By Irudhaya Jothi
Ragabpur, September 15, 2019: An inter-religious procession and meeting were held on September 15 at the Ragabpur Jesuit Mission near Kolkata to celebrate Mother Teresa’s birthday and feast day
To mark the occasion, a procession was taken out from the village market, Nepalgunge Haat, after garlanding the statues of Mother Teresa and Swami Vivekanda.
The Teresa statue was installed in the heart of the market on August 28 by Nepalgunge More Bebasahi committee, a secular group.
A well decorated life size statue of the saintly nun was carried through the roads by women dressed in white saree with blue borders.
At times the women started dancing to the tune of Kirtan (Bengali Christian folk songs). St. Paul’s Higher Secondary School is 1.5 km from Nepalgunge hatt, a well-known village market in Bishnupur block of South 24 Pargans district of West Bengal.
The villagers flock thrice a week to this market notably for their fresh vegetables and fish. People from Kolkata’s suburbs prefer this destination at all times.
Nepalgunge is just 15 km south of Kolkata, the state capital.
Chaya Ghorai, a Hindu woman who joined the procession on her way from the Haat, said, “I feel happy to be part of this procession as she is a mother to all of us.”
Chaya like many other local people says she admires and appreciates the initiative for religious peace, harmony and unity “at this time of mistrust and animosity created in some portion of our populace for ulterior motives.”
Missionary of Charity Sister Nerissa from Baruipur, who was the chief guest, encouraged gathering to love one another as Mother had shown.
Mission superior of Ragabpur Jesuit Father Patrick Walsh expressed satisfaction and appreciation for the organizers for their initiatives.
Niyar Hazra, 85, expressed joy at the opportunity to attend the function. The Muslim woman said she met Mother Teresa many times in the past and also in the same venue, St. Paul’s Higher secondary school.
“Mother had come to this school when the school got its recognition with her intervention,” she recalled.
Stella Makhal, a 13-year-old girl, promised to attend any similar function in the future and support it.
Kaveri Bose, a medial nurse who attended the function, recollected her association with Mother Teresa when she worked in Woodlands Hospital, Kolkata. She used to be at Intensive Cardiac Care Unit and used to meet Mother Teresa often when she came for her treatments.
“Mother has left an indelible mark in me, to be at the service of others at any given time, I am called to intervene, when there are critical cases in the village and I happily oblige, I am sure this is due to Mother’s influence in me,” Bose said.
Abinash Bogi, the president of Christian Association of Ragabpur that organized the event, suggested such peace building programs would be organized in coming days too.
Birthday cake was cut and distributed to all the participants numbering around three hundred.