There are two sides to every coin.
We are familiar with the recurring narrative peddled by the media, but is that enough evidence to establish a conclusive opinion about someone?
We’re looking at Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, famously known as Mother Teresa, who established herself in the books of history as the symbol of altruism.
But how could a humanitarian who selflessly endeavored to serve humankind possibly harbor anything but the kindest of intentions in her heart? Let’s take a look at the other side of the coin.
Historians, journalists, critics, and witnesses have leveled criticism at the following:
1. Poor Quality of Healthcare
Home for the Dying was founded by Mother Teresa in 1952, two years after she established the ‘Missionaries of Charity’ in Calcutta.
Robin Fox, a British Editor who visited the hospice remarked at the
painfully sub-standard quality of medical care.
In addition to a shortfall of doctors and skilled nurses, the facility made no distinction between patients with treatable and un-treatable illnesses, thereby exposing the already ill to a host of new diseases.
Inadequate sterilization, lack of attention to proper hygiene and
medical care, lack of analgesics further strengthened the claim
2. Religious Interference
Christopher Hitchens, a British-American writer, and popular social critic, whose very name is synonymous with the criticisms of many a popular figure, argued in his book ‘The Missionary Position’ that baptisms of the poor were discreetly carried out in the premises of her order without their knowledge, which resulted in the forced conversion of hundreds of Hindus and Muslims.
3. Views on Abortion
As Mother Teresa put it in her own words, “Abortion is profoundly anti-women. Three-quarters of its victims are women: Half the babies and all the mothers.”
4. Questionable Political Tie-Ups
Mother Teresa raised many eyebrows with her relationships to public figures laden in controversy, some of which included Jean-Claude Duvalier, a Haitian Dictator, scandalous Charles Keating, and Enver
5. Her Take on the Suffering of the Poor
During a 1981 press conference, Mother Teresa divulged to a journalist a statement that would fuel critics’ stand on her ‘sainthood’.
“I think it is very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot, to share it with the passion of Christ. I think the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people” she commented.
She believed that their suffering brought them closer to Jesus.
6. Breaking of Law
There are around 200 charitable organizations in Kolkata catering to the poor and ‘Missionaries of Charity’ is not amongst the list of the most charitable organizations in the city. This made people question where
the millions of rupees donated to the organization went.
The Indian Government also requires charitable organizations to publish their accounts but ‘Missionaries of Charity’ paid no heed to the law of the land.
This laid the foundation for the criticisms of notable critics like Christopher Hitchens, Tariq Ali and Aroup Chatterjee. Whether or not her saintly visage belied corrupt motives is subject to debate, but this marks the end of an unquestioned legacy and makes room for an alternate history.
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