Sister Nivedita—who gave her all to Bharat!

Ten years after the First War of Independence in 1857 of Bharat, a girl called Margaret Elizabeth Noble was born in Ireland, on 28th October 1867. Little did she know, she would go on to become ‘Sister Nivedita—who gave her all to Bharat’!

Margaret was born to a family of revolutionaries, who had been at the forefront of the Irish freedom struggle. Her father Samuel Noble, was a priest at the church.
Right from childhood, she had an inclination towards teaching and serving people. So, after her college, she took to teaching at a school, from 1884 to 1894. But the universe had bigger plans for her!

In 1895, Margaret met Swami Vivekananda (who had become a famous personality worldwide by then, due to his revolutionary speech at the World Religion Congress in Chicago, 1893) in London. She was so moved and motivated by that interaction and Swami Ji’s vision, that she became his disciple and came to Kolkata in 1898. It’s then, she was given the name “Nivedita” by Swami Vivekananda, meaning—’dedicated to God.
Soon after, she accompanied Swami ji for a tour of Almora and Kashmir region, where she realized that emancipation of Bharat could be achieved only if the British rule was put to an end. Since then, Sister Nivedita played a great role in the freedom struggle of Bharat!

Her love for humanity and the idea of ‘Swatantra Bharat’ reflected in all her words and actions. While she carried out relief operations during the time of plague in Kolkata in March 1899; in June 1899, she left for England with a larger purpose in mind. From thereon, she went on a lecture tour to America for raising funds for her school, where she also met Bipin Chandra Pal in Boston. All this led to propaganda against her by the British Imperialists, when she returned to England.
But this incident did not lower her spirits, rather made her revolutionary soul more determined. This got reflected when she came back to India in 1902 and said during her speech, that “people of Bharat are fully competent and no outsider has the right to advise or interfere in their affairs.”
Not only these words, but the way she run ‘The Nivedita Girls’ School’ in Kolkata won her admiration from all over the country. Along with introducing ‘swadeshi’ and ‘spinning wheel’ in the school, she also introduced ‘Vande Mataram’ in her school newspaper, at a time when singing a patriotic song in public had become an offence!

Along with her school work, she remained occupied with writing editorials for publications like ‘Prabuddha Bharat’ and other journalistic works, during 1906 and 1907.
Though, in 1907, she once again left for England. This time, with a mission to meet British Parliamentarians and create favourable conditions for the independence of Bharat! She even arranged the secret distribution of some revolutionary journals in Bharat, along with bringing together the Indian revolutionaries abroad.

But, while she was away, most of her associates were jailed by the British government. She got to know about these details when she came back to Bharat in 1909. Though, being the exemplary woman she was, Sister Nivedita continued working tirelessly towards the causes she had taken up. Her life became an example of true dedication, and, an inspiration not just for her contemporaries, but for the generations to come!

Our great revolutionary breathed her last on 13th October 1911 at the age of 43, leaving a great legacy behind! Today, her memorial is located in Darjeeling whose epitaph emanates her glory, saying — “Here lies Sister Nivedita, who gave her all to Bharat”

By Sakshi Saraswat

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