Monday 23 April 2018

Sister Nivedita: The Dedicated - Who gave her all to India – 47

यतो धर्म: ततो जय:

Nivedita as admirer of Indian womanhood - 1

Nivedita would be charmed by observing in the Indian women their characteristic sweetness, magnanimity, selflessness, the motherly feeling and the natural attitude of self-denial. While Nivedita went to the West along with Swamiji-this was Swamiji's second trip to the West-she said in a lecture in London (February 1901) that, 'Perhaps there was nothing on earth more fair than a Hindu household.' The ideal of Indian womanhood was essentially self-denial and selflessness. She wished to provide the Hindu women with the secular education of the modern West, but she knew that this must not be done at the cost of their traditional ideals and spirituality.

She could form this high notion about Indian women due to her intimate association with the inner household at Baghbazar locality, and above everything, by observing the Holy Mother, Sri Sarada Devi. One day Swami Saradananda said rather casually in some context, 'Our women folk are but ignorant…' But Nivedita did not give him the chance to complete his statement. She said rather loudly. 'Indian women are never ignorant. Has anyone ever heard such words of knowledge from the lips of the women of those countries (she used to refer to the West as 'those countries')?'

Whenever she lectured, she spoke about Indian women, and held high the banner of Indian ideals of womanhood. She did this specially because of the fantastic stories fabricated and told by the Christian missionaries about the ignorance and oppression of the women of India. On her return from the West in 1902, she said in her first speech at Madras, '….To all who make this statement, we may answer that Indian women are certainly not oppressed. The crime of ill-treating women is less common and less brutal in form here than in other countries. And the happiness, the social importance, and I may say, the lofty character of Indian women are amongst the grandest possessions of the national life'.

To be continued...

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