Mother Teresa, Bharat Ratna and Nobel Laureate, is a global icon, beloved of the people irrespective of their age, gender, race and religion. It is a matter of great satisfaction to the Christian community in India that the billion-strong Hindu community of the country and the Indian diaspora have collectively denounced the political attempt to denigrate her memory and insult her work of service and compassion to the orphans, destitute and dying.
The Evangelical Fellowship of India leadership and members join in this sense of shock and disbelief over the remarks of Mr Mohan Bhagwat, the head of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, and senior members of the Bharatiya Janata party which now governs India, that her lifelong service across the globe was to convert people to Christianity.
"This shows an absolute lack of understanding of selfless love and service which Mother Teresa exemplified," said Dr Richard Howell, General secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship of India. "Teresa, as a follower of Jesus Christ, obeyed His command to love one another. She saw Jesus in people who had been rejected by society, neglected by the State, stigmatised by society."
Mr. Bhagwat's rhetoric is keeping with the ideology of hate and the agenda of polarisation of Indian society that has brought such agony to the nation, and its people.
The Evangelical Fellowship of India affirms the commitment of the Christian community and the church to the service of the marginalised, the Dalits and the Tribals in this country.
It also stresses that the Christians' seeking security and peace for their worship and their work is rooted in their citizenship, and their celebration of India's commitment to the United Nation's Bill of Fights, which is also such an important component of its Constitution.
Rev. Dr. Richard Howell,
Evangelical Fellowship of India,
New Delhi, India