How long must we ignore Pakistan’s perfidities – Shankkar Aiyar

Nawaz Sharif & Pak Army Chief

Shankkar AiyarIndia is yet again at that intersection where it must avenge its honour, yet it cannot afford to lose its moral stature. … Independent MP Rajeev Chandrashekar proposes to move a Private Member’s Bill in the Rajya Sabha calling for Pakistan to be declared a terrorist state. … It would be interesting to see how the government responds to this approach. – Shankkar Aiyar

Study history, study history. In history lie all the secrets of statecraft….” so said Winston Churchill. Around 45 years ago, as the Pakistani Army waged war against its own people in East Pakistan, Indira Gandhi made a prophetic observation in a TV interview weeks before the 1971 war. She said, “I think, and I personally think most of the world believes this but they may not say so openly, that Pakistan as it existed can never be the same again.”

History is witness, since, to the unravelling of a country—the decoupling of the nation and the emergence of the rogue state. For four decades, Pakistan has leveraged sponsorship of terror as an instrument of statecraft, creating multiple business models. That Pakistan continues to do so while being a member of the UN and a trusted ally of the evangelists of global morality illustrates the perfidy that defines geopolitics.

There has been hopeful excitement about a bill (HR 6069) titled “Pakistan State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act” introduced in the US House of Representatives by Congressman Ted Poe. He said, “A day of reckoning has arrived. Fifteen years after September 11, 2001, we have more than enough evidence to determine whose side Pakistan is on. And it’s not America’s.” This is not the first attempt. On March 9, 1995, Congressman Eliot L. Engel along with Representative Bill McCollum supported by seven members introduced a resolution (H Con. Res 35) calling upon the Secretary of State “to designate Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism”. The 1995 resolution was referred to the Committee on International Relations. The 2016 bill has been referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Committee.

The reality of Pakistan sponsoring terror and providing a safe haven for terrorists has been known and repeatedly proven—Abbottabad is but one location. The fate of India’s repeated presentation of dossiers is well known. Others haven’t fared better either. Rahmatullah Nabil, former head of Afghan spy agency National Directorate of Security, accused Pakistan and ISI of systematically sponsoring terrorism with grim details. Zalmay Khalilzad, former US envoy to Iraq, Afghanistan and UN told the House Committee on Foreign Affairs that Pakistan was playing a double game. He averred that Pakistan, instead of being designated as a “major non-NATO ally”, should be on the “list of state sponsors of terrorism”. Indeed, in February 2015, Edward R. Royce, Chairman, Committee on Foreign Relations wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry questioning the strategic partnership between the US and Pakistan.

Richard Nixon & Yahya KhanFact is, Pakistan has insured itself into a secure refuge. The reason is located in history—in the crafting of the principal agent relationship with the US (and with China). On October 25, 1970, Richard Nixon promised Pakistan’s military ruler Yahya Khan that “we will keep our word, we will work with you, try to be as helpful as we can”. That was the price America had to pay for Pakistan brokering peace with China which came through in July 1971. Despite an arms embargo, arms were made available to Pakistan via Turkey and Iran. Indeed, in the 1970s, US Ambassador to India Patrick Moynihan urged in a telegram to the President “Promise Pakistan Anything But Arms” as it would be “feeding the fantasies” of Pakistan.

Osama bin LadenIt would seem that four decades later, the US administration is yet paying the EMI. Since 9/11, it has funded Pakistan to the tune of $25 billion—nearly 70 per cent of which was for security-related assistance. And questions have been raised. In 2011, following Operation Geronimo, a bill titled “Pakistan Foreign Aid Accountability Act” called on the Secretary of State to certify that Pakistan did not know of Laden’s presence. In April 2016, Congressman Matt Salmon (Chairman, Sub Committee on Asia) in his opening remarks on the 2017 Budget (Afghanistan and Pakistan) questioned the conduct of Pakistan and observed “too often they seem to do the bare minimum to keep the money flowing”. Pakistan is also a recipient of aid from multilateral agencies like IDA, World Bank and countries including Japan, the UK and Germany besides the Middle East.

For sure, countries will focus on self-interest. What about multilateral agencies—how sure are they or what is the accountability of end-use of money? What about the state of human rights in Pakistan? The HRW report is a litany of oppression. There is the persecution and execution of minorities—Shia mosques being bombed, Ahmadis being killed, the use of blasphemy laws to institutionalise discrimination. Worse, the government ended an unofficial moratorium on judicial executions.

What about the UN, what about its mandate? Benjamin Netanyahu recently described the transition of the UN from a “moral force to a moral farce”. Fact is, the UN Security Council Counter Terrorism Committee lists 38 resolutions of varying angles passed since 9/11. That, however, hasn’t yet resulted in even a question on how Pakistan repeatedly pops in the discourse on terror attacks—most recently the New York bomber. For sure, not every Pakistani supports terrorism. But events and facts beg the question as to why so many terrorists seem to have passed through Pakistan?

India is yet again at that intersection where it must avenge its honour, yet it cannot afford to lose its moral stature. Options range from and include diplomatic isolation, military action, denying Indus river water and so on. Independent MP Rajeev Chandrashekhar proposes to move a Private Member’s Bill in the Rajya Sabha calling for Pakistan to be declared a terrorist state. It stops short of asking the government to move a resolution in the UN. It would be interesting to see how the government responds to this approach.

They say you cannot escape your history and geography. India’s challenge is to find answers independently to establish its pre-eminence. That, however, still leaves open the question that now must be answered by the evangelists of global good: how long will the international community be mute spectators while a rogue state commits genocide at home and sponsors terrorism across the world? It is an inflection point in history.  – The New Indian Express, 26 September 2016

» Shankkar Aiyar is an analyst for The New Indian Express and  author of Accidental India: A History of the Nation’s Passage through Crisis and Change. He tweets at @ShankkarAiyar.

Pakistan : State of the Nation

How new atheism can combat jihadists who wish to end the world – Peter Boghossian, James Lindsay & Phil Torres

Cultural Muslims who have become atheist make these photos when on Haj!

