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Mainstream, VOL LIII, No 10, February 28, 2015

Mother Teresa

Sunday 1 March 2015, by Badri Raina

I am no Christian, dear departed
Mother of millions whose persuasions
Mattered as little to you as seasons
Of the year, or the political weather
Of the day, and who worried little
That you had a religion which was
Not their own, finding healing and calm
Past religions and denominations
Beneath touch of your loving palm,
And in the fathomless suffering
In your eyes; I am no Christian, but
Now that a well-fed man in khaki
Shorts who marches to Mussolini-military
Drum, pretending priest of Mother
India whose little people he does
Not love, seeks to besmirch the
Selfless infinitude of your giving,—
That which even god may not besmirch,—
I ask myself what you might have said
To him were you with us still in the
Flesh; as far as I can tell, you might,
Without a blush, have offered to
Straighten his collar, feed his cow,
And read him a prayer from Nanak
Or Kabir, Meera or Narsi Mehta,
And, in your oceanic heart, thanked
Your lord for the opportunity to
Bring home to the hate-filled
Quarter-master the beauties
Of the faith he pretends to profess,
Teaching him how all religions
Denominations, iterations,
Are always infernally wicked things
Lacking the imperioius command
Of unquestioning love.
Do I, O soul of souls, see you weep
A tear of pity from above?

Badri Raina

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