The Irish-born educationist, author, social activist and thinker, Margaret Elizabeth Noble a.k.a Sister Nivedita, was a significant contributor to the field of women’s education and empowerment; promoted science and art, but most of all, she is remembered for awakening national consciousness amidst the people of India.⁣

To introduce her in a line, and highlight her contribution to India, it would be fair to use Abanindranath Tagore’s words: “Amongst the foreigners who really loved India, Nivedita’s place is the highest”.⁣

Sister Nivedita met Swami Vivekananda in 1895 in London and travelled to Calcutta India in 1898. ⁣

On 25 March 1898, at Nilambar Mukherjee Garden, Swami Vivekananda formally initiated Margaret in the vow of Brahmacharya (lifelong celibacy) and gave her the name of “Nivedita”,(meaning “Dedicated to God”) Though Sister Nivedita expressed her desire to take the ultimate vow of Sannyasa, Swami Vivekananda did not approve of it. ⁣

In November 1898, she opened a girls’ school in the Bagbazar area of Calcutta. She wanted to educate girls who were deprived of even basic education. ⁣

During the plague epidemic in Calcutta in 1899, Nivedita nursed and took care of the poor patients. Nivedita had close associations with the newly established Ramakrishna Mission. ⁣

Nivedita provided guarded support to Annie Besant and was very close to Aurobindo Ghosh. She edited Karma Yogin, the nationalist newspaper of Aurobindo. Her book Kali, the mother influenced Abanindranath Tagore who painted Bharat Mata.⁣

She was one of the important influences on Jagadish Chandra Bose. She supported him by organizing the financial support and editing his manuscripts, she made sure that Bose was able to continue with and share his work.⁣

In 1905 the British Government under Curzon initiated the partition of Bengal which was a major turning point in the Indian independence movement. Nivedita played a pioneering role in organizing the movement.⁣

Nivedita died on 13 October 1911, at Roy Villa Darjeeling. Her epitaph reads “Here lies Sister Nivedita who gave her all to India”. ⁣