Darjeeling Municipality to renovate Sister Nivedita's memorial
Darjeeling: The Darjeeling Municipality is all set to repair and renovate the spot where Sister Nivedita was cremated, with a memorial built later.
The Darjeeling Crematorium, located 2 km below the main market square of Darjeeling, houses the Memorial of Sister Nivedita. Sister Nivedita had breathed her last at Roy Villa in Darjeeling on October 13, 1911. She was then cremated at the Darjeeling crematorium.
The memorial was later built by Swami Abhedananda, founder of the Ramakrishna Vedanta Math. After returning from USA in 1925, Swami Abhedananda set up a Ramakrishna Vedanta Ashram in Darjeeling and also erected the memorial at the crematorium.
The marble plaque at the memorial reads "Here repose the ashes of Sister Nivedita, who gave her all to India." Lack of proper upkeep has resulted in the steady dilapidation of this memorial.
"We have already submitted a Detailed Project Report regarding the repairs and renovation of this spot to the Municipal Engineering Department, Siliguri. As soon as it is given a go-ahead, work will commence," stated Arabinda Ghosh, Executive Officer, Darjeeling Municipality.
The DPR includes a memorial garden on the spot where Sister Nivedita had been cremated with pathways, rest sheds for tourists, toilets and solar lighting.
Swami Suhitanandaji Maharaj, the vice-president of Ramakrishna Mission who is on a tour of North Bengal, visited the Memorial in Darjeeling on Wednesday and offered floral tributes.
Incidentally, Swami Suhitanandaji, then the general secretary of the Mission, was one of the major driving forces behind the opening of Ramkrishna Mission Nivedita Educational and Cultural Centre at Roy Villa, where Sister Nivedita had breathed her last.
On May 17, 2013, an agreement had been signed between West Bengal Information and Cultural Affairs department Joint Secretary Piyali Sengupta, GTA principal secretary Ram Das Meena and Swami Suhitanandaji, the then general secretary, Ramkrishna Mission, in the presence of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and GTA chief executive member Bimal Gurung, at Roy Villa, paving way for the Nivedita Centre.
"Representatives from Ramakrishna Mission had visited this building 25 years ago and requested the then chairman of Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council Subash Ghising to hand over the building, so that a Centre could be started. He had agreed but with time, the proposal was shelved. We had later approached Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who took the initiative. Sister Nivedita has done a lot for empowering the women of this country. She has huge contribution in the national movement and our culture and tradition. Though Ireland is doing a lot in her name, it took us more than 100 years after her death to wake up. At least her name should be remembered," stated Swami Suhitanandaji.