Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Kolkata will take a century to recover from Mother Teresa

Teresa's canonisation has reignited criticism of her methods and her order, which detractors claim focused on the elevation, rather than the relief, of suffering.
Critics say "grossly inadequate medical care was given to the sick and dying, syringes were reused without sterilisation, pain relief was non-existent or negligible and conditions were unhygienic", reports The Guardian.   On papal orders, 1,500 homeless people were brought to Rome overnight on buses from around Italy to be given seats of honour at the canonisation of Mother Teresa, revered around the world for her work with the destitute and dying.

Kolkata will take a century to recover from Mother Teresa
By IANS | Sep 03, 2016, 09.44 AM IST

If Mother Teresa, to be canonised at the Vatican on September 4, is to be named a patron saint of anything it should be for "misinformation". In the last 20 years of her life, truth became an unknown entity to her. The media aided and abetted her lack of integrity and in a way she cannot be blamed for believing in her own lies.

Intellect was not her strong point and, for someone like her, to be surrounded by hordes of sycophants who were telling her if she said black was white then that had to be true, it became intoxicating. The media did spread the mega-myth about her, but she herself was the source. She repeatedly told the world she went around the city 24x7 "picking up" destitute from its squalid "gutters" (she did not), that she fed up to 9,000 in her soup kitchens (she did not), she never refused a helpless child (she did as a rule), that the dying destitute in her so-called home for the dying Nirmal Hriday died a "beautiful death" (they were treated harshly and often died a miserable, painful death).

Mother Teresa was an ultimate politician who worked on behalf of the Vatican. No, she was not an "agent" as that would be conspiratorial. She did not have to do much subterfuge or skulduggery in India itself, as Indians, particularly the media, were in awe of her and connived with her.

When she said in her Nobel speech that she created 61,237 fewer children from (slum) couples abstaining from sex, no one challenged her on her bogus and fantastic figure; neither did they ask her how at the height of the Cold War abortion could be the "greatest destroyer of peace" (said a thousand times, including in her Nobel speech).

I do not blame world media as much as I blame Indian and particularly Kolkata media. Here she was, a jet-setting celebrity -- although appended with the epithet "of Calcutta" -- spending six to nine months in a year in Europe and the US, making strange claims about her work and about the disgusting state of the city, but never to be seen in the city's disasters -- major or minor.

Why was she not asked why she re-used needles on her residents in Nirmal Hriday (it was official policy) when she herself received the finest care in the world's best hospitals?

Even after her death, the Indian fear of blue-bordered saris continues. On August 1, 2005, UK TV showed a child tied to a cot overnight in her orphanage -- one Kolkata newspaper grudgingly reported the matter with lots of "alleged". During her lifetime, even that would be unthinkable. She was white, she hobnobbed with President Ronald Reagan (they were closest of buddies), and oh yes, she had the Nobel -- so she had to be divine.

Did no one know that she hobnobbed with the Duvaliers of Haiti whose brutality was unsurpassed (whose opponents were often cut up and fed to dogs)? No one in India wanted to know. For the Western media, she was a metaphor, a set-piece, a stratospheric certainty of image in an uncertain and changing world. Conversely, Kolkata was the opposite metaphor of absolute degradation where "foetuses are given to dogs to eat" (as remarked by her "other self" Francis Goree).

It was beyond the West's interest, energy or remit to robustly challenge these wrong stereotypes. But did Indian journalists not know that her main bank was the Vatican Bank, a dark cavern of corruption, intrigue and murder? Before she died, it was well known that she had accepted millions from Charles Keating, the notorious American swindler, but no one in India cared.

Bengalis showed some rare guts when she was beatified through a "miracle" in 2003. Doctors, and even the then Health Minister, made statements that Monica Besra was cured by prolonged treatment, and not by an aluminium medal. Even Besra herself periodically said her cure was not a miracle. But the Vatican treated Indian opinion with the contempt it always has and proceeded with canonisation.

