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Statement on the death of Mother Teresa

September 15, 1997


The extraordinary place that Mother Teresa held in the hearts of all Indians, regardless of their religion, has been evident in the great outpouring of grief at her death, all over India, especially in Calcutta.

This was also underlined by the decision of the Government of India to accord her a State funeral, with fall military honours, an honour that has been given before only to former Heads of State and Heads of Government.

In a fitting tribute, the gun carriage in which the body of Mother Teresa will be conducted in procession by the military, is the same gun carriage that was used for the funeral of Mahatma Gandhi, following his assassination in 1948. This gun carriage has been used after that only once at the funeral of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in May 1964.

In this hour of grief, the people of India had received great support and sympathy from people all over the world, who grieved with them. Thousands of mourners have passed through the Indian Embassy in Washington, as well as the Indian Consulates in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Houston, to sign the condolence book and pay tribute to Mother Teresa. A delegation led by the First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton attended the funeral service at Calcutta. These gestures bear testimony to the unique position that Mother Teresa held in the hearts of people from all walks of life, and the deep sense of loss that all of them have felt.

The Embassy of India expresses its gratitude, on behalf the people of India, to all those who share in our grief.