On August 15, Indian Independence Day, a small sculpture of Sister Nivedita was unveiled at Ranfurly House Arts & Visitor Centre, Dungannon. Margaret Elizabeth Noble later known as Sister Nivedita was born in the city in 1867.
This is for the first time when a sculpture of Sister Nivedita has been installed outside India shortly before her 150th birth anniversary. A number of dignitaries from India attended the celebration including Swami Sarvalokananda, head of Khar Ramakrishna Mission, Mumbai and Swami Purnanandaji, spiritual director of Eire Vedanta Society. Also in attendance was Mrinal Chowdhury, former Mayor of Harrow, London.
Welcoming the Indian visitors to Dungannon, Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Trevor Wilson, said: ‘The unveiling of this sculpture today (Monday) forms a formal link between Sister Nivedita’s birthplace and her workplace in Kolkata, India, where she was, and is today, a
well-respected figure through her work in education, establishing numerous schools, colleges and academies.
“She had a particular passion for art, so it is only fitting the celebration today takes place in our Arts & Visitor Centre in Dungannon. Today (Monday) is also particularly significant as it begins the start of celebrations of Sister Nivedita’s 150th birth anniversary and opens a new chapter of Indo-Irish friendship and collaborations for the future,” Wilson said.
The terracotta sculpture was crafted by Artist Shekhar Das an Indian Artist was donated to Sister Nivedita’s grand-niece Selenda Girardine during her visit to India in 2015.
Girardine, in turn, decided to donate the statue to Dungannon, Sister Nivedita’s birth place. Sarada Sarkar of London took a leading role in developing the link between the two countries.
To mark the occasion a group of Sister Nividita followers joined the celebrations via Skype from Kolkata. The unveiling ceremony was followed by speeches from dignitaries on Sister Nivedita’s contributions to the Indian freedom movement and her relevance to younger generations.
Indian dance performances and group songs were presented during the ceremony. Margaret, a well known school teacher and secretary of Seasme Club came to Kolkata in 1898. She came in contact with Rabindranath Tagore, Jagadish Chandra Bose, Gopal Krishna Gokhle, Aurobindo Ghosh, Dinesh Chandra Sen along with many others. She criticised Lord Curzon when he insulted Indian students during his convocation address of Calcutta University. She had written numerous articles in The Statesman, Amrita Bazaar Patrika and Modern Review.