This 28th October is 152nd Birth Anniversary of Sister Nivedita. She was born on 28th October 1867.
Where is she from?
She is from Ireland, her name was Margaret Elizabeth Noble. Her father Samuel passed away, after a few days of birth. She was engaged to a Welsh youth, but tragically, before their marriage, he passed away.
She loved India. Though she was from an Orthodox Christian family, she liked Hindu / Sanathana Dharma. From her childhood, she used to read the Bible. After some time she reached India and started following Swami Vivekananda and she was very close to Sarada Devi, wife of Sri Rama Krishna Paramahamsa.
She met Vivekananda and was influenced by his speech. She changed her name from Margaret to Nivedhitha with the approval of Swami Vivekananda. She later reached India.
Her Services to India:
She served India. India was looked down by the Europeans in those days. We were under colonial rule. There were acute discrimination and Indians were dark in colour, so we were discriminated. But, in contrast, she liked India and the Indian religion. Hinduism. She reached India and associated with Rama Krishan Mission. She started serving poor people.
School for girls: She started a special school for girls in those days. The society discriminated women in those days. On 13 November 1898, the Holy Mother Sarada Devi came to open Nivedita’s newly founded school. She was so delighted. Mother Sarada was so close to her. She raised funds and began schools.
Her service in the Plague epidemic: Plague is a dangerous decease. There was no proper medication for it. At that epidemic time, she served the people who suffered from the plague. Her services were godly. She wrote the preventive methods and brought awareness to the public. She inspected different people and volunteers as well. She became a sister to all, from that, moment.
Cultivation of Indian culture: She took an active interest in promoting Indian history, culture, and science. She actively encouraged Dr Jagadish Chandra Bose, the Indian scientist and philosopher to pursue original scientific research and helped him financially as well in getting due recognition when he was faced with an indifferent attitude of the British Government.
Bose, whom she called “khoka” or the “little one” in Bengali, and his wife Abala Bose, were in very close terms with her. Keeping in view Nivedita’s contribution to the scientific research work of Jagadish Chandra, Rabindranath Tagore said: “In the day of his success, Jagadish gained an invaluable energizer and helper in Sister Nivedita, and in any record of his life’s work her name must be given a place of honour.” Her identity as both a westerner by birth and a disciple of Swami Vivekananda enabled her to do several things that might have been difficult for Indians. For example, she promoted pan-Indian nationalism.
She was involved in National movements. She was born as a European but, she adapted to the Indian supreme thoughts and great culture of India. She praised and admired the works of Rishis. She called India as second to none. Her commendable services are still remembered by the Indians.
She died on 13th October 1911, just a few days before her birthday. She was 43 when she died. She passed at Roy Villa, Darjeeling. Her tomb is in Darjeeling near Railway station on the way to Victoria Falls. On the epitaph, it is written, “Here lies Sister Nivedita who gave her all to India”
Vivekananda wrote about her in a poem:
The mother’s heart, the hero’s will
The sweetness of the southern breeze,
The sacred charm and strength that dwells,
On Aryan altars, flaming, free;
All these be yours and many more
No ancient soul could dream before-
Be thou to India’s future son
The mistress, servant, a friend in one