155th birth anniversary of Sister Nivedita observed in Darj, UK

155th birth anniversary of Sister Nivedita observed in Darj, UK

darjeeling/kolkata: Darjeeling renewed its bond with Sister Nivedita as it commemorated her 155th birth anniversary at the Ramakrishna Mission Nivedita Educational and Cultural Centre (RKMNECC), located at the Roy Villa on Lebong Cart Road in the hill town.

Darjeeling and Roy Villa occupy a special place in the life of Sister Nivedita. She had visited Darjeeling seven times and breathed her last at the Roy Villa on October 13, 1911. She was cremated at the Darjeeling crematorium.

A day-long commemoration marked the sacred occasion. "We distributed blankets and ration kits as part of our ongoing programme. On October 23, ration and blankets were distributed among 100 families. On October 30, the same will be distributed to 55 families," stated Swami Mahatapananda, Secretary, RKMNECC.

People from all walks of life paid respect to Sister Nivedita at the centre and "Prasad" was distributed among the devotees. In the evening, a cultural programme was staged by students of the Gadadhar Prakalpa and Sister Nivedita Music school.

Incidentally 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 the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, GTA Chief Executive Member Bimal Gurung at the Roy Villa paving way for the Nivedita Centre.

On July 10, 2013, the State Government had handed over Roy Villa to the Ramakrishna Mission. Items used by Sister Nivedita along with a few personal belongings are displayed in this Villa. Floral tributes were also paid at her memorial at the Darjeeling crematorium. Meanwhile, her birth anniversary was also observed at her family grave in Great Torrington, Devonshire for the first time. The Mayor Doug Smith garlanded the statue. Councillor Cheryl Hunkin said: "The statue at the cemetery is like a site of pilgrimage for not only Indian people but also for English and Irish admirers. It would be great to keep up this connection and continue to welcome more and more people to Great Torrington."

Sarada Sarkar, who took the initiative and got in touch with the descendants of Noble family, said: "This is indeed a remarkable event in the history as this is mainly organised by the Torridge District and Great Torington district council."

The statue of Sister Nivedita was installed in Great Torrington cemetery by Ramakrishna Mission and Sister Nivedita Celebrations in UK in 2019. Sister's ashes were interred in the family grave in 1912. The ashes were sent by Jagadish Chandra Bose and May Wilson, Nivedita's sister in the UK.

A statue of Sister Nivedita will be installed at Wimbledon where Sister had opened a school. Permission to install the statue has been obtained. Swami Viswamayananda is making it. It is likely to be installed in March 2023.

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