The Ramakrishna Mission, New Delhi commemorated the 150th Birth Anniversary of Sister Nivedita by organizing a public meeting on the 28th of October, 2017 from 5:30 to 6:15 pm. The meeting was presided over by the Hon’ble President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind.
Sister Nivedita was born in Ireland on 28th October, 1867 and was christened as Margaret Noble. She met Swami Vivekananda for the first time during his visit to London in 1895. She was so inspired by Swamiji that she decided to come over to India and serve her. She did so in 1898 and served our motherland till her last breath i.e. till she passed away in 1911. She lived an exemplary life and inspired our countrymen in several spheres of nationalist activities. Her contributions in the field of education, in the uplift of women, service to poor and downtrodden, particularly in times of natural calamity such as plague, were immense and immeasurable. Many of the great leaders of India such as Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Deshbandhu C. R. Das, Rishi Aurobindo, Rabindranath Tagore, Acharya Jagadish Bose and many others were greatly inspired by them. In fact, we are yet to comprehend the magnitude of her work. If only the youth of India turn a few pages of her book of life, the story of her dedication and self-sacrifice is bound to instill a spirit of patriotism and a sense of dedication in their hearts.
The commemorative meeting started with the national anthem which was followed by Vedic chanting by Smt. Subhadra Desai, a renowned classical singer. This was followed by a three-minute role play on Sister Nivedita by Ms. Sharadamani.
The evening’s engagements commenced as Swami Shantatmananda, Secretary, Ramakrishna Mission, New Delhi welcomed the gathering recalling our debt of gratitude to Sister Nivedita. Revered Shantatmanandaji said that she lived and died for India.
Addressing the gathering the Hon’ble President said that Swami Vivekananda was one of those who saved our modern national consciousness. He was more than just a monk and a spiritual leader. He was an institution-builder and a national-builder as well. Lauding the work and philosophy of Ramakrishna Mission, he said there are numerous instances of their dedicated work for marginalized communities in India. Referring to their work among Tribal Communities in Maoist dominated Narayanpur in Chhattisgarh, he said, “This is a remarkable and genuine example of public service – of `seva’ in the true sense of the word.”
“I sometimes feel a visit to Narayanpur and an experience of the work that the Ramakrishna Mission does there, should be part of the training of our young civil servants. They will witness nation building in action, “he said.
Referring to Sister Nivedita, the President said, “… a Westerner, she embraced India wholeheartedly, and lived with the well-being of India and Indians on her mind and in her heart.”
Swami Gautamananda, Vice President, Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, referred to Nivedita as “Patriot- Saint”. “She converted the ‘meek and humble Indians terrorized by British Rule’ into brave patriots.” Gautamanandaji recalled her multiple engagement with India’s regeneration – Her founding and running of the School for Girls in Kolkata (which is in functioning form even now, more than a century after its inception), her Inspiration to the founding fathers of Modern Indian Art to discover a genuinely `Indian’ Art, her designing of the first National Flag of India with ‘Vajra’ (Thunderbolt, symbolizing Strength) as a central emblem, her support and encouragement to Jagadish Chandra Bose in his fundamental research work in Botany and Physics, and her great stimulus to invoking a nationalist, patriotic feeling among India’s youth.
Kum. Nivedita Bhide, Vice President, Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari, in an inspiring address, remarked that a true tribute to Sister Nivedita would be for Indians to imbibe the idea of national unity and the courage to mould themselves according to the ideals of Swami Vivekananda.