Time MagazineThe beliefs of many radicals have become increasingly apocalyptic over the past decade. They’re convinced the end of the world is imminent and that they have a special role in bringing it about. Whether or not you’re interested in the apocalypse, terrorists who believe it’s coming are interested in you. – Peter Boghossian, James Lindsay & Phil Torres

The world isn’t ending, but we face a tremendous problem from people who believe it is. The beliefs of many radicals have become increasingly apocalyptic over the past decade. They’re convinced the end of the world is imminent and that they have a special role in bringing it about. Whether or not you’re interested in the apocalypse, terrorists who believe it’s coming are interested in you.

Solutions are hard to come by. But there is a way to counter extremism that’s potentially as effective as it is unpopular. It’s a social and intellectual strategy that aims to undermine the religious beliefs that motivate jihadists—and one of the most controversial set of ideas to emerge in the West in the last quarter century: New Atheism.

New Atheism emerged in direct response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks executed by al-Qaeda, which demonstrated that acting upon certain religious beliefs could lead to catastrophe. The movement offered a heretofore unwelcomed perspective: That every religion has negative consequences, and that even religious moderates contribute to the problem because, by affirming that faith is a legitimate reason to hold beliefs, they enable religious extremists.

In making this case, the New Atheists famously broke one longstanding taboo against criticizing a person’s faith. But they broke a second taboo as well. Some New Atheists on the Left—including Sam Harris, Jerry Coyne, Richard Dawkins and Michael Shermer—joined voices with many on the Right by saying there are unique dangers associated with jihad, such as martyrdom. New Atheists argued that focusing on generic religious extremism is a smokescreen, that the specific contents of religious doctrine delimit ways in which extremism plays out and thus some doctrines pose greater threats than others.

New Atheism has already succeeded in shifting the cultural landscape of Western civilization, making it far more acceptable to be openly atheist, giving atheists unprecedented public visibility, buttressing the legal boundaries of secularism and changing the nature of public discourse about faith, belief, God and religion.

The God Delusion by Richard DawkinsNew Atheist ideas like these have percolated into closed, traditional Muslim societies, giving those populations an opportunity to question their beliefs. In Muslim countries, New Atheist writings—which are illegal—have helped sow seeds of doubt and dissent. The Arabic translation of Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion, for example, has been downloaded ten million times, and pictures of people holding it while overlooking Mecca are remarkably commonplace given the draconian penalties for doing so—ranging from ten years imprisonment to death.

New Atheism may have inched into the Islamic world, but it has not found deep roots. And its current approach isn’t well-suited to further penetrate Muslim societies. The condescending speech of New Atheists—calling religious people delusional, for example—is not an effective cross-cultural strategy for generating change.

Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now, by Ayaan Hirsi AliThe next chapter in New Atheism will require a more nuanced, if not gentler, pen. The Dutch-American Somali-born author Ayaan Hirsi Ali, for example, has eloquently argued that Islam needs an internal reformation before intellectual and religious pluralism can become commonplace in the Islamic world. Atheism, Ali points out, is a logical step that comes after Enlightenment values like rationalism and tolerance, and the liberties of a free, open and secular society are in place.

To that end, New Atheists have begun reaching out to collaborate with moderate Muslims and, arguably more importantly, ex-Muslims. Many of those former Muslims have become New Atheists and gone back into their communities to advocate for reform. For example, Maajid Nawaz (a liberal Muslim and a former member of a radical Islamist group who became a counter-extremist) and Ali Rizvi (a self-identified “Atheist Muslim”) have been intimately involved in an ongoing Islamic reformation by helping to erode blasphemy laws.

The way ahead requires being able to speak honestly about religion, and New Atheism has been the most effective cultural effort to broker this conversation. Its endeavors going forward, however, must recognize the humanity in religion while maintaining a candid dialogue about deep-rooted conflicts between reason and faith. A matured New Atheism is needed more today than ever before to offer a unique alternative to irreconcilable conflicts of faith, some of which wish to end the world. – Time, 16 September 2016

» Peter Boghossian is a full faculty member in Portland State University’s philosophy department; James Lindsay is the author of three books, including Everybody Is Wrong About God; and Phil Torres is a contributing writer for the Future of Life Institute and founding director of the X-Risks Institute.

See also


Koran copies in a Taif sewer!

Apostates and atheists in Islam face the death penalty.

The crisis of the US political system – Come Carpentier

Donald Trump & Hillary Clinton

Come Carpentier de GourdonA vast library exists about the legal breaches and crimes the [United States] has committed against both foreign nations and its own people, even though a mighty control system has kept many egregious offences from being publicly acknowledged and punished…. –  Come Carpentier de Gourdon

In the 2015 film Bridge Of Spies set in the 1960s, attorney James Donovan, played by Tom Hanks, rhetorically reminds a CIA agent that the only thing that connects citizens of diverse ethnic and religious origins in the American nation is the common rule-book of the Constitution. He expresses the liberal view that the United States is the creation of a contract, according to English Enlightenment philosopher John Locke’s definition, and not a community of faith and culture, as Samuel Huntington claimed, or a civilisational state like India or China.

The conventional, almost imaginary character of the US can be seen as a strength and a factor of openness, but also as a weakness insofar as, once the hallowed rule-book is disregarded, not much is left to hold the federation together.

It turns out that, like most man-made laws, the country’s basic principles have been broken or trodden upon on many occasions since independence. The French observer Tocqueville, for one, was much less positive about the condition of the young nation than is generally thought and a few years later, in 1842 Charles Dickens was appalled by the venality, violence, dishonesty and corruption he noticed in the political system, the economy, the press and in every other aspect of public life, as he scathingly reported.

Since then the United States has grown into the world’s greatest power, but it seems that the blots and vices have grown too, like spots on an inflating balloon. A vast library exists about the legal breaches and crimes the State has committed against both foreign nations and its own people, even though a mighty control system has kept many egregious offences from being publicly acknowledged and punished, unlike more mundane scandals such as the Watergate affair. It is enough to recall the USS Maine provocation, which triggered the Spanish-Cuban war, the deception of the American public that led to the false surprise at Pearl Harbor, the contrived “banana wars” in Central America, Washington’s clandestine cooperation with and protection of Nazi officers and scientists following the German defeat in 1945, the “Operation Ajax” CIA coup in Iran, the Kennedy and Martin Luther King assassinations, the fraudulent reasons for the Vietnam war (i.e. the Gulf of Tonkin incident), the Iran-Contra conspiracy, the 2003 invasion of Iraq and, more recently the covert support of armed rebellions in Libya, Syria and Ukraine and of Saudi Arabia in the civil war in Yemen. Ditto for the innumerable armed coups, insurrections and military dictatorships brought about or backed by Washington on all continents.

