Wednesday 18 July 2018

Breakfast with the Sisters: A Meeting of Great Minds -16

On 17 March 1910, Nivedita wrote Miss MacLeod: 'I was almost forgetting to tell you that tomorrow we [Nivedita and Christine] go by special invitation to see Lady Minto at noon. So you see, we are quite magnificent now! I think she really enjoyed the expedition also in the little boat, which you will understand. She has asked us to bring her some swadeshi biscuits and we are also going  to sacrifice to her a sketch from Ajanta by one of the clever young artists of the new school'.

Lady Minto encouraged Nivedita to go on with her writing, and she also asked her to meet the Commissioner of Police. Most likely after a few words from Lady Minto behind the scene, things went on smoothly for a few more months for Nivedita. This meeting with Lady Minto happened at a critical time for Nivedita. At this time the police were trying to arrest Aurobindo Ghosh—and, as Nivedita was closely connected with him, she would have been under much surveillance by the police. This is why Nivedita said, 'So like Swamiji'—that is, Swamiji arranged all this to protect her.

Though Nivedita knew that Lord Minto was doing what he could to ease the situation with the Indians after the disastrous rule of Lord Curzon, still this event helped Nivedita see this British ruler and his wife from a very human point of view—a view that affected her deeply. As Nivedita wrote the Ratcliffes, 'She [meaning, Lady Minto] is a dear'.

Shortly after this, Lord Minto's term as Viceroy came to an end, and he and Lady Minto returned to England. But, thanks in good measure to Nivedita and Christine, Lady Minto returned with a genuine appreciation for India and Indian culture. So here too—even with the British Raj—there was a meeting of great minds.

From : Pravrajika Shuddhatmaprana :  Pravrajika Shuddhatmaprana is a senior Sanyasini of the Sri Sarada Math and Ramakrishna Sarada Mission...Astu!


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