यतो धर्म: ततो जय:
Not much is known about Sister Christine's role in these discussions, as less is known about her life, and she had a more quiet personality. But she was definitely involved, and we shall discuss more about her later. On the other hand, Sister Nivedita was the dominant personality here, and readily became deeply involved in many aspects of Indian life and culture, in some part kindled by the stimulating discussions at their breakfasts. It was, in fact, at The House of the Sisters where many political, social, and cultural plans were made, and also ideas exchanged and developed, that had profound influence on modern India. Here we shall look at just a few of the guests at The House of the Sisters, and see their interaction with Sister Nivedita and the parts they played in India's fight for political and cultural freedom.
We have already mentioned S K Ratcliffe, the young British editor of The Statesman. Soon after he became acquainted with Nivedita, he was married in Calcutta, and both he and his wife, Katie, began to come for Sunday breakfasts. Nivedita obviously loved them very much, as we can see from the tone of the many letters written to them after they returned to England. Being the editor of an important newspaper was a great responsibility, and, it seems, Mr Ratcliffe used his position to help India in its struggle for freedom. In a letter, referring to him, Nivedita wrote: 'And HE has been divine about India. He has done yeoman service to our cause, as Editor of the Statesman.' Among other things, Mr Ratcliffe published items in the paper written by Nivedita, exhorting Indians to stand up against falsehood and injustice. After he resigned his editorship of The Statesman over a disagreement, Nivedita tried her best to get him an editorship with another paper, but failed.
Yet Ratcliffe and his wife both continued working for the cause of India even after they returned to England. And later Nivedita understood that if they had stayed in India, Ratcliffe may have even been imprisoned for the way he spoke up and exposed the corruption in the British rule of India. In a letter to the Ratcliffes dated 28 July 1911, only a few months before she died, Nivedita wrote in a sad and reflective mood: 'The Man of Science [J C Bose] says it would be a wonderful thing for us, but a bad thing for you, if we raised Indian money to buy the I.D.N. [Indian Daily News] and gave it to you. It would be so bad for you, that I don't think about it. You are now leading a wholesome life [back in England]. And yet how happy those years have been, in which we had you here [in Calcutta]! Our little world seems silent and deserted now! One sees life as some-thing that lay in those years and is past' (2.1215).
Pravrajika Shuddhatmaprana : Pravrajika Prabuddhaprana is a senior Sanyasini of the Sri Sarada Math and Ramakrishna Sarada Mission.