Chalmers JohnsonThe transformation from a republic into a world spanning empire, as pointed out by Pat Buchanan and Chalmers Johnson among others, has also transmogrified the US governance system, under a pervasive “neo-conservative” influence, into an increasingly opaque and unaccountable regime in which “national security” agencies and the military-intelligence-industrial complex rule the roost. Several reports have shown that the Pentagon, for instance, cannot or will not account for several trillions of dollars it spent in the last decades. The State forged during the Cold War is now a permanent war machine that needs enemies to harness domestic support at home and among its allies and tributaries.

This semi-privatised oligarchic system shows its hand in the condition of the two parties that share power. This year only 9% of all US citizens had a say in the selection of the two “finalist” candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Other parties remain irrelevant distractions and could only be invited in the pre-election debates if they gathered 15% of voting intentions in nationwide polls. Yet, attaining that recognition level requires a minimum of 250 million dollars in funding, while a presidential campaign costs about a billion. It is well established that the number of votes a candidate can garner is directly proportional to the money he or she spends. Thus the two “official” parties have erected insurmountable barriers to prevent outsiders from challenging them on the national turf. That plutocratic state of affairs reflects the structure of an economic system controlled by the Federal Reserve Board, a consortium of banks formed at a secret confabulation held on Jekyll Island in 1913 by leading financiers from the US and Europe, representing mainly Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, Warburg and the Rothschilds.

The transnational governance structure gradually installed through the Council on Foreign Relations, the United Nations, NATO, Trilateral Commission, World Bank, IMF and other global institutions and foundations has been opposed from the start by the American nationalistic faction, which equates the globalist project with an oligarchic, monopolistic kind of socialism, leading to the hegemony of a shrinking number of major corporations and banks, and wants to “nationalise” or abolish the Fed. 

While Hillary Clinton is the chosen representative of the financial and political status quo to replace Barack Obama, Donald Trump has come “from Left Field”, channelling the anger and anguish of the white middle and lower classes to take over the Republican Party. He carries the hopes of many of those who want to change the current order in the name of American individualistic, entrepreneurial traditions, including Tea Party businessmen, wildcatters of the Mid-West or small farmers who have been devastated by Wall Street guided policies.

Muammar GaddafiThe US political system is showing signs of terminal fatigue. A majority of Americans have a negative opinion of both the “anointed” candidates. Whereas Trump is reviled in the national security establishment, which, in an unprecedented move, signed a letter to warn the public that he is “dangerous” and unfit to lead the country, most people are aware of the Clintons’s murky dealings and questionable associations

Hillary Clinton has used her official positions and powers to fund-raise for her family foundation and charge seven-figure “lecture fees” at home and abroad, conversely serving the interests of her domestic and foreign donors. That makes her suspect of systematic corruption and she is also accused of repeatedly committing perjury before a Congressional Commission. An even worse charge is that she helped build up terrorist Islamic guerrilla groups, including ISIS, by ordering arms to be shipped to them from Libya to Syria.

Against those issues which should at the very least bar her from holding public office, the rambunctious obstreperousness displayed by Trump seems almost innocuous and his political virginity protects him from the disrepute which bedevils most professionals in the field. However, he raises an unacceptable threat to many in positions of power and privilege because he could be driven by his own promises and by a restless electorate to make radical changes in the domestic and foreign policies of the country in a scenario in which US influence and credit abroad are rapidly waning.

If Hillary Clinton is elected, she may be unable to govern effectively because of her personal limitations and flaws, given the widespread opposition and suspicion her track record generates. A Trump victory, on the other hand, will generate more turmoil and conflict in a racially and socially divided and troubled nation. The political system might not resist that stress level and some of Trump’s statements indicate that he would like to make a break from it and even disregard some constitutional provisions, as perhaps the only way to get out of chronic gridlock between the executive and legislative branches.

Jeanne Kirkpatrick, President Reagan’s UN envoy commented that Americans play Monopoly, while Soviets played chess. She wondered whether the former would manage to bankrupt the latter before being checkmated by them. The USSR was indeed bankrupted, but now the US feels checkmated and risks bankruptcy too. The Emperor is being stripped in full view of the world. – Sunday Guardian, 27 September 2016 

» Come Carpentier de Gourdon is the convenor of the International Board of World Affairs and editor of The Journal of International Issues. He is the author of various books—the most recent being Memories Of A Hundred And One Moons: An Indian Odyssey (2015)—and of many published papers about such topics as history of culture and science, geopolitics, exopolitics, philosophy and aspects of Indian civilisation. He has lectured in several universities in India and in other countries in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

Bill Clinton

Mother Teresa: More dirt on the saint of the gutters – Jayant Chowdhury

John Paul II & Mother Teresa riding in the popemobile

It’s high time the world accepted that Mother Teresa was a regressive religious bigot who did little good for the poor and ailing. – Jayant Chowdhury

Now that the dust has settled over the comments made by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat about Mother Teresa and her alleged proselytization, this is a good time to undertake a dispassionate analysis of her life and legacy. Mother Teresa, or the ‘Blessed Teresa of Kolkata’ as she is known after her beatification by the Vatican in October 2003, is undoubtedly considered by the world as a saint who gave care to lakhs of ailing and dying people and salvaged their souls. In the collective imagination of the world, she was a noble soul who dedicated her life to caring for the sick, the disabled, the homeless and the poor and, hence, a saintly soul. The Missionaries of Charity, that she established in 1950, today runs more than 500 missions in over 130 countries and is said to be the richest such order in the world, thanks to the billions of dollars that pour in from all over the world every year.

But, say Mother Teresa’s not inconsiderable number of critics, she and her order, and the work they do, is one of the biggest hoaxes created by western media-orchestrated hype. To them, Mother Teresa’s primary purpose in life was not to provide care to the sick and the destitute, but to spread the word of Christ. Mother Teresa herself said so; she hung a placard outside “Mother House” (the command centre of her order where she also resided) in Kolkata that said: “Tell them we are not here for work, we are here for Jesus. We are religious above all else. We are not social workers, not teachers, not doctors. We are nuns.”

