Celebrations planned in Sr. Nivedita’s birthtown in N. Ireland on 100th anniversary

Sunday, February 27, 2011

NEVADA - Various events are being organized in Northern Ireland to celebrate Sister Nivedita’s (1867-1911) 100th death anniversary falling on October 13 this year, who was born as Margaret Elizabeth Noble in Northern Ireland but spent most of her adult years in India.

Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council in Northern Ireland, in partnership with the History Forum and facilitated by Killeeshil and Clonaneese Historical Society, is having the three-day celebrations of her life and works from May 27 to 29 to mark her 100th death anniversary. Margaret Noble was reportedly born in Dungannon in County Tyrone.

Focal point of the events is Dungannon, which will include lectures by Malachi O’ Doherty, author and broadcaster from Belfast Queens University; Murdo MacDonald, History of Scottish Art professor at University of Dundee; Doctor Malcolm Sen, English and Irish Literature lecturer at Galway National University of Ireland (who will speak on “Margaret Noble, Vedic Asceticism and Indian Nationalism”). An exhibition will also be launched and the talks will be preceded by question and answer session.

The Blue Plaque, which was unveiled in Dungannon in her honor in 2007, will be re-dedicated during these celebrations. A drama utilizing influential speeches of Sister Nivedita, “Awakening a Nation” by The Noble Thespians, will be enacted. A brief reading from Sister Nivedita’s writings will be given at the cultural sites of Beaghmore Stone Circles, Tullyhogue, Coyle Cottage, and Ardboe Cross; during an organized tour.

Meanwhile, distinguished 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.

Rajan 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 (UK) and it was now the turn of UK and Northern Ireland to pay her a befitting tribute.

These three-day celebrations are 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. According to her, Vivekananda Centre of London is also planning an event to commemorate Sister Nivedita’s life.

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. Michelle O’Neill and Pat Daly are Mayor and Deputy Mayor respectively, while Alan Burke is Acting Chief Executive. Dungannon has won “Best Kept Town Award” many times. (ANI)

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