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Book review: Mother Teresa – The Untold Story.
At a glance, the book could be mistaken for an essay on the history of Calcutta and a dissertation of what it takes to win a Nobel Peace Prize. But as one reads on, it is clear that the information had to be structured as such to allow readers to comprehend the significance (or lack thereof) between Mother Teresa and the city that made her famous and the prize that often gets attached to her name when the iconic nun is cited around the world.
Demystifying the figures and claims that Mother Teresa personally made throughout the years is the first step to understanding how efficient or helpful her charity has been for Calcutta or India in general and what she could have truly accomplished if instead she effectively used the millions of dollars in donations it received and continues to receive.
At times it feels as if Dr. Chatterjee hovers over Calcutta with a nostalgic and watchful eye, like a child who fell in love with a young school-mate and held onto an affair that never really died, and rightfully so, after all, the city is a glorious metropolis that has been buried in years of mostly false and constructed negative publicity and propaganda. But in all of his praises and affection for his birthplace, Dr. Chatterjee doesn’t lose sight of some of the actual problems, as he points out throughout the book, the issue of poverty is a real one indeed but never as alarming as it is in other metros in India or other countries for that matter and therein lies the central theme of his work.
Aroup’s frustration with his fellow Indian citizens is also palpable as he dissects the general apathy permeating in Indian society and what can be described as the base for lack of legal action against those who take advantage of its people. He is also careful not to personally bash Mother Teresa, after all he doesn’t have to because the evidence of her nefarious dealings are gruesome enough to raise ire and disgust among any compassionate reader.
Over twenty years of relentless research has produced the definitive work on the subject of the validity of the organization. From birth to funeral, through decades of conflict and monotony, each page delves deeper into the facts, chronologically and indiscriminately.
His methodical inquest encapsulates hundreds of hours of personal interviews, photographs, videos, telephone calls, presentations, requests to and from individual journalists, international magazines, newspapers, major news outlets, the hierarchy of the catholic church and even high-ranking politicians in India and abroad. The decades of constant probing reveal a pattern of willful ignorance and complicit silence on the part of those in power who are ultimately and primarily responsible for spinning the story of a seemingly charitable low-ranking nun into a super-nova sized humanitarian, one that ultimately fails to live up to the image its supporters were led to believe and financially support.
Hitchens popularity helped to widen the criticism of Mother Teresa in the mid 1990’s but it also obscured Aroup’s important role in the process, since it was Dr. Chatterjee who first introduced the information to the late journalist and writer. In fact, most if not almost all of the material Hitchens used for his short documentary and booklet ‘The missionary position’ were derived from Aroup’s initial research and documentation.
Mother Teresa and her missionaries as it turns out were mostly hungry to serve their religious order rather than finding permanent solutions to often curable problems, amplifying the poverty they encountered in order to elicit and receive donations primarily from a western audience to maintain and grow their modern catholic cult.
This book is likely to become a handy guide for historians and researchers who continue to keep a factual record of the Vatican’s vast and negative influence in the lives of millions of people around the world and one that even the most faithful followers will find impossible to ignore as more skeptics turn their focus and attention to the so called saint of the gutters.
Book review: Mother Teresa – The Untold Story
Author: Aroup Chatterjee
Reviewed by: Hemley Gonzalez
To purchase the book in the United States (and internationally) visit Amazon’s U.S site: http://amzn.to/29RfC3v
To purchase the book in India, visit Amazon’s Indian site: http://amzn.to/24W1BFO
Dr. Aroup Chatterjee was born and brought up in Calcutta. He now lives and works (as a physician) in London. He was, if anything, positively inclined towards Mother Teresa while he was living in Calcutta, though he knew little about her. Upon coming to the West he was appalled at the Teresan mythology and at the gruesome image that his home-city had in the world. He has done research on Mother Teresa for over twenty-five years and can be called the world’s foremost authority on the late nun. He has appeared numerous times on BBC and other world media to discuss his subject. He is married and has three children.