Association with Mother Teresa

Navin Chawla was privileged to have a 23 year unbroken relationship with Mother Teresa from 1975 upto her death in 1997. In the process, she reposed her faith in him and permitted him to write her biography with her cooperation. He remained in constant touch with her and her Sisters and helped her with her “bureaucratic” issues and problems at the Delhi end. For with hundreds of “homes” and “ashrams” all over India, dealing with problems of destruction, hunger, disease, malnutrition, calamity relief, AIDS, homelessness and allied issues, there were always some issues at hand and problems to resolve! He travelled to her headquarters from time to time, and would sometimes joke that the only Kolkata he knew was “Mother Teresa’s Kolkata”! Since her death, he has annually commemorated her on her birth anniversary (26 August) an unbroken tradition in “The Hindu” newspaper and other reputed Indian newspapers (see Articles). She authorised him to write her biography in 1987 (“Write about the work, not about me” she had said), which resulted in the publication of “Mother Teresa”, the official biography published first by Sinclair-Stevenson in the UK in 1992 and by Penguin Books in India. The book was well received from the start, in India, the UK and other countries where it was translated into several languages. Navin Chawla retained his relationship with Mother Teresa for all 23 years, often travelling with her. He visited her branches all over India and in many places overseas. After her passing away in 1997, he has continued to maintain ties with her successors Sister Nirmala, and now with the present Superior General Sister Prema, as with other Sisters and Brothers of her Order. What some may find remarkable is that Mother Teresa reposed so much faith and confidence in someone not of her faith (Chawla is a Hindu). Sister Gertrude, the oldest companion of Mother Teresa who lives in Kolkata, always refers to Chawla a ‘Mother’s son’! It was, in all respects a remarkable “guru-shishya” relationship (see Articles on Mother Teresa). In September 2010, Unesco Headquarters in Paris decided to honour Mother Teresa in her Birth Centenary year. Chawla was unanimously selected by the Missionaries of Charity and the Government of India to deliver the keynote address in Paris. His royalties from his two books on Mother Teresa (see Books) are largely ploughed back into charities, to assist leprosy related causes and help disabled youth to acquire vocational skills (see Disability Causes)