjee’s ‘Chargesheet’ Against Mother Teresa

Swarajya-Indic Academy Webinar: Dr Aroup Chatterjee’s ‘Chargesheet’ Against Mother TeresaImage Credit: RAVEENDRAN/AFP/Getty Images
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  • The highlights from the Swarajya-Indic Academy webinar with Dr Aroup Chatterjee about his book, Mother Teresa: The Untold Story.


Swarajya and Indic Academy hosted a webinar with Dr Aroup Chatterjee, author of Mother Teresa: The Untold Story on Sunday, 4 September 2016.

Dr Chatterjee spoke about the false notions underlying Mother Teresa’s canonisation by the Vatican and the truth behind her “miracles”. Here are the highlights:

On canonising Mother Teresa

Dr Chatterjee says that this canonisation itself was a lopsided affair. He argues that if these miracles attributed to her were, say, attributed to a Hindu or Muslim, or if any Hindu or Muslim had called abortion the biggest evil, the liberals everywhere and especially the West would have revolted fiercely and created a ruckus. However, since Teresa was a nun, this did not happen, and most of the world celebrated these “miracles”.

Mother Teresa’s relationship with the media

Dr Chatterjee says that the notion that Teresa was “media-shy” is not true, as she had, for instance, spent a whole day in an interview with Hello magazine. He says he had himself written to Teresa asking for an interview in 1994 but never got any response. Dr Chatterjee adds that his criticism of hers started while she was alive and that it was not wrong to criticise someone’s legacy, especially when they were treated like an icon.

He also points out that most of the world outside of India wanted to know the other side of the story. He also says that we should hang our heads in shame at the way in which Indians behaved about this whole saga as it is merely a victory for superstition and witchcraft.

Rise of Teresa’s stardom

Mother Teresa would not have got international fame had it not been for Malcolm Muggeridge, a writer and journalist who was the first among those in her “fan club”. He had made a documentary about her. Several years later, the cameraman came out calling the entire thing a sham.

Dr Chatterjee, who was the brains behind the 1994 documentary Hell’s Angel, recalls how he, initially expecting the Indian populace to take the documentary criticising Teresa positively, was shocked to see the negative reaction towards the film and himself.

The denigration of Calcutta

Many in the West took a lot of effort in propagating Teresa’s myth that Calcutta was a city of filth, going so far as to say that nuns of the Ramakrishna Mission were collecting children and forcing them into the flesh trade. The author of The City of Joy, Dominique Lapierre, was later alleged to conspire with Teresa to denigrate Calcutta.

Dr Chatterjee makes it very clear that the denigration of Calcutta is akin to the denigration of India because we are shown as helpless people who cannot look after ourselves.

Rackets orchestrated by the Missionaries of Charity

In 1980, a year after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Teresa falsified documents and sold a seven-year-old boy to a Belgian Catholic couple for Rs 1.25 lakh. Seventy-four other such cases were found. Dr Chatterjee describes the Indian reaction to such trafficking instances as spineless.

The Missionaries of Charity also had an account with the Vatican Bank, and in 1981 was one of 15 entities associated with the Vatican Bank to be investigated for money laundering. While many respectable Catholic charities had withdrawn their accounts after the scandal broke out, Mother Teresa had not.

The congregation had many such sinister secrets, with money stashed abroad. The Missionaries of Charity did not file any returns with the Registrar of Trusts in Calcutta. Dr Chatterjee was refused access to look at the accounts, and the Registrar had claimed that he would require Sister Nirmala’s permission, which the Sister promptly refused to give.

In times of natural calamity in India, the Ramakrishna Mission was always there for relief operations while Teresa and her convent were never present. If any other charity had received such extraordinary support, they would have built at least a hospital - not so in Teresa’s case. However, in spite of all this, the Mission has not criticised her and chosen to stay mum on the issue.

Dr Chatterjee reveals that there is a recording where Teresa gloats about converting 29,000 dying people. Nobody has really said anything about it.

Any self-respecting culture should stop outsiders from coming in and claiming to do such so-called good work, which is actually completely fabricated, Dr Chatterjee says in one of many such insights in the webinar.

You can watch the webinar in full here:

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