INDIA, February 26, 2015 (by Adam Taylor, Washington Post): Mother Teresa, the Roman Catholic missionary who became an international icon for her charitable work, has been dropped into modern India’s religious debate after the head of the Hindu nationalist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) criticized the intentions behind her work. “It’s good to work for a cause with selfless intentions. But Mother Teresa’s work had ulterior motive, which was to convert the person who was being served to Christianity,” RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said at the opening of an orphanage in Rajasthan state on Monday, the Times of India reports. “In the name of service, religious conversions were made. This was followed by other institutes, too.” Bhagwat’s comments caused a storm among opposition politicians, angered by the implication that a woman who won a Nobel Peace Prize for her work in India would have had ulterior motives.
This controversy about Mother Teresa, who died in 1997, is far from her first. Her saintly reputation was gained for aiding Calcutta’s poorest of the poor, yet it was undercut by persistent allegations of misuse of funds, poor medical treatments and religious evangelicalism in the institutions she founded. Many who support Mother Teresa dispute these accounts, of course, but they exist and are frequently debated. In fact, when compared to the criticism that already exists about Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity, Bhagwat’s words look relatively meek: Multiple accounts say that Mother Teresa’s nuns would baptize the dying and she had a reputation for proselytizing.
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