Birth Anniversary: Darjeeling Remembers
Darjeeling was brought into prominence by Sister Nivedita in the beginning of the 20th Century as she breathed her last in Darjeeling on October 13, 1911. News of her death spread all over immediately and prominent personalities from Calcutta and other parts of the country arrived at Roy Villa, Darjeeling to pay their last homage to the departed soul. Thousands of local people joined her funeral procession and even today Roy Villa states, “Here reposes Sister Nivedita, who gave her all-to India”.
Coming from Ireland, and born to a traditional Catholic family, her contributions are immeasurable. A disciple of the revered Indian monk Swami Vivekanand, she spent her life for the upliftment of the downtrodden and was a person of intense spirituality, strength of mind and intellectual power.
Being given the name 'Nivedita'-the one dedicated to God, she spent her life in improving the lives of downtrodden and deprived children and their mothers. She also worked tirelessly for the amelioration of the plight of Indian women. And tirelessly sought to improve women’s education, especially that of Hindu widows who were often condemned to live a life of poverty.
During the outbreak of plague epidemic in Calcutta in 1899, Sister Nivedita plunged into action in order to save the city. She started sweeping the streets and cleaning the drains and motivated youths to render voluntary service to prevent further outbreak of the plague.
This time around, the 103rd death anniversary of Sister Nivedita was celebrated at Darjeeling jointly by Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) and Laxmibai Kelkar (Founder of Rashtra Sevika Samiti) for the upliftment of the women of India in 1936) at Wardha Seva Trust at Darjeeling on October 13, 2014.
A grand ceremony of Sradhanjali and Smriti-Sabha was conducted at 11 A.M at the Murdaghati (burning ghat) where Sister's Samadhi is situated.
Eminent personalities of GTA along with the honorable member of Darjeeling ParliamentaryConstituency Shri S S Ahluwalia were present to pay floral tribute to the departed soul who had sacrificed her life for Bharatvarsha. His excellency, governor of West Bengal Keshari Nath Tripathi was chief guest on the occasion at Gorkharangmanch Bhawan in the evening alongwith distinguished guest and personalities like Trilokkumar Dewan, MLA, SS Ahluwalia, MP, Shanthakka Ji (Chief of Rashtra Sevika Samiti), District Magistrate, Superintendent of Police, executive members of GTA and a houseful gathering of the eminent citizens of Darjeeling, including school children.
The programme started with lightning the traditional lamp before the image of Sister Nivedita by honourable governor and others, followed by inaugural address by Binoy Tamang- in charge of information and cultural affairs of GTA.
—Basudeb Paul from Darjeeling