But what is so great about Catholic saints? People should realise a Catholic saint does not have to be saintly or nice in the secular sense, but has to be pure to Catholic dogma, especially on contraception and abortion. Jose Maria Escriva, a Fascist, is a Catholic saint; another Fascist, Cardinal Stepinac, is a "blessed". "Saint" John Paul II actively shielded the prolific paedophile and criminal Marcial Maciel over many years. Mother Teresa also wrote a letter of support for a convicted paedophile priest Donald McGuire, asking people to overlook his "imprudence".

If one looks around Mother Teresa's homes in Kolkata today, one would find many of them acceptable. But one must not forget that this comes after 25 years of campaigning by me, and also persistent global criticism from Hemley Gonzalez, the American former volunteer who in 2008 was so utterly disgusted by what he saw that he founded the Stop the Missionaries of Charity movement and founded his own Responsible Charity. Moreover, in the last six months the order has spruced up a great deal, preparing for the canonisation on Sunday.

And yet, like obliging picaninnies, the Indian government is dutifully sending a delegation to the black-magic ceremony in Rome. (Hindus please note: the Pope is not allowed to wish Hindus personally even on Diwali.)

Be that as it may, my own wish would be to reclaim Kolkata/Calcutta from Teresa -- to sever the automatic connection of the two names as the whole wide world sees it. Kolkata's image under the yoke of Mother Teresa will take a century to recover. In the last 50 years, the city has lost an unimaginable amount from the loss of international business and tourism and will continue to do so. But let us at least loudly, proudly proclaim that we have nothing to do with a medieval creature of darkness -- not any more.

(Aroup Chatterjee, who describes himself as a "militant atheist", is the Britain-based author of "Mother Teresa - The untold Story", an updated version of which was released in Kolkata in June. The views expressed are personal)

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Celebrating Vinayaka Chathurthi 2016 : கைத்தல நிறைகனி ...

Today 5th Sept is Ganesh Chaturthi…. Vinayaka Chathurthi is  celebrated grandly in Tamilnadu as also in the rest of the country with gay and gaiety.  Lord Ganesha is widely worshipped as the God of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune and traditionally invoked at the beginning of any new venture or at the start of travel.

In mid 1980s, installing huge Vinayaka idols in many public places, religious worship for ten days and visarjanam were being conducted in a big manner ~ after a couple of incidents, the then rulers banned passing of procession in the Triplicane High Road citing law and order issues and now a days, the procession has shrunk ……. Those days, there would be hundreds of Vinayakas big and small installed at each street and the idol procession would unwind through narrow lanes of triplicane, with enthusiastic crowds singing bajans and songs extolling Ganesha.

Now there is so much of pressure on Hindu devotees – they are made to run for obtaining permission as Police, Corporaation and every authority does their mite to dampen the spirit.

Here are some morning photos at Triplicane, traders getting ready waiting for the devotees to come and take home Vinayaka made of clay ~ and this Vyasa Baratha Vinayaka was a great attraction in the streets of Triplicane yesterday evening.

கைத்தல நிறைகனி அப்ப மொடு அவல் பொரி கப்பிய
கரிமுகன் அடிபேணி ...
மத்தள வயிறனை உத்தமி புதல்வனை மட்டு அவிழ்
மலர்கொ(ண்)டு பணிவேனே

கரதலத்தில் நிறைந்துள்ள பழம், அப்பம், அவல், பொரி (இவைகளை) வாரி உண்ணும் யானை முகக் கடவுளின் திருவடிகளை விரும்பி,
... மத்தளம் போன்ற பெருவயிறு உடையவனும், உத்தமியாகிய பார்வதியின் மகனும் ஆகிய கணபதியைத் தேன் துளிர்க்கும் புது மலர்களைக் கொண்டு நான் வணங்குவேன்.

Hail  Lord Ganesha

Vinayakane vinai theerppavane… !!!  Jai Ganapathi Maharaj ki…. !!!!!