Kolkata: Mother Teresa will be declared a saint by the Vatican on September 4. Mother Teresa was the first living Indian to be honored with a stamp by India Post in 1980.She was honored with “Nobel Peace Prize” in 1979, “Bharat Ratna” in 1980 and “Blessed Teresa of Calcutta” in 2003. To commemorate this special event, a special cover was released by India Post, West Bengal Circle which had been designed and proposed by Mr Alok K Goyal of A G Impex, a well known modern philatelist. A five-rupee commemorative coin issued by the Indian government in 2010 to mark her centenary birth celebrations will be engraved on the cover. This is a special feature as it combines the two collectible items of coins and stamps.
Mr Goyal said, “Mother Teresa had devoted her life in Kolkata to work for poor of the society. This event will be a matter of pride for every Indian, especially for people of Kolkata, many of whom must had met or seen Mother in real. The collector’s item will be released in a limited edition of 1,200 pieces, priced at Rs 250/ each.”
Ms. Arundhaty Ghosh, The Chief Post Master General, West Bengal released the cover and Rev Father Thomas D’souza, Archbishop of Kolkata was the Guest of Honor during the release function. Other dignitaries present were Sister Donatienne of the Missionaries of Charity and Gautam Lewis from UK.
Rev Father Thomas D’souza felt, “Mother Teresa has been the focal point of every activity as it were. In various ways, people have come forward to express their love for Mother. Through various programmes organized and conducted by various organizations, one message has been spread all around- Love is a powerful force and when it is used and put into practice in genuine way it bears abundant fruit. We all love Mother. Kolkata loves Mother. India loves Mother and the whole world loves Mother. Today we are here to celebrate the love of Mother.”
Sister Donatienne added, “Mother had a great love for Kolkata. Mother kept encouraging people to join her, not just to give donations but to give their hearts to serve, to do small things with great love. May the release of this special cover contribute to keep the spirit and love of Mother vivid and alive not only in Kolkata but all over India. “
Arundhaty Ghosh felt, “We have a special bond with Mother Teresa. She has a special place in our heart. Kolkata was her karmabhoomi. She loved all the people of Kolkata and took care of all the downtrodden that were not recognized by the society.
Gautam Lewis was born in Kolkata . At three years old he was abandoned after contracting polio. He was raised and sheltered at Mother House for four years before London-based Patricia Lewis adopted him. He is now a successful entrepreneur and flying instructor.
To the world at large Mother has come to symbolise peace and enduring strength. And to the millions of poor, destitute and downtrodden she spells hope and love. She has travelled across nations and continents, in times of wars, famines and calamities to bring into her fold the needy and destitute – be it men, women or children.
Talking about the importance of Mother’s message of peace and love, Gautam feels, “Think what you can achieve if we spent less money on fighting wars and creating conflict, think what you can achieve if you segregated less and had divisions across colour, race, religion, gender, sex, so and look at what you can achieve if you harness all of that energy and do something really good with it, you know. I am an example like many many other people who had a very complicated upbringing, but I am example that regardless of all of that you can shine and you can achieve and make dreams real. So but none of that is possible if you don’t have a love of humanity.”
Gautam ran a competition for songs on Mother Teresa and picked up two young singers from Kolkata ( The Cypher Projekt). They have mixed Rabindra Nath Tagore’s well-known song, Mora Gang, with a bit of rap and hip hop. The single will be released on the 4th of September. 100% of all sales proceeds will be going towards helping the street children of Kolkata. The Cypher Projekt , performed their single MoraGaang at the launch event.
Gautam shares , “ It’s fascinating being back in Kolkata and where I did have a very love hate relationship with Kolkata it focused more on the hate because I was focusing, more on the dark side, but my eyes weren’t opened to see all the wonderful things that exit here. Being able to celebrate fantastic things that Mother Theresa has represented, but also her herself has contributed towards people being overwhelmed by the simplicity of simple acts. Smiling to one another for example really can change someone’s day, but I have now been able to see the music here, the passion for politics something new happens every single day, there is not a single day that you can say is normal. There is the joy for life, there is if someone’s not there to help you people find the way to help themselves, so it’s very inspiring. Kolkata is a very green place, it’s full of colour, it’s open space so the conclusion is if I’m going to live anywhere in India, I would live in Kolkata and the other conclusion is I’m no longer afraid of Kolkata. So once you’ve reconnected with your heritage it’s even worse to lose it again.”