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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Sister Nivedita : The Life Of Unconditional Self-dedication

             Today is the 151st birthday of Sister Nivedita who dedicated her life for India. Actually, she was an Irish lady named Margaret Noble. Swami Vivekananda asked her to go to Kolkata for the progress of Indian women. She was a teacher of a renowned school of London. And was raising funds for the education of poor people of India. At that time, Swamiji told her to leave London for India. Then she was just 31 year's old lady. 

              We don't exactly know how much money she had at the time of boarding on Mombasa ship in London, but can anticipate that, Miss Henrietta Muller was the contributer of money who contributed money to Swamiji to purchase land for establishment of Belur Math. But Swamiji was not agreed with the special dependence of Margaret on Muller. 

              Swamiji wrote to Margaret from Almora in a letter on 29th July, 1898 that, it was very difficult for an English woman to live in India for the cause of upliftment of women of India. On one side, the poor, illiterate, full of blind faith, slave-minded men & women of India and on the other side, local residents of English men & women who thought that the foreigner lady who was lived at desi area by herself was nothing but insane. Swamiji mentioned clearly by adopting the word 'crank'. Swamiji cautioned Margaret that the lady Muller was not so generous as pretended. She believed that she was born to dominate world by money only. And Swamiji hoped Margaret will soon realise it. Hence, he advised Margaret to work alone. But, still Margaret was dependent on Muller. We knew that Margaret has cheque of ₹15 given by Miss Muller which was precious for Margaret at that time. Later, Miss Muller sent cheques to Margaret but on condition that, the money was only for the day-to-day expenditure of Margaret and must not spent for religious purposes. Only after a few days of Margaret's arraival in Kolkata, she wrote to Mrs Eric Hammond that thank god she had no dependence on Miss Muller's money,  she gave up Hinduism and returned back to Christianity. 

       We regret that we have no reliable description of Sister Nivedita who dedicated herself for the upliftment of Indian women. Only the description of Margaret's journalist friend Mrs Eric Hammond is dependable and true-to-life. 

        Young and energetic Margaret reached Kolkata on 28th January, 1898. Vivekanand received her on the harbour. When Miss Muller stopped sending money to Margaret, she felt the real distress. She realised that day-to-day expenditure of food and clothing was not so costly but the fare of commutation was not cheap. Later, Margaret received a bi-cycle from Thakur Bari of Jorasanko. Only after a few days of her arrival to Kolkata, she realised that she had to return back to England as she had no provision of money for her work. The girls school at Bose Para Lane could never be run as minimum 10 to 20 students needed. Swamiji asked her to went back. Margaret asked Swamiji, "Do I fail to fulfil your expectations?" Swamiji replied, "Not you, we failed." She told that Swamiji need not to be anxious as she had ₹630 cash in hand to run her daily life in Kolkata upto September next. Then Swamiji agreed.

          In the mean time, famous attorney and admirer of Swamiji, Sri Mohini Mohan Chattopadhyay was agreed to help with money for the expenditure of a girl student named 'Santosini'. That was a good news for Nivedita. She also thought that if she had £150 pound then retention of 5 students in hostel for one year could be affordable for her. The student 'Santosini' was lived in the room of Nivedita. Attorney Mohini Mohan sent a cheque of ₹90 for 'Santosini's half year's expenditure to Nivedita. 

          Nivedita had to face difficulties as no Indian women was agreed to do household work for Nivedita. At last she found an old Hindu woman who agreed to do work for Nivedita with one condition - Nivedita would never enter in kitchen or touch her oven and water. The old woman used to bath after touching Nivedita's cup of tea. Nivedita had to wash her guests' cup of tea with grief. 

            Nivedita used to tolerate so many hurts, negligence, insults and humiliation throughout her life. She told someone that when she lived in Almora with Swamiji, she compelled to cry almost all days. She also said, when Sister Christine came in life of Vivekanand, she hardly went to Belur Math because she thought, Swamiji would teach Sister Christine. She felt being oblivious herself, and lived in school - aloof, with pain.

               19 July, 1902 - Nivedita cut off relations with Belur Math after a few days of Swamiji's death. After that, the last decade of Sister Nivedita was a long tale of real grief, pain, poverty and insult, humiliation. Nivedita tried to raise fund to give Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose his due recognition for his invention. Nivedita was involved with will of Mrs Sara Bull reluctantly in which Mrs Sara Bull wanted to inherit her wealth to Sir J C Bose and Sara's daughter filed a suit in court of America against this will. This suit and behaviour of Hindu Sannyasis got huge publicity in print media. Sara's daughter won the case and the whole thing hurt Nivedita much.

                 The last few years of Nivedita was very painful. We know that, after the court case, Nivedita returned back India. Her personal relations with Belur Math was never ceased - she used to come to Belur Math and sannyasis too went to her school. Nivedita used to love and respect Ma Sarada. We know, she used to talk with Ma Sarada in pure Bengali. But very few know, when Ma Sarada was unable to walk for arthritis, Sister Nivedita used to take Ma Sarada in lap and went upstair. She used to get unlimited joy by doing this.

                   In the year 1900 Nivedita told someone in Kolkata, "I shall live 11 years more." In last years, she lived at Roy Villa of Darjeeling. It belonged to Sir J C Bose. She was guest of Bose. And at the age of 44, Sister Nivedita was died there on 13 October, 1911. She intended in her will that all her wealth would be given to the Trusty of Vivekananda Swamiji Math of Belur. Her fund would be kept forever as the source of education of Indian women by national method and they'll spend the fund according to the advice of Miss Christine.

                      The writings on the graveyard of Sister Nivedita at Darjeeling was the respectful presentation of Ramkrishna Vedanta Math established by Swami Avedananda in which the following words are there - "REPOSE THE ASHES OF SISTER NIVEDITA (MARGARET E. NOBLE) OF THE RAMKRISHNA-VIVEKANANDA WHO GAVE HER ALL TO INDIA. 13 OCTOBER 1911.

                       In exchange of that unbelievable offer, what we had given or can give to Sister Nivedita that may be a question after the day's fulfilment of her 150 birth anniversary.

Friday, October 13, 2017

International Puppet Festival

For the first time in Kolkata world standard puppet festival is about to held (26-31 October 2017) in which England, Germany, Peru, Portugal, Italy, Lithuania, Brazil, Singapore and India will participate. In this PUN (Puppets Unite Neighbours) Puppet Festival, 15 artists will participate, 7 from India. Puppet show, theatre will be shown to the students of several schools, free of cost. The artists will perform show at Quest Mall free of cost too. One function at P C Chandra Garden will be held by tickets only.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

House Of Sister Nivedita Will Open Soon

Ramkrishna Sarada Mission has completed the renovation work of Sister Nivedita's house at 16A, Bose Para Lane. It is the heritage building which the State Government has taken four years ago and handed over to Ramkrishna Sarada Mission for renovation work. The said house is situated on about 5 kathas of land. The house is renovated in such a way that the rooms remained same as they were used by Sister Nivedita years ago.

A museum is being formed there inside the house where the books, things, furniture used by Sister Nivedita will be exhibited for all. Moreover, many information, photos of Sister will be placed there. So many past events occurred in the life of Sister Nivedita will become real by audio-visual effects. On the day of inauguration, a compilation book on life & works of Sister Nivedita will be published there. Moreover, a book on preservation of the house will be published there too.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Hatibagan Sarbojanin Durga Puja 2017

Bird - free on the sky, the vast field of freedom. The puja committee has chosen this theme inspired by the speciality of making of artistic birds in Varanasi.