Sister Nivedita's 100th Anniversary Observed in Her Birthtown in N. Ireland

Sister Nivedita in India

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Reno, Nevada, June 3, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) Various events were organized in Northern Ireland last weekend to observe Sister Nivedita’s (1867–1911) 100th death anniversary falling on October 13 this year, who was born as Margaret Elizabeth Noble in Northern Ireland (UK) but spent most of her adult years in India.

Besides from all over Northern Ireland, fans from USA and England also participated in the remembrance, whose focal point was Dungannon in County Tyrone, where Margaret Noble was reportedly born, according to Jean McGuinness, who was major inspiration behind these events.

The three-day (May 27-29) events reportedly included Dungannon Mayor welcoming the participants in the Council offices; Malachai O’Doherty, author and broadcaster from Belfast Queens University, explaining Nivedita’s role in India’s nationalist movement; Professor Murdo Macdonald of University of Dundee listing her influence in the renaissance of the Bengal Art Movement; Dr. Malcolm Sen of Galway National University of Ireland tracing her path from disciple to social reformer; Senator Maurice Hayes speaking about how she inspired millions in India; photographic exhibition which carried a 21-page letter of hers to Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore; re-dedication of the Blue Plaque in her honor; Jean McGuinness written-directed historical docudrama based on her life at Craic Theatre in which Karen Corrigan played Nivedita; readings from her works at some ancient sacred sites of Ireland by The Noble Thespians; etc.

Meanwhile, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed has asked United Kingdom (UK) to issue a postal stamp to commemorate Sister Nivedita’s 100th death anniversary, name a major educational institution after her, and develop a memorial monument complete with library and museum at her birthplace in Dungannon to inspire the coming generations.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that Sister Nivedita did a remarkable service in India to bring honor to her birthplace Northern Ireland and it was now the turn of UK and Northern Ireland to pay her a befitting tribute.

Rajan Zed also asked India Government to declare October 13 as national holiday to commemorate Sister Nivedita’s 100th death anniversary.

These three-day events were the result of awareness created by Jean McGuinness, retired lecturer from Queen's University Belfast, who has done a dissertation on Sister Nivedita’s life through the medium of the Irish Language.

Sister Nivedita was a gifted teacher, social worker, author and nun initiated by Swami Vivekananda in 1897 and served in Kolkata and around in India. She took service of mankind as the true service to God and is said to be the first western woman to join an Indian monastic order. She championed causes of female education, woman welfare, India’s independence, etc., and revolutionized the Indian Art movement. She authored various books, including “Religion and Dharma”. India issued a stamp in 1967 in her honor. Author Indra Gupta included her in “India’s 50 Most Illustrious Women”.

The Borough of Dungannon and South Tyrone, where Sister Nivedita was born, covers an area of 315 square kilometers with a population of about 50, 000 and a strong agricultural base. Dungannon has won “Best Kept Town Award” many times. 

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