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Mother Teresa’s successor Sister Nirmala dead, tributes pour in

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Image courtesy Indian Express
Image courtesy Indian Express

Kolkata: Sister Nirmala, Mother Teresa’s successor as superior general of the Missionaries of Charity, died here on Tuesday following renal failure and heart complications, church and order officials said. She was 81.

“She was sick for quite some time. She passed away at 12.05 a.m. today (Tuesday) at the convent where she used to stay in Sealdah,” said a source at the Catholic religious order’s global headquarters Mother House.

“Sister Nirmala had cardiac complications for long. Lately, she developed an acute kidney problem. She was taken to hospital but brought back to the MoC home two days back,” said Archbishop of Kolkata Thomas D’Souza.

President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who led the nation in paying tributes, recalled her lifelong service to the cause of the poor. Modi’s Nepalese counterpart Sushil Koirala also condoled the death of Nirmala, whose parents hailed from the mountainous nation.

Sister Nirmala became the second head of the order after its founder Mother Teresa stepped down from the post in March 1997. The Nobel laureate, who died on September 5 the same year, was in 2003 beatified as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.

During her 12-year stewardship of the Kolkata-headquartered order founded in 1950, Sister Nirmala visited a large number of countries, opening new houses and drawing more people to the Missionaries of Charity, which now has under its fold over 4,500 religious sisters and activities spread across 133 countries.

She held the post till March 24, 2009, when she was succeeded by Sister Mary Prema.

Sister Nirmala’s body was kept on a pedestal at the St. John’s Church though the day where MoC nuns sang and prayed to celebrate her life, as a large number of tearful people gathered for the last glimpse of the simple but inwardly strong nun. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was among those who paid her last respects.

An order spokesperson said the body would be kept overnight at a morgue in Tangra area. “On Wednesday morning, it will be taken to Mother House for public viewing. After the funeral mass at 4 pm, the body would be carried to the St. John’s Church for the final rituals before being laid to rest at the adjoining cemetery.”

The order mourned the death of its former head.

“We are deeply saddened and salute her life of service and dedication,” said Sister Prema.

Sister Prema said after Mother Teresa, her predecessor took the order forward and worked tirelessly serving the poor and the needy.

The president in a tweet expressed his “heartfelt condolences”.

“Hers was an inspiring life dedicated to service of the poor,” he said.

Modi, in a statement, said: “Sister Nirmala’s life was devoted to service, caring for the poor and underprivileged. Saddened by her demise. May her soul rest in peace.” He expressed his “deepest condolences to the Missionaries of Charity family”.

“With the demise of Sister Nirmala, the world has lost a great humanist social worker. I express my heartfelt condolences,” Koirala tweeted.

In a message, Congress president Sonia Gandhi described her as a worthy successor of Mother Teresa and said Sister Nirmala would be deeply missed by the millions whose lives she touched in the service of humanity.

Party vice president Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “Extremely saddened at the passing away of Sister Nirmala. She carried forward Mother Teresa’s work with quiet dedication and dignity.”

Banerjee also expressed sadness, saying : “Kolkata and the world will miss her.”

Describing it as a personal loss, she said the state government will extend all help and cooperation for the last rites.

International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) also extended its condolences.

“Her life of dedication and service especially to the poor is a great inspiration and it is to be pondered upon and to be followed,” said ISKCON spokesperson Radharaman Das.

Born Nirmala Joshi in Ranchi to a Brahmin family from Nepal in 1934, Nirmala joined the order after converting to Christianity in 1958.

An MA in political science and a trained lawyer, Sister Nirmala started the MoC’s contemplative branch in 1976 and headed it till her election as the order’s superior general.

She was elected for a second term in 2003.

Sister Nirmala was re-elected for a third term on March 13, 2009, but the MoC held a second election days later after she wanted to be relieved of the responsibility owing to ill-health and also expressed a desire to return to the contemplative life she led before heading the order.

She was honoured with India’s second highest civilian order Padma Vibhushan in 2009 for her services to the nation.

(IANS)

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Awakened to The Congress’s Blatant Support to Anti-Nation Forces

This time from foreign soil, Germany, Rahul Gandhi has spoken out his mind

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Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi.

By Salil Gewali

Sometimes I feel too confused that what makes a leader speak so badly about the country. Still more confusing is that the same leader is projected as the only fittest in the country to be the Prime Minister.

This time from foreign soil, Germany, Rahul Gandhi has spoken out his mind. With gay abandon he claimed the lack of employment is the cause behind the rise of ISIS. If we analyze such statement objectively, we see that the unprecedented danger is looming large around this country not because of the citizens but because of the irresponsible leaders.

Is it not too shocking that we tolerate a bunch of leaders all through who, with impunity, tramples upon prudence and embrace the fickleness by speaking with such rashness? The ridiculous ranting is what Rahul Gandhi is good at. How many immature gaffes he has committed in last one year. One finds it too sickening to see people defending what Rahul utters out? Again, to his party’s sycophants, each word spoken out by him is worth its weight in gold.

Could any conscious people come across the board to evaluate what will be the likely repercussion when the projected leader goes to the extent to connect the unemployment of youth with ISIS? What do you say — if a certain father harps on that his children will be dagger-wielding murderers if they will not get jobs? What message does it send out? Will such ideas not “viciously affect” the thought process of the children in future? One wonders how the constitution allows the leaders to speak out such dangerous language. Will it not encourage the treasonous activities within the country leading to the decline of the security and sovereignty of the nation?

Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi.

Despite the height of stupidity, Rahul Gandhi is capable to earn more admirers then criticizers. Is it a pointer to the fact that one man’s loss of sense should lead to the “loss of sense” of other intellectuals? Or do we love an “individual” from a particular family more than our own “country”? On what ground is an “individual” more respect-worthy than the “party”, country and its constitutional ethos? This is in fact a very ominous trend which this country is witnessing now.

True, our Indian polity needs a strong opposition. People do not disagree at all that Congress should not be the one. Yes, this party can alone match well with the rival BJP. But sadly, the party is failing when Rahul started to become more vocal. The party with so smaller number of MPs has not yet “acknowledged” that its rapid decline now is because it continues to sing a hymn to one family only. The conscious Congress party leaders should come down to the ground and critically assess the people’s opinions and their concerns. They all have been intensely disillusioned by the dynasty politics.

Has this “family” not pleasantly ignored a very learned and seasoned leader Pranab Mukherjee by reducing him to just a rubber stamp?  Are Sachin Pilot, Ghulam Nabi Azad, C. P. Joshi, Ashok Gehlot, Jyotiraditya, Scindia, Priya Dutt, less Indian? If BJP can groom Kiren Rijiju why can’t Congress groom the astute leader of the northeast like Gaurav Gogoi or Vincent Pala or Mukul Sangma ? No exaggeration, Sachin Pilot could diplomatically handle the political situation and articulate the party policies far more maturely than entire Gandhi family members put together.

Enough is enough. People now anxiously await the REVIVAL of political parties with vibrant faces who genuinely love the country. We have seen enough of the anti-nation activities incited by the Gandhi family.  It’s totally wrong to be the puppets of a wrong family and spell doom for the nation. PM Modi rightly says that service to the country is far more important than the service to the family.

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali.

One response to “Awakened to The Congress’s Blatant Support to Anti-Nation Forces”

  1. During the UPA/Congress government there had been numerous terrorist attacks, Mumbai trains, Zaveri Bazar, 26-11, plus the attacks in Ahmedabad, Pune etc. Was this situation because the terrorists could not find jobs during their rule? Compared to that there are very few terrorist attacks in India in last four years. So the terrorists must be gainfully employed in last four years !