By Rohini Mohan
There are millions of people who set out to do something with their lives. Some fail, and fade into oblivion while most fall to mediocrity; but there are a chosen few who can’t help but succeed. It’s almost like there is a divine force guiding them on their journey. Mother Theresa was one of the blessed ones. And she chose to share her largesse with the City of Joy, bringing succor to many. Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu arrived in India at the age of 18. Clad in her iconic white sari with the blue border, she lived and worked amongst the poorest of the poor, until her death a decade ago this week.
Faith, selflessness, determination; Mother Theresa had these in spades. ‘Saint of the Gutters’, she gave hope and sanctuary to the lost and the abandoned and in return the world gave her the Nobel Prize and put her face on a stamp.
She received more than her fair share of brickbats though. Often referred to as fundamentalist and extremist, particularly for her views on abortion, accused of accepting donations without questioning the source, known to have been plagued by doubts of the very existence of Jesus and Heaven, she received stinging criticisms from many. But she went her way doggedly, keeping her inner battles within, allowing nothing to deter her from doing her duty.
She was overshadowed in death by glamorous Lady Di. – I vaguely remember a passing reference to her death during the funeral proceedings of the princess. If I had not switched to Calcutta Doordarshan which was mourning her passing with some sepulchral Shehnai, I probably would not have heard of it till days later. I am willing to wager that all her (hypocritical) critics had their eyes glued to the TV watching Elton John serenade the English Rose while the wizened old Mother to many was breathing her last.
And now, years after her death, we shout out from the rooftops that her beatification and the miracle that preceded it smack of rigging. I wonder what it is with us that we always look a gift horse in the mouth. Why not appreciate the good and ignore the rest? So what if she had her flaws, was she not human? Christianity says that all Christians are Saints. What better candidate for Sainthood than Mother Theresa? That she saved so many souls should be miracle enough for her canonization.
“I could have told you Agnes, this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you…”
Call it our good Karma; she dedicated her entire life to an India in need.
Picture from Creative Commons