Mother Teresa was a messenger of love and peace and worked for cultural and social harmony and today’s troubled world needs more such people, Prince of Arcot Nawab Mohammed Abdulla Ali said.
Citing her as the symbol of love and peace, he said that a large number of Muslims in different parts of the world have come under cruel pressure in recent years.
“Innocent people have been, and are being killed in unjust wars waged against their nations. Some elements among the powerful seem to take a special interest in causing them much hardship and spreading bigotry and prejudice against them. Religion should not be a means to an end,” he said, citing the rising religious fundamentalism in the world.
The Chennai (India) based Prince was speaking on the ‘Importance of Faith and Integrity for Co-existence,’ at the annual Mother Teresa Interfaith Meeting held at the Catholic Church of Christ the King in Mt Roskill, Auckland on November 17.
BNZ and Indian Newslink hosted the visit of the Prince and his wife Sayeeda Begum to New Zealand to participate in the Interfaith Meeting and the Indian Newslink Indian Business Awards 2013 Presentation Ceremony held at Sky City Convention Centre on November 18 (see our Awards Special in this issue).
The Prince regretted that the concept of education is restricted to just acquiring degrees and certificates and that no attempt is being made to ensure decency and dignity in public and private life.
The demolition of worship places, destruction of religious books and lynching missionaries reflected poorly on education in many parts of the world, he said and appealed to people of all castes, creeds and religions to understand the feelings of the people of other faiths.
“Mother Teresa should be a role model for all of us for her dedicated services to humanity. She was an institution and was among the most highly respected persons, winning millions of hearts through her humility, simplicity, charm, and above all, through her services to the poor and downtrodden,” he said.
He said that Mother Teresa was accessible to anyone with grievances and problems and that she was the most powerful woman in the world.
“Her power of faith moved mountains, her power of love moved hearts, and her power of service changed the society. Service to humanity and peace in the world were the objectives to which she had dedicated her life.
“Mother Teresa was the epitome of mercy and the voice of compassion. She will be remembered for her dedicated work of charity and goodwill as the ‘Mother of the Poor’ by many who respected and admired her services,” he said.
Monument of courage
According to the Prince, Mother Teresa’s wholehearted service in the slums of Kolkata (Calcutta, India), ghettos of New York (US) card boxes of London (UK), and shadows of Vatican (Vatican City) and other innumerable towns and cities, is well-known and that she was a monument of courage.
“Mother Teresa was a recipient of high honours, including the Nobel Peace Prize and Bharat Ratna, but she remained a self-effacing and humble person, a true servant of God. She was a beacon of hope and a legend in her lifetime, bringing peace and joy to the poor. The world has lost Mother Teresa, a great and noble soul. We have to learn many good acts of charity and goodness she has shown to the world,” he said.
Among the other speakers at the event were Deputy Prime Minister Bill English, Catholic Bishop of Auckland Most Reverend Patrick Dunn, Deputy Indian High Commissioner Sanjay Verma, Wenceslaus Anthony, Warwick Right, Kerry Coleman (respectively Chairman and members of the Mother Teresa Interfaith Committee) and Dame Lyndsay Freer, Master of Ceremonies.
Leaders of various faiths recited excerpts from their respective holy scriptures. They were Vinod Kumar (Hindu), Dr Anwar Ghani (Islam), Raj Bedi (Sikh), Ven Gyalten Wangmo (Buddhist) and Homi Shroff (Zoroastrian).
An Indo-American Fusion Dance by Ratna to the vocal music of Jeffery Nathan and drums by Joseph Alexander, songs by Tamil Catholic Manaiyam and Sikh children were among the highlights of the event.
Prince of Arcot & Sayeeda Begum with Ansuya Naidoo