Walter Wuellenweber argues in his incisive article in the December 22, 2006 issue of the German magazine Stern that if Mother and the sisters of the Missionaries of Charity were primarily nuns, what did they need so much money for? She once told British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge (who shared her extreme right-wing Catholic views) and was the first architect of the elaborate myth that was constructed around her: “There is always the danger that we may become only social workers. Our works are only an expression of our love for Christ”.

But it’s primarily her work that attracts the fiercest criticism. She, and the Missionaries of Charity (MoC), have been accused of not doing enough for the sick and disabled in her homes, of not utilizing the vast resources at her disposal to provide modern medical treatment to them, of diverting most of the funds received in the name of the poor to the Vatican Bank, of being opaque in financial transactions, of hobnobbing with crooks and fraudsters and accepting their ill-gotten wealth and of promoting her archaic, ultra-orthodox and dogmatic views on issues like abortion, contraception and homosexuality.

Mother Teresa's home for the dying in KolkataHorrible conditions at MoC homes

Former nuns and volunteers who have worked in MoC-run homes have written about the atrocious conditions at such facilities and how the sick are denied proper medical care due to Mother Teresa’s atrocious belief that “suffering was a gift from God”. Mother Teresa once told journalists: “There is something beautiful in seeing the poor accept their lot, to suffer it like Christ’s passion. I think the world is being helped by their suffering.” And so she, and her order, let the poor suffer as a matter of principle!

Doctors who have visited her homes have spoken and written about a significant lack of hygiene, proper medical care, absence of trained staff and inadequate food for the patients there. S. Bedford, a Toronto-based travel writer and journalist provided a shocking expose of conditions at Prem Dan, a MoC home in Kolkata, in the September 2014 issue of the magazine New Internationalist. The Guardian once described the care given in MoC hospices as an “organized form of neglectful assistance”. Robin Fox, the editor of British medical journal The Lancet, who visited Mother Teresa’s Home for Dying Destitute in Kolkata, criticized the medical care, or the lack of it, being provided to patients there, and held her responsible for the horrible conditions, for not making any distinction between the curable and non-curable patients and for leaving all of them to die.

Amy Gigi Alexander, who spent many years as a volunteer in Daya Dan, a MoC-run home for children with special needs in Kolkata and in MoC homes in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Bolivia, Bangladesh, France, England and America since 2007, writes: “Standards for treatment were antiquated and the children often crawled around on hands and knees rather than using wheelchairs that were kept unused in a storage room”. “Mother House provided the budget for only the children’s basic needs and those needs did not include medical that was not deemed ‘necessary’. The order did not pay for things that would improve the quality of life, extend life, or make life more comfortable. Therefore, many children had had diseases that caused them to suffer, or conditions that were treatable,” she wrote.

Missionary of Charity nuns entering the Chase Bank in New York.However, when Mother Teresa herself required medical treatment, she sought and got it from the best medical facilities in America and India!

No dearth of funds

What is inexplicable is why the MoC ran, and still runs, its facilities in such a parsimonious fashion? There is no doubt that it is awash with money. An extensive study of Mother Teresa and her MoC carried out by Professor Serge Larivee and Genevieve Chenard of the University of Montreal’s Department of Psychoeducation and Carole Senechal of University of Ottowa’s Faculty of Education resulted in a paper (released two years ago) that said the MoC had raised hundreds of millions of dollars. “Mother Teresa was miserly with her foundation’s millions when it came to humanity’s sufferings. During numerous floods in India or following the leak of poisonous gas from a pesticides plant in Bhopal, she offered numerous prayers and medallions, but no monetary aid,” observed Professor Larivee.

Investigations by Stern revealed that MoC used only 7% of the donations for charity and the rest were funneled into secret bank accounts or used to build more missions. Walter Wuellenweber, in his article in Stern, quotes Susan Shields who served as Sister Virgin for nine and half years at MOC’s Holy Ghost House in New York’s Bronx, as saying that every night, 25 nuns there spent many hours preparing receipts for donations that ranged between five and a thousand dollars and during Christmas, the flow of cheques, many for 50,000 dollars and more, became “uncontrollable”. Shields was quoted as saying that one year, an MoC account in a New York bank had more than $50 million. “Fifty million dollars in one bank account in a predominantly non-Catholic country. How much then were they collecting in Europe and from around the world?” wonders Wuellenweber.

Financial opacity

Mother Teresa had consistently refused to provide any accounts of the donations she had received and how they were spent. Stern, which investigated MoC’s affairs, reported that the UK was the only country where MoC, the largest organization of its kind in the world, allowed the authorities a look at its accounts. The MoC has never issued any statement of its accounts in India, even though it is legally binding to do so and when all other similar organizations like the Ramakrishna Mission and the Bharat Sevasram Sangha regularly submit audited statement of accounts.

Walter Wuellenweber wrote that “for book-keeping, the sisters use school notebooks in which they write in cramped penciled figures. Until they (the notebooks) are full. Then everything is erased and the notebook used again!” It is mysterious why Indian authorities have not asked the MoC to submit audited accounts every year.

Mother Teresa & Michele Duvalier of HaitiHobnobbing with dictators and fraudsters

Mother Teresa flew to Haiti in 1981 to receive the Legion d’Honneur from Jean-Claude Duvalier, the maniacal dictator of that country and routinely accepted huge donations from him. She once said: “Duvalier loved the poor and their love is reciprocated”. She visited Eastern European countries during the days when they were part of the Soviet Bloc and ruled by despotic Communist regimes, accepted their hospitality and set up homes in those countries.

She accepted donations from British publisher Robert Maxwell who embezzled $450 million from his own companies’ pension funds. She also took huge sums of money from the infamous American banker and financier Charles Keating and used to travel by his private jet in the US. She infamously pleaded leniency for him when he was prosecuted for fraud, racketeering and conspiracy. She supported the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi in 1975 and said: “This is good. People are happier. There are more jobs. There are no strikes.”

Ultra-orthodox views

Mother Teresa harboured Catholic right-wing views on issues like abortion, contraception and homosexuality. She termed homosexuality a “scourge” and said abortion is “the worst evil”. “Abortion is a direct war, a direct killing, a direct murder by the mother of her own child. If a mother can kill her own child, what will prevent us from killing ourselves or one another?” she once said. In the context of the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, when an estimated 45,000 women were raped by Pakistani army, she said the women should keep their babies.

