Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will visit London next month to unveil a Blue Plaque at Sister Nivedita’s family home, where she lived before moving to India in 1898, to commemorate her 150th birth anniversary.
The London Blue Plaque Scheme, run by the English Heritage, links major historical figures and the buildings in which they lived or worked.
Born Margaret E Noble, the Scottish-Irish social worker and disciple of Swami Vivekananda got the name ‘Nivedita’ or “the dedicated one” from the great monk.
“Banerjee has been invited as the chief guest at a programme in Sister Nivedita’s family home in Wimbledon on November 12. There the chief minister will unveil a Blue Plaque to be installed by the English Heritage,” a senior state government official told PTI.
Recognising Nivedita’s contribution to social work, the English Heritage decided to install a Blue Plaque at her family home to commemorate her 150th birth anniversary.
The earlier date of unveiling the Plaque was scheduled on October 28, Sister Nivedita’s birthday, but it had to be changed as the date coincided with the U-17 World Cup final here in which Banerjee would be present.
The chief minister would be accompanied by Ramakrishna Math and Mission Vice-president Swami Suhitananda to London.
Meanwhile, Banerjee would inaugurate the restored house of Sister Nivedita at Bagbazar here where she had stayed and carried out social works, including setting up a girls’ school, in the early 20th century.
The state government acquired the two-storeyed building, which was in shambles, and handed it to the Sarada Math and it took almost three years to restore it to its original condition.
The Kolkata Municipal Corporation has declared the house as a Grade-I heritage building.
Sister Nivedita began her professional life as a school teacher in southwest London and had set up the Ruskin School in the area.
The school was to later become the inspiration for her girls’ school in Kolkata, then Calcutta, she set up in 1898 after accompanying Swami Vivekananda to India that year.
In India, she served the poor in Bengal during the times of flood, plague and famine and was a very vocal campaigner against the partition of Bengal in 1905.