Papa Doc’s Baby Doc is no more. There are many stories and conspiracy theories about one of the most notorious dictators (all of them are), Jean-Claude Duvalier, who became President of Haiti in the age of 19 in 1971 after death of his Papa, the senior Duvalier.
He had to flee the country with his family and wife Michelle Bennett after mass uprising in 1986. It is said his family used to sell cadavers and body parts of his dead countrymen and Duvalier earned a great fortune by trade in narcotics.
Anyway, figures like Duvaliers are not to be remembered on their anniversaries. The reason he echoed in my thoughts was about a controversy related to Mother Teresa because of him.
last year, some folks (may say researchers), came out with outcome of their ‘meticulously’ done study where they ‘studied’ through the documents, sitting in a far away land, employing their skills on their secondary source of information, when they happened to stumble upon some pieces of information including the one in context here and in their ‘enlightened zest, their infinite wisdom gave us their ‘eureka sort’ of theory which they went on to declare proven immediately with the same source of information, that sought to dim the halo of Mother Teresa, that started speaking aggressively to question the ‘hallowed’ life of the Mother.
Such research studies are interesting stuff the way they are carried out, compromising on the very ethics of a research work that makes it an enduring legacy of an academic work to be used for a generalized purpose. And such research studies are carried out in every stream, on every possible subject, in the manner of roundtable negotiations, with no concern for rechecking and reconfirming the facts and going out in the field to cross-verify the information contained in the secondary sources. Most of such studies are done in cultural isolation and the researchers never bother to know and understand the context of the subject matter at hand. They flimsily analyse and process the information based on their own cultural contexts and ethos looking at the facts from the spectacle of their own societies.
And for the media carriers, most of them do not care before printing such stuff, such observations which are contextually misplaced, as I have seen in many such studies of the Western folks on Varanasi, on Ganga, on religious and spiritual aspects of Hinduism and on many more.
These works are mostly products of half-baked intellects where the creators are not aware of the context or they don’t do the proper pre-research study work, the contextual interpretation of ‘how, what and why’ of the subject under study or the work under development.
They don’t care to understand the historical and the prevailing cultural context to get into the localized, contemporary context of a tradition/custom/activity/method/process of a place.
And one such bunch of luminaries came with this study last year that had many elements critical to Mother Teresa with the Legion of Honour given to the Mother by the Duvaliers of Haiti, and a donation by them to her recently started mission in Port-au-Prince, the amount of which is cleary debatable.
They get their media coverage. The search with the combination of key words ‘Mother Teresa+Duvaliuer’ bumps into plenty of pages and reports quoting this study including many mainstream media houses.
And when the breaking news flashed on my mobile handset yesterday, the only thought that came to me was this Duvaliers controversy that has been tried to link with the holy Mother when she is not here anymore.
But does it matter? She never believed in defending herself. She kept on working for the well-being of the poorest of the poor. Someone who leaved her material life so early, when she was 18, to become a missionary. She didn’t see her mother and sister after that.
The folks didn’t understand the context when they linked the controversy to the Mother, to someone who never lived for herself. She met a member of the Duvalier family and probably her mission accepted a donation from them but then her reason was all that we needed to know if at all we needed to satisfy our so-called desire of probity. She reasoned how could she deny anyone to act in the way of God, for the donation was meant to use for the poorest of the poor.
Also, how can these illumined researchers think that she was so well read to understand the issues of global geopolitics and the political affairs of other countries, and that too, for a remote Caribbean country like Haiti? Her mission was recently opened there and any sensible mind should have all the reasons to think that she might not be aware of what was going on the ground. Yes, we may call it her limitation and many will criticise her for it. But, then who is perfect? And don’t we criticise even God?
All the Greats who have walked so far, none of them was perfect. In fact, being the human beings like you and me, they were always fallible, till the very end. Yes, to rose to become Great, but, intrinsically, there were human beings who worked on their Good Self to dominate their Weak Self so effectively that they became God-like for us. Yes, but they were not Gods. The Weak Self was very much alive and that was what made those Greats one among us.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/