The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and PracticeThere have been quite a few critical books and films made on Mother Teresa. One of the most well-researched among them is one by Aroup Chatterjee, a London-based physician, who worked in one of Mother Teresa’s homes. His The Final Verdict is a damning indictment of Mother Teresa and her work. Based on his book, British journalists Christopher Hitchens and Tariq Ali produced a documentary, Hell’s Angel, for BBC’s Channel 4. Hitchens also wrote the well-known book The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa In Theory and Practice, that blew many myths around the nun. Hitchens puts it succinctly when he says: “Mother was not a friend of the poor, but a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from god. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty—empowerment of women and their emancipation from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction”.

Aroup Chatterjee points out that of the few hundred charitable organizations working for the poor, destitute and ailing in Kolkata, the MoC is one of the largest in terms of size and number of nuns, workers and volunteers, but caters to a very small percentage of the people who need help. Even other Christian organizations do much more. Organisations like the Ramakrishna Mission routinely cater to a few times the number of poor and ailing that the MoC does, despite having much lesser funds.

In the ultimate analysis, a lot of that aura surrounding Mother Teresa and her order is a myth created by the media and the Catholic Church which sees in her beatification and eventual canonization the perfect means to revitalize the Church at a time when churches are empty and the Vatican’s authority on the decline. And for many in the western world, Mother Teresa reinforces their deep-seated prejudices that it is ultimately the white man (or woman) who provides succour to the unwashed, heathen masses of the “brown” and “black” world. She made westerners feel good that they still are the saviours of the world. – Swarajya, 16 March 2015

» Jayant Chowdhury is an avid observer of and commentator on politics and society in Bengal and north-eastern  India.

New References

V. S. Naipaul interviewed by Dileep Padgaonkar, Rahul Singh & Sadanand Menon – Media

V.S. Naipaul
Sword of IslamWe reproduce here excerpts of three interviews given by Sir Vidiadhar S. Naipaul on his interpretation of the ethos of the Sri Rama Janmabhoomi movement. Sir Vidiadhar is a Trinidad-born author of Indian ancestry who now resides in the United Kingdom. He has won all the major awards in English literature including the Nobel Prize in 2001. He has also written a number of best-selling books on India.

In one of his interviews (not included here), Sir Vidiadhar said: “The (second) millennium began with the Muslim invasions and the grinding down of the Hindu-Buddhist culture of the north. This is such a big and bad event that people still have to find polite, destiny-defying ways of speaking about it. In art books and history books, people write of the Muslims ‘arriving’ in India, as though the Muslims came on a tourist bus and went away again. The Muslim view of their conquest of India is a truer one. They speak of the triumph of the faith, the destruction of idols and temples, the loot, the carting away of the local people as slaves, so cheap and numerous that they were being sold for a few rupees. The architectural evidence—the absence of Hindu monuments in the north—is convincing enough.” – Editor

Dileep PadgaonkarDileep Padgaonkar interviews V. S. Naipaul, The Times of India, July 18, 1993

Q: The collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent rise of Islamic nations in Central Asia, the Salman Rushdie affair, similar harassment by fundamentalists of liberal Muslim intellectuals in India: all these factors taken together persuaded some forces to argue that a divided Hindu society cannot counteract Islamic fundamentalism.

A: I don’t see it quite in that way. The things you mentioned are quite superficial. What is happening in India is a new, historical awakening. Gandhi used religion in a way as to marshal people for the independence cause. People who entered the independence movement did it because they felt they would earn individual merit.

Today, it seems to me that Indians are becoming alive to their history. Romila Thapar’s book on Indian history is a Marxist attitude to history which in substance says: there is a higher truth behind the invasions, feudalism and all that. The correct truth is the way the invaders looked at their actions. They were conquering, they were subjugating. And they were in a country where people never understood this.

Only now are the people beginning to understand that there has been a great vandalising of India. Because of the nature of the conquest and the nature of Hindu society such understanding had eluded Indians before.

What is happening in India is a mighty creative process. Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on, especially if these intellectuals happen to be in the United States. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

However, we are aware of one of the more cynical forms of liberalism: it admits that one fundamentalism is all right in the world. This is the fundamentalism they are really frightened of: Islamic fundamentalism. Its source is Arab money. It is not intellectually to be taken seriously etc. I don’t see the Hindu reaction purely in terms of one fundamentalism pitted against another. The reaction is a much larger response … Mohamedan fundamentalism is essentially negative, a protection against a world it desperately wishes to join. It is a last-ditch fight against the world.

But the sense of history that the Hindus are now developing is a new thing. Some Indians speak about a synthetic culture: this is what a defeated people always speak about. The synthesis may be culturally true. But to stress it could also be a form of response to intense persecution.

Q: This new sense of history as you call it is being used in India in very many different ways. My worry is that somewhere down the line this search for a sense of history might yet again turn into hostility toward something precious which came to use from the West: the notion of the individual….

A: This is where the intellectuals have a duty to perform. The duty is the use of the mind. It is not enough for intellectuals to chant their liberal views or to abuse what is happening. To use the mind is to reject the grosser aspects of this vast emotional upsurge.

Q: How did you react to the Ayodhya incident?

A: Not as badly as the others did, I am afraid. The people who say that there was no temple there are missing the point. Babar, you must understand, had contempt for the country he had conquered. And his building of that mosque was an act of contempt for the country.

In Turkey, they turned the Church of Santa Sophia into a mosque. In Nicosia churches were converted into mosques too. The Spaniards spent many centuries re-conquering their land from Muslim invaders. So these things have happened before and elsewhere.

In Ayodhya the construction of a mosque on a spot regarded as sacred by the conquered population was meant as an insult. It was meant as an insult to an ancient idea, the idea of Ram which was two or three thousand years old.

Q: The people who climbed on top of these domes and broke them were not bearded people wearing saffron robes and with ash on their foreheads. They were young people clad in jeans and tee-shirts.

A: One needs to understand the passion that took them on top of the domes. The jeans and the tee-shirts are superficial. The passion alone is real. You can’t dismiss it. You have to try to harness it.

Hitherto in India the thinking has come from the top. I spoke earlier about the state of the country: destitute, trampled upon, crushed. You then had the Bengali renaissance, the thinkers of the 19th century. But all this came from the top. What is happening now is different. The movement is now from below.

