Mother Teresa, aptly described by Mr. Julio Rebeiro; as against Mohan Bhagwat;

Julio Rebeiro does not need any introduction. However, here is what Wikipedia tells us about him………..GREG

Julio Francis Ribeiro (born 5 May 1929, in Mumbai (Bombay)) is a retired Indian police officer and civil servant. He held increasingly responsible positions during his career, and led the Punjab Policeduring part of the Punjab insurgencyperiods. In 1987, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian award for his services. Since retirement, he has served on corporate boards of directors and performed social work.


Did Mother Teresa want to convert those she found on the streets and took into her care?  I doubt if those poor specimens of humanity were in any position to understand her version of god.  I doubt if Mother Teresa could find an appropriate opportunity to preach Christianity to people who were starving, naked and in the throes of death. 

Julio Rebeiro’s interview in DNA

Julio Ribeiro


Mr. Jayadev Calamur, DNA




The RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat can be hailed as the champion of Hindu culture and religion in our country.  Mother Teresa, a Catholic Nun who left her native Albania as a young girl of eighteen and landed up in Kolkata to teach in a Catholic school, can be hailed as a champion of the Christian values of charity, love and compassion which are the fundamental doctrines of Christianity.  Both Mohan Bhagwat and Mother Teresa are people to be admired for their respective commitments and devotion to worthy causes.


So when Mohan Bhagwat proclaims that Mother Teresa’s prime motive behind her service to the destitute was not unselfish but motivated by the urge to convert poor Hindus to Christianity we need to pause and take notice.  If his charge is proved Mother’s purported aim would devalue the virtue of a noble cause.  My own friend and ex-colleague Prakash Singh of Police Reforms fame seconded Mohan Bhagwat’s assertion.  He felt that there were many other organizations that had done better work than Mother Teresa but the media by highlighting only Mother Teresa’s work had wittingly or unwittingly encouraged Christianity!


There is a grain, but only a grain, of truth in what Mohan Bhagwat and Prakash Singh averred.  Mother Teresa joined the religious life as she believed in the teachings of Jesus Christ.  There can be no doubt that she would have liked others to believe also.  But all do-gooders are motivated by strong desires.  There are thousands of them in India and some of them could well have done more useful work than Mother Teresa’s religious order.  Baba Amte, another saint I knew, looked after lepers all his life.  He was a Hindu.  But I do not know of any one who has given up a more traditional existence as a teacher in a school to care for the dying and destitute beggars on the streets.  Most people would just pass by such miserable specimens without batting an eyelid!  A few would feel sorry and a few others throw a couple of coins in their direction but none would want to touch them for fear of the dirt and the disease.  Mother Teresa did just that.  Further she recruited a whole army of Christian Nuns who were put on the job of cleaning faeces and dirt that covered these human beings.  Not an easy job by any means and certainly not one that I would like to do even if I was paid very handsomely.


The RSS Chief and my ex-colleague are both men of principles.  They, too, want to change the world in a manner of speaking.  Mohan Bhagwat was certainly motivated by lofty ideal of service when he joined the RSS and rose to be its chief.  The demand for a Hindu Rashtra was religious as much as it was nationalism.  The degree is only a notch away from the religious motivation of Mother Teresa.  Their approach to fulfillment was obviously different.  Mother worked with her hands and her feet in the gutters of Kolkata.   Mohan Bhagwat works from his office in Nagpur.  Each was carrying out his or her life’s mission.


Did Mother Teresa want to convert those she found on the streets and took into her care?  I doubt if those poor specimens of humanity were in any position to understand her version of god.  I doubt if Mother Teresa could find an appropriate opportunity to preach Christianity to people who were starving, naked and in the throes of death.  Christianity would be the last thought in their minds and surely Mother Teresa had enough sense to know that.  If Mohan Bhagwat takes a count of the b​e​ggers and the homeless rescued by Mother Teresa or her Sisters of Charity he may be shocked to find that none had time or patience to convert to Christianity.  I am sure there must be records available of the disposal of their mortal remains after death.  If they had converted they would have been buried.  If they were Hindus they would have been cremated and entries to that effect would be found in the records of the Municipalities.  He should have this checked.


