An Exemplar of Motherhood: Sister Nivedita
“England has sent us another gift in Miss Margaret Noble” said the great Swami Vivekananda in his speech he introduced a lady of Scottish-Irish descent by birth and an Indian by choice, little did the crowd gathered there knew that the kind words said by the great philosopher turned out to be a gospel truth where the latter would go on to be one of India’s indomitable voice of nationality, encouraging millions and millions of Indians to throw themselves to the chronicles of ancient past and thrive for knowledge which holds true even today.
Born in the town of Dungannon of the County Tyrone, Ireland in the year 1867, Margaret Noble was a teacher by profession, having lost her father in an early age of 10 and was brought up by their Maternal Grandfather, she and her sister attended Halifax College, run by a member of Congregationalist Church. Having a keen eye for studies she was interested various subjects, including physics, arts, music, literature, at the age of seventeen she took to teaching and was a teacher at Keswick school. She had written various papers and periodicals and was an exceptional writer. It is said that she was engaged to a welsh youth who soon after passed away.
Margaret Noble, from her father was thought by the young age that service to mankind was a service to God she was constantly reading books and scriptures of various religions to find peace and harmony. As fate had it she met Swami Vivekananda who inspired her by his teachings of vedanta and she decided to take the path of “brahmacharya” and was given the name Bhagini Nivedita / Sister Nivedita, having decided to follow her guru back to India and reached Calcutta on 28 January 1898. Bhagini Nivedita’s story of serving and inspiring the sheepish Indians to live and breath the idea of nationalism should be an eternal tale that every individual should know.
From having her own school back in the United Kingdom to pleading from house to house, family to family, asking every other person to send their daughters to school, from helping the people during the plague of 1899, feeding the hungry during the great bengal famine of 1906 to helping out a renowned scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose financially to carry out his research. Out of these many inspiring stories of Sister Nivedita this one stands out. The deadly plague killed half the population of Bengal in the year 1906 there was a small family of three who were infected, Sister Nivedita took along a doctor to examine them and later found out that there was no time left for them even the young kid and warned Sister Nivedita to stay away as she could also get infected, after a few days the parents passed away and left the child an orphan. It is said that Sister Nivedita despite the warning from the doctor to not to tend for the child she took care of that child till it breathed its last!
She eventually died on October 13, 1911 aged 43 in Roy Villa, Darjeeling after giving all her to India.
This year is quite special as this is the 150th anniversary of birthday of Sister Nivedita and the least we could do is to remember her for her spirit of universal motherhood, dedication, determination and idea of spirituality and nationality and bowing down to all such gurus of you and mine.
“Ramakrishna - Vivekananda - these two lives are the unity of India. All that is necessary is that India should keep them in her heart.” and we need to add one more name to this that is Sister Nivedita who showed the world who was the symbol of love,care and motherhood.