Q: My colleague, the cartoonist, Mr R. K. Laxman, and I recently travelled thousands of miles in Maharashtra. In many places we found that noses and breasts had been chopped off from the statues of female deities. Quite evidently this was a sign of conquest. The Hindutva forces point to this too to stir up emotions. The problem is: how do you prevent these stirred-up emotions from spilling over and creating fresh tensions?

A: I understand. But it is not enough to abuse them or to use that fashionable word from Europe: fascism. There is a big, historical development going on in India. Wise men should understand it and ensure that it does not remain in the hands of fanatics. Rather they should use it for the intellectual transformation of India.

Rahul SinghRahul Singh interviews V. S. Naipaul, The Times of India, Jan 23, 1998

Q: You gave an interview to The Times of India, which was interpreted by the BJP as supporting them in the destruction (of the Babri structure). Do you think you were misunderstood?

A: I can see how what I said then could be misinterpreted. I was talking about history, I was talking about a historical process that had to come. I think India has lived with one major extended event, that began about 1000 AD, the Muslim invasion. It meant the cracking open and partial wrecking of what was a complete cultural, religious world until that invasion. I don’t think the people of India have been able to come to terms with that wrecking. I don’t think they understand what really happened. It’s too painful. And I think this BJP movement and that masjid business is part of a new sense of history, a new idea of what happened. It might be misguided, it might be wrong to misuse it politically, but I think it is part of a historical process. And to simply abuse it as fascist is to fail to understand why it finds an answer in so many hearts in India.

Q: Couldn’t it just be communal prejudice?

A: It could become that. And that has to be dealt with. But it can only be dealt with if both sides understand very clearly the history of the country. I don’t think Hindus understand what Islam means and I don’t think the people of Islam have tried to understand Hinduism. The two enormous groups have lived together in the sub-continent without understanding one another’s faiths.

Saananda MenonSadanand Menon interviews V. S. Naipaul, The Hindu, July 5, 1998

Q: You have been rather vehement about Marxist, leftist interpretations of history. What did you see as a major flaw in their arguments?

A: Probably not so much the Marxist interpretation of history as Marxist politics which, of course, is entirely criminal. Such disrespect for men. I think that is enough; that is condemnation enough. This lack of regard for human beings.

Q: Well, that is not specific to Marxists politics alone. All brands of organised politics, all parties mirror each other in their behaviour and have discredited themselves. But what about Marxism as a tool for analysing history?

A: You see, Sadanand, I have not lived like that. I never looked for unifying theories. I think everything is particular to a country, a culture, a period. In another context, I do not like people taking ancient myths, shall we say, and applying them to their own period. I think the ancient myths come from an ancient world. Sometimes very many ancient worlds come together in an epic work and to apply that narrative to modern life is absurd. Something like that I feel about these unifying interpretations of history. It is better just to face what there is. It is better not to know the answers to every problem, before you even know what the problems are. The Marxists, they know the answers long before they know anything. And, of course, it is not a science. It deals with human beings.

Q: You have given some signals during your visit here this time about your—it may be a wrong word—your “happiness” with the emergence and consolidation of some kind of parasitic Hindu political order here. How do you sustain such a thesis?

A: No. I have not done that actually. I have talked about history. And I have talked about this movement. I have not gone on to say I would like Hindu religious rule here. All that I have said is that Islam is here in a big way. There is a reason for that and we cannot hide from what the reasons were. The great invasions spread very far South, spreading to, you know, even Mysore. I think when you see so many Hindu temples of the 10th century or earlier time disfigured, defaced, you know that they were not just defaced for fun: that something terrible happened. I feel that the civilisation of that closed world was mortally wounded by those invasions. And I would like people, as it were, to be more reverential towards the past, to try to understand it; to preserve it; instead of living in its ruins. The old world is destroyed. That has to be understood. The ancient Hindu India was destroyed.

Q: Many things changed and many things overlapped in Indian history due to many diverse interventions. But do such processes over time justify the line of “historic revenge” with retrospective effect? Does it make that inevitable? What do you see unfolding before your eyes here today?

A: No. I do not think so. It need not happen. If people just acknowledged history, certain deep emotions of shame and defeat would not be driven underground and would not find this rather nasty and violent expression. As people become more secure in India, as a middle and lower middle class begins to grow, they will feel this emotion more and more. And it is in these people that deep things are stirred by what was, clearly, a very bad defeat. The guides who take people around the temples of Belur and Halebid are talking about this all the time. I do not think they were talking about it like that when I was there last, which is about 20 something years ago. So new people come up and they begin to look at their world and from being great acceptors, they have become questioners. And I think we should simply try to understand this passion. It is not an ignoble passion at all. It is men trying to understand themselves. Do not dismiss them. Treat them seriously. Talk to them.

Q: But don’t you think this tendency is only going to increase—this tendency to whimsically and freely interpret religion or history at the street level?

A: I think it will keep on increasing as long as you keep on saying it is wicked and that they are wicked people. And if we wish to draw the battleline, then of course, you get to battle. If you try to understand what they are saying, things will calm down. – Hindu Vivek Kendra, 199?

Babri Masjid Demolition 1992

Is the BJP hampering Hindu revival? – Shrinidhi Rao

Make In India

Bhagwa DwajDuring the last two years, the Modi government has hardly shown any inclination towards addressing outstanding Hindu issues like uniform civil code, Article 370, revising history curriculum, freeing of temples from government control,  cow protection, and addressing the issue of evangelism. There is no indication that the things will change in near future. – Shrinidhi Rao

Two years have passed, since the so-called Hindu Nationalist Party, the BJP was elected with a whopping majority to the lower house of the parliament, the Loka Sabha. The BJP was successful in creating an atmosphere of positivity and hope for the masses and thanks to its charismatic PM candidate Shri Narendra Modi, it was also successful in rightly tapping the aspirations of a young India. But, electoral pundits have long debated if these were the only causes for the BJP’s decisive victory. Some have, time and again, asserted that it was the cultural aspirations of the Hindus, which brought them to power.

While I cannot tell how the BJP itself views its victory, I can vouch for the fact that a large number of hard-working and dedicated volunteers, who were truly responsible for the win, did see in BJP an end to administration by self-alienated and self-hating “seculars”. There was a huge aspiration to have a government which was sympathetic and proactive towards Hindu causes. But, two years down the line, it appears that the hopes were ill-founded and based on ignorance about political realities. The question, which many are asking now is, whether the BJP is hampering Hindu revival? Whether it is becoming the biggest hurdle to achieve the goal of rejuvenation of Sanatana Hindu Dharma?

The task of Hindu revival is certainly not simple. Enormous challenges and obstacles, especially from well-set, deep-rooted ideologies, would have to be overcome at every single step. To re-establish Hinduism as something more than a “primitive”, “pagan”, “confused polytheistic religion” in the mainstream discourse, adventurous intellectual endeavours must be undertaken. Modern day world is no more measured on the physical strength of the people, but on the strength of their intellect and ideology.

A task like this must need a strong, confident and a well-rooted leader. For long, Hindus have put their weight behind RSS/BJP to bring about Hindu rejuvenation, or rather, RSS/BJP has for long thrust itself [forward] as the leader working towards the Hindu cause and yet, at a very fundamental level, especially in the intellectual sphere, very less progress has been made.

Whenever the BJP has been elected to power, be it at the Centre or at the States, it has neither tried to develop a network of intellectuals and academic think tanks dedicated to creating India’s grand narrative and preparing a Hindu response to various contemporary challenges, not has tried to bring in policy changes, which could be considered as favourable to Hindu cause. Though, of course, it has put forward few initiatives towards this directly, it is too little and too late. More importantly, many of them were implemented hastily and in a compromised manner, and some were even aborted in the middle as soon as an allegation was thrown at it.

The BJP has for long been afraid of getting branded as a Hindu party and has been desperately pleading to Indian Secularists to certify it as a “secular enough party”. This, however, has not materialised for a Dalai Lama Quotesimple reason that no matter what the BJP says and does, BJP/RSS simply do not fit into their secular narrative and political scheme of things. The two years of the Modi government is no exception to this.

During the last two years, the Modi government has hardly shown any inclination towards addressing outstanding Hindu issues like uniform civil code, Article 370, revising history curriculum, freeing of temples from government control,  cow protection, and addressing the issue of evangelism. There is no indication that the things will change in near future.

It is quite evident that many of these issues are simply raked up during elections and once in power, they are put on to the back burner to be used again during the next elections. All these compels one to re-evaluate the role of the BJP in Hindu revival.

The RSS-BJP duo carries with it a sense of apologetic and defensive attitude. Though, presently in power, it is still an opposition in the academic and intellectual contours of the Indian psyche. The RSS/BJP, in-spite of having a strong, nationalistic, self-less and determined cadre base has failed to develop a coherent theory for the Hindu revival movement. It has failed to evolve any political discourse rooted in Indic worldview. Instead of changing the terms of engagement with the people and other political parties in its favour, the BJP, for long, has walked on the path laid down for it by other opinion makers like secularists, Marxists and the West.

This has led to huge information gaps and large-scale misunderstanding of the Hindu revival movement among the intellectual classes, as well as the masses, all across the world. As a result, most information reaching the public regarding Hindu issues, are provided by those intellectuals, who are blatantly hostile to concerns of Hindu community and hence create a Hinduphobic narrative around most such issues.

It is this biased narrative that has created misleading tags like Hindu terrorism, Hindu Nazi, etc. and has falsely branded legitimate issues of Hindu society as fascism. The stray headlines grabbing actions of the Hindu fringe and BJP/RSS’s inability to reign in on them only adds to reinforcing these misleading tags. But, the greatest failure of RSS/BJP is in its inability (and disinterest) to counter these false narratives and build a genuine Hindu narrative on the foundation of truth and Dharma.

This inability and a disinterest in fighting the ideological and perception [battle] by the RSS/BJP make one question whether the BJP is hampering, more than helping, the cause of Hindu revival?

It is high time that Hindus come out of their cocoons and work towards understanding their own culture, tradition and identity. Instead of depending on political organizations like BJP, they should become responsible and make efforts to revive Dharma and create India’s grand narrative. Hindus have become weak not because of others, but because of their own inertia. For India to truly rise, it is time that Hindus build a strong and confident Hinduism rooted in the eternal principles of Sanatana Dharma. – India Facts, 24 August 2016

Hindu Activism

The ‘miracle’ that makes a saint out of Mother Teresa – Jaideep Mazumdar

Pope John Paul II & Mother Teresa

Jaideep MazumdarThis woman drives to the hospital and places the Mother Teresa medallion under her husband’s pillow. And then, even as her husband is being readied for surgery, she drives back to her church to pray! … Did she drive back an hour to be able to pray with the Missionaries of Charity nuns so that the outlandish miracle could be attributed to Mother Teresa? – Jaideep Mazumdar

In early December 2008, 34-year-old Marcilio Haddad Andrino, a PhD in mechanical engineering from one of Brazil’s best institutes (University of Campinas) went on his honeymoon to Gramado, his wife’s hometown. There, he fell seriously ill and was driven 1111 kilometres, a journey that would have taken 14 hours at least, to a little-known hospital (St. Lucas Hospital) in Santos on 8 December.

According to a news report that appeared in Avvenire (an Italian newspaper that is affiliated to the Vatican) Andrino, of Lebanese origin, was diagnosed with hydrocephalus (abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain) and eight abscesses (tumours) in the brain, and had gone into a coma. But his wife left the hospital and drove for over an hour to São Vicente (where the couple used to reside) to pray at her church—Our Lady of Aparecida Church.

The priest at the church, Father Elmiran Ferreira, who very conveniently had a medallion bearing a portrait of Mother Teresa in his pocket, gave it to Andrino’s wife and asked her to take it back and keep it Mother Teresa Medalunder her husband’s pillow at the hospital before returning to the church to pray for her husband. The woman dutifully returned to Santos and did the priest’s bidding.

The next day, even as Andrino was being readied for surgery, his wife drove back to São Vicente to pray at her church along with Father Elmiran. A group of Missionaries of Charity nuns living at São Vicente also joined the lady and the priest to pray for Andrino’s recovery and ask for Mother Teresa’s intercession.