If Mother Teresa wanted to convert those she touched and if that was her main motive she would have continued as a teacher in a Catholic school and tried to influence impressionable minds.   That would have been a much easier way of converting even good Hindus to Christianity.   I doubt that, that was her motive and I say so because she chose the hard work that nobody else would want to do.


As Ambassador to Romania I was concurrently accredited to Albania, the country of Mother Teresa’s origin.  On one of my visits to Tirana, Albania’s capital city, my wife and I were lunching with Reis Malile, the Foreign Minister and his wife when a message was received that Mother Teresa was on her way to Romania from Rome and wanted me to accompany her.  The Albanian Foreign Minister told me that they considered Mother to be their own and his government was very keen for her to open a centre of the Missionaries of Charity in Tirana.  Their talks with her had bogged down because of Mother’s insistence on positioning a Catholic Priest in her proposed centre.  This was not acceptable to the Albanian government as it was officially an Atheist State and did not allow the open practice of any religion.  Reis Malile wanted me to explain to Mother that Albania had been predominantly Muslim before all religions were banned.  If they allowed a Catholic Priest they would also have to allow Muslim Mullas and that would open the gates for myriad problems that they did not wish to face.  When I mentioned this to Mother she was very clear that god could be worshipped by different people by different names and in different forms and she saw no merit in the Albanian government’s denial of the right to worship to Muslims, Christians or other faiths.


After the Communists were replaced and religions worship was permitted in Albania Mother Teresa was approached by some young boys to cut the ribbon before their entry into a Mosque which the government had earlier converted into a museum but was now restored as a place of worship. Mother Teresa willingly went and cut the ribbon. When I asked her about it she said that god is one and if Muslims want to worship god it is a good thing that they were doing and they needed to be encouraged.


I mention these two instances to clear Mohan Bhagwat’s misconception that Mother’s sole motivation was to convert those she touched to Christianity.  I know that even the babies she cared for were given in adoption to parents who followed the religion of the biological parents of those babies and no attempt was made to convert.  I have witnessed Mother nursing back to dignity hundreds of ‘abandoned as lost’ Christian children in Romania.  Here there was no question of changing religions!  As an Indian, I felt proud that an Indian order of nuns was doing humanitarian work in an European country.


I have no doubt that Mother Teresa truly believed in the god of the Christians just as Mohan Bhagwat believes in the god of the Hindus.  Personally I believe that the god they each believe in is the same.  Only the name they each give to the one they worship is different.  Both dedicated their entire lives to upholding the divinity of their god.  If the missions and path they chose were different that is understandable.


If some individuals got converted due to the awe and admiration that her work and her commitment evoked I do not think that Mohan Bhagwat or my friend Prakash Singh should or can object.  If she has used force (?) or inducement (?) that would be immoral and truly condemnable.  I have full confidence that she was incapable of using any form of violence or coercion.


And finally, referring to my dear friend Prakash Singh’s peeve about the foreign press publicizing only Mother Teresa’s work I will point out to him that Kailash Satyarthi’s work with children was noticed and appreciated first in the western world.  They had honored him abroad repeatedly, before he received the Nobel Prize.  We in India had ignored his achievements for reasons that Mohan Bhagwat, Prakash Singh and Julio Ribeiro should attempt to fathom!







  1. Letty Pinto said,

    March 4, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    Thank you Mr. Rebeiro, Mother Theresa needed a voice from among us. So glad to know that you knew each other, you and the Mother, so closely. Our Catholic Institutions all over India have done so much for the community and they professed Christianity but respected other religions and never attempted conversion…these very people would know having benefited one way or another in their life time.

    We’re so proud of you Mr. Rebeiro..We wouldn’t know where to begin.


%d bloggers like this: