‘Conversion’ Charge Against Mother Teresa Stirs National Protest in India

by Anto Akkara  |  published on March 3, 2015

Condemnations were issued last week by a broad cross section of Indian society, following a controversial statement by the chief of India’s Hindu nationalist lobby claiming that the goal of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s famed social service was “conversion.”

From the stunned local Catholic Church to political parties of all ideologies, a chorus of critics decried the denigration of Mother Teresa, who was known nationally as the “Saint of the Gutters” during her lifetime.

This unprecedented political unity followed controversial Feb. 23 remarks by Mohan Bhagwat, chief of the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or National Volunteer Corps) that espouses Hindu nationalism. The RSS utilizes India’s ruling BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party, or Indian People’s Party) as its political wing.

“It’s good to work for a cause with selfless intentions. But Mother Teresa’s work had an ulterior motive, which was to convert the person who was being served to Christianity,” alleged Bhagwat, addressing a women’s empowerment program in a village near Bharatpur in the BJP-governed western state of Rajasthan.

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