Express News Service, First Published : 18 Nov 2010
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: For Daya Bai, service to humanity is a way of life. A Malayali Christian girl who left Pala at the age of 16 to become a nun, but later left the convent to work as a social activist among the downtrodden, she was in the city on Wednesday sharing her philosophy and also watching a documentary on herself and her work.
The feeling of being a misfit in her own family and the distance between people had drawn her into the realm of social service, Daya Bai said. The ability to identity herself with the less-privileged section has acted as a source of strength and morale booster throughout her journey, she said, addressing a news conference held following the screening of the documentary ‘Ottayal’ by Shiny Jacob Benjamin at Sree theatre.
Daya Bai spoke on a whole range of issues – from political interference in her work to the rise of Naxalism. When asked about her association with Mother Teresa, she said that it was altogether a wonderful experience with the Mother, but she did not want to follow her ways. Daya Bai made her point clear by saying that she believed in Christ, but not in the authority of the Church.
Moreover, Mother Teresa was engaged in healing the problems of hapless people, while she herself wanted to eradicate the root cause of these problems. She further said that the policies of the Church were absolutely against the mission of Christ.
To another query, she said that she did not want to work in Kerala but had plans to launch more initiatives in other places. ‘’A change has taken over God’s Own Country, which has transformed into Devil’s Own Country,’’ she said.
Daya Bai, who is a personification of unending struggle and commitment, has also been associated with Narmada Bachao Andolan and the Chengara agitation, apart from her solo struggles representing the forest dwellers and villagers in Bihar, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal. She had also lent her services to the common folk in Bangladesh during the war there. Daya Bai, who practises the theology of liberation, has settled down among the Gonds of Chhindwara district in Madhya Pradesh.
The activities concentrated in this very place acted as the catalyst in the transformation of a woman of Kerala origin – she was born Mercy Mathew – to the strong-willed Daya Bai of today.
Daya Bai, who is called affectionately as Deedi, has organised street plays, delivered speeches, observed satyagraha, opened schools and worked for the progress of the poor folk. And she continues to do so.
Courtesy: Express News Service