Remembering Sister Nivedita, an Irish who devoted herself fully to the cause of India : Personalities


Nivedita, born Margaret Elizabeth Noble, is regarded as one of the great women of India for dedicating her life to the cause of India and Hinduism. Interestingly, she was born in the Western world but made her mark in India. Popularly known as Sister Nivedita, she was born on October 28, 1867, in Dungannon, Northern Ireland.

She promoted  of the re-establishment of ‘dharma’ (morality rather than religion) in the Indian society. She died on October 13, 1911 in Darjeeling, India due to her tireless activities and disregard for her own welfare. She was just 44 years old when she died.

Here are some intriguing life details of Sister Nivedita:

  • Swami Vivekananda gave her the name Nivedita  when he initiated her into the vow of Brahmacharya on March 25, 1898. The name means ‘Dedicated to God’
  • She has been described by many other names too. ‘Lokmata’ by Rabindranath Tagore, ‘Lioness’ by Swami Vivekananda, ‘Agnisikha’ or flame of fire by Sri Aurobindo, ‘Champion of India’ in England and ‘Sister’ by all the people of India
  • She became a teacher at the age of 17. She taught around different schools in Ireland and England and established her own school at Wimbledon in the year 1892
  • An avid follower of the Indian spiritual leader Vivekananda (Narendranath Datta), she was very vocal on the Indian national consciousness, unity, and freedom


  • She came to India in the year 1898, after working for the Vedanta movement in England for a few years
  • She opened a small school at Calcutta (now Kolkata) in Bengal soon after coming in India. The school was temporarily closed in 1899 during which she went abroad to raise funds and reopened it by 1902. She even increased the number of available subjects and courses after her return
  • She played a key role in helping out the people of Bengal during plague, famine, and floods and strongly objected to the partition of Bengal in 1905
  • She was a supporter of the Swadeshi Movement which called for the boycott of imported British goods in favour of domestically produced handmade goods
  • She kept on promoting Indian arts and the education of Indian women where she went and gave lectures in India and overseas.

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