Atanu Dey On India's Development

The Squalid Truth

From Donal McIntyre’s site on the legacy of Mother Teresa:

Susan Shields, formerly a senior nun with the order, recalled that one year there was roughly $50m in the bank account held by the New York office alone. Much of the money, she complained, sat in banks while workers in the homes were obliged to reuse blunt needles. The order has stopped reusing needles, but the poor care remains pervasive. One nurse told me of a case earlier this year where staff knew a patient had typhoid but made no effort to protect volunteers or other patients. “The sense was that God will provide and if the worst happens – it is God’s will.”

The Kolkata police force and the city’s social welfare department have promised to investigate the incidents in the Daya Dan home when they have seen and verified the distressing footage we secretly filmed. Dr Aroup Chatterjee, a London-based Kolkata-born doctor, believes that if Daya Dan were any other care home in India, “the authorities would close it down. The Indian government is in thrall to the legacy of Mother Teresa and is terrified of her reputation and status. There are many better homes than this in Kolkata,” he told us.

Nearly eight years after her death, Mother Teresa is fast on the way to sainthood. The great aura of myth that surrounds her is built on her great deeds helping the poor and the destitute of Kolkata, birthplace of her order, the Missionaries of Charity. Rarely has one individual so convinced public opinion of the holiness of her cause. Her reward is accelerated canonisation.

But her homes are a disgrace to so-called Christian care and, indeed, civilised values of any kind. I witnessed barbaric treatment of the most vulnerable.

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  • Marie Tavlin

    I went to work in Daya Dan in 2004 from the United States. I did witness practices that would never be tolerated here in the States, or any other successful country. But with the very primitive resources that these homes have it seems there is no better way. I found the nuns to be very loving and concerned with the children and their welfare, nothing that they were doing was done with maliciousness of any kind. It seemed like simple ignorance and lack of alternatives. I tried, as we all do, to leave Daya Dan a little better than I found it. my friends and I purchased clothing, bed sheets and a cooking stove for the orphanage in hopes of making life a little easier on these wonderful sisters who dedicate their lives to these children and truly are doing the best they can. Money and managers of course would help, but who will do this? There are two other orphanages also, not much different from Daya Dan. These children could be much, much worse off in the streets where so many other children live with no care at all. Closing Daya Dan would be catastrophic for the children who live there. Where would they go?
    I will be returning to Daya Dan in January. My husband and I would like to bring in a bathtub and hot water for the children.

  • Raghav Goyal

    In searching for “Daya Dan” on the all-mighty Google, I came across this link. I can’t say whether this sit is being used any more or no t, but I’ll say something nonetheless. I’m 17 (officially today)year old, from New York, Indian. I’m currently in Kolkota volunteering with the Missionaries of Charity at Daya Dan. What little I’ve read on the site really surprised me. Daya Dan, though, perhaps,underfunded is doing a remarkable job. There are currently about 40 kids there, all well-clothed and they seem happy enough. The sisters and people working there are all incredibly kind and understanding, and treat the kids as they would their own blood. Sure, once in a while a child is scolded, but for positive reasons. If you give these kids too much love, they’ll drown in it- they need to learn when and when not to yell at the top of their lungs or toss their food-laden spoon across the room.

    I’ve been volunteering for 4 days now, and will continue to do so till the end of July. All I have to say is that they’re doing a great job at Daya Dan. If not for it and the other missionaries of charity, people would be suffering. These kids would, most likely, have been put to death immediately. The elderly would have long sinced passed away from lack of medical treatment, and many would be starving.

    Feel free to email me about anything. I’ll probably be hitting up the cyber cafes every week or so.

    Email: Tutti.frutti.summer.love@gmail.com

    Thanks.