Meanwhile, Andrino, who was comatose, was wheeled into the operation theatre at 6.10 pm on 9 December. But doctors could not perform the tracheal intubation for anaesthesia. They, quite inexplicably, left Andrino in the operation theatre (OT) and, presumably, went to drink coffee! Half an hour later, they returned to the OT to retry the procedure and nearly jumped out of their skins when they saw the patient fully awake and without pain.

“What am I doing here?”, Andrino is said to have asked the doctors, who were possibly too dumbfounded to reply. The next (10 December) morning, when his wife went to the hospital, she was startled to see him sitting on his hospital bed sipping coffee.

A couple of days later, he was back home with all the excess cerebrospinal fluid and the eight tumours having mysteriously disappeared. Soon after, he landed a good job with the federal government and shifted to the country’s capital, Rio de Janeiro, with his wife, who has since borne him two children.

This fantastical story, with its plethora of loopholes, will form the basis of Mother Teresa’s canonisation a little over two weeks from now on 4 September. Thousands from India, including West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj—who will lead the Indian delegation, will journey to the Vatican to attend the ceremony, where this “miracle” will be celebrated.

The detailed account of this “miracle cure” of Andrino—which appeared in Avvenire, the first to announce the date of Mother Teresa’s canonisation (conferring sainthood)—stretches one’s credulity and throws up many questions. Why would a seriously ill patient be taken to a nondescript hospital more than a thousand kilometres away when Porto Alegre, the city nearest to Gramado (where Andrino was on a honeymoon; and what sort of person would go to his wife’s hometown on a honeymoon anyway?), a major city in Brazil, was just 125 kilometres (2.5-hour drive) away?

Porto Alegre has the Hospital de Clínicas, a renowned university hospital in Brazil that has 60 specialities, and gets patients from across Brazil. In a medical emergency, it would be natural for a patient to be taken to the nearest hospital, more so if that hospital is highly reputed, rather than being taken to a nondescript one more than a thousand kilometres away.

The whole account of a (presumably) newly-wed woman (since the two had gone on their honeymoon) rushing off to her local church leaving her critically ill and comatose husband in a hospital is quite implausible. That is not normal human behaviour.

But after having left her comatose husband in hospital and met her parish priest, this woman drives back to the hospital and places the medallion under her husband’s pillow. And then, even as her husband is being readied for surgery, she drives back to her church to pray! Which woman would ever do that? Did she drive back an hour to be able to pray with the Missionaries of Charity nuns so that the (outlandish) miracle could be attributed to Mother Teresa?

And even as her, and her priest’s and nuns’ prayers are answered almost instantly by the “Blessed Teresa of Kolkata” (as Mother Teresa came to be known after her beatification in October 2003), the Mother Teresa & Pope John Paul II(distraught?) lady remains unaware of her husband’s miraculous recovery. This at a time when, less than eight years ago, Brazil had (according to this Wikipedia entry) 150.6 million mobile phone users.

Would not a woman whose husband was dying call up the hospital using a mobile phone (borrowing one if she doesn’t possess one) to know about her husband after his scheduled surgery? Would she wait till the next morning to physically visit the hospital to find out about her husband’s condition?

This story is also full of coincidences. Many outside the Santos diocese came to know of this miracle, but it was not reported to the Vatican. It was only eight years later, in 2013, that Pope Francis got to know about it during a visit to Rio. A neurosurgeon in Rio, Jose Augusto Nasser, was assigned as the Pope’s personal physician during the visit and told him at the time.

Nasser also happened to be the personal physician of Father Caetano Rizzi, who was the judicial vicar of Santos when this miracle occurred. Incidentally, there are no accounts of Father Caetano suffering from any neurological disorders that required surgical intervention. And a surgeon is not usually a personal physician of any person. But we are talking about fantastical stories here.

Father Caetano, like Andrino’s wife, also hails from Gramado and knew the lady’s family. Father Caetano had told Dr Nasser, a devout Catholic, about the miracle cure of Andrino. Nasser then narrated the account of this miracle to the Pope and sent a report on it to the Vatican as well.

Last year, Father Caetano was told by the Vatican that it was examining the miracle. In the next week, three representatives from Rome reached Brazil, heard testimonies of Father Elmiran and 14 others and returned to Rome. They prepared a 400-page report on the miracle.

Fr Brian KolodiejchukA team of three senior priests and two doctors carried out more investigations to conclude that the miracle was “instant, perfect and complete, lasting and scientifically inexplicable”. One of these priests was Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, a member of the Missionaries of Charity Fathers, a religious community of priests founded by Mother Teresa. It would be in Father Brian’s interest to have Mother Teresa declared a saint.

Of the two doctors, one was Marcus Vinicius Serra, a neurosurgeon who had treated Andrino and had “witnessed the miracle”. The other was Monica Mazzurana Benetti, a surgeon, who is Father Caetano’s niece and close to him. Benetti also hails from Gramado, a town with a strong Catholic influence.

Father Caetano also oversaw the case for another miracle that happened in Santos and that led to Josephine Margaret Bakhita, a Sudanese-born former slave who worked in Italy as a nun, being declared a saint in 2000 by the Vatican. The miracle attributed to Josephine occurred in Santos in 1992 when a local woman miraculously recovered from ulcers caused by diabetes and hypertension in her legs. Father Caetano played a pivotal role in having the cure of the woman being declared a miracle that propelled Josephine to sainthood.

Mother Teresa visited São Paulo soon after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. Soon, her nuns arrived in São Paulo and Santos, where they have a good presence. They regularly visit the Our Lady of Aparecida Church in São Vicente that Andrino’s wife used to frequent. This church is a simple building painted in white with thin blue lines stencilling its doors and windows. The similarity with the blue-bordered white saris worn by the Missionaries of Charity nuns is uncanny. – Swarajya, 19 August 2016

» Jaideep Mazumdar is a journalist with many years of experience in The Times Of India, Open, The Outlook, The Hindustan Times, The Pioneer and some other news organizations. He lives in Kolkata has reported on politics, society and many other subjects from North, East and North East India as well as Nepal and Bangladesh.

Sushma Swaraj

Mother Teresa did not care for the poor. She cared for poverty and made it into a very lucrative business. Her religious order is now the richest in the world. It is therefore entirely inappropriate for a high-ranking minister of the secular Indian Republic to attend the sectarian religious programme for this sadistic woman at the Vatican on Sept. 4th. Those who agree may sign the petition requesting Sushma Swaraj not to go HERE.