25 October, 2017

The 49th session of An Author’s Afternoon was all about an ordinary girl’s extra-ordinary life. Sister Nivedita formed the crux of the discussion at the session sponsored by Shree Cement and organized by Prabha Khaitan Foundation in association with t2, Taj Bengal and Siyahi.

Guest Author Reba Som’s latest book Margot: Sister Nivedita of Vivekananda traces the journey of Margaret (Margot) Elizabeth Noble's life and her transformation to Sister Nivedita who left her home in Ireland to embrace India and Hinduism. She was more nationalist than most Indians. Her fascinating life crossed paths with the likes of Swami Vivekananda, Tagore, Jagdish Chandra Bose, Rishi Aurobindo and many other illustrious personalities of her time.

Reba Som wears many hats – an academic, author, historian and classical singer. Reba was in conversation with academician and educationist, Mrs Bharati Ray.

It was a scintillating discussion by two very talented ladies about one of the greatest women social workers of India – Sister Nivedita. Excerpts from the book by Reba Som whetted the audience’s desire to read the book. Reba, in her book, sees Sister Nivedita as a karma yogi. The analysis of how Nivedita came to adore ‘Kalika’ was simply stimulating.The book revealed many aspects.

This afternoon conversation unveiled some unknown aspects of the feisty lady who insisted the artists like Abanindranath Thakur and Nandalal Bose to search the root of art and culture by visiting Ajanta. She had a different sketch of nationalism outlined as ‘civilizational unity’, developed from Ramayana and Mahabharata, that differed from that of Rabindranath. The author’s research revealed how the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore edited his novel Gora after his interaction with Sister Nivedita. Globetrotter Reba Som translated lyrics of Rabindra Sangeet to spread its reach throughout the world. Her tribute to Nivedita, is preceded by her other books on eminent Indians like Differences within Consensus, Subhas Chandra Bose and the Resolution of the Women’s Question, Gandhi, Nehru and Bose, Rabindranath Tagore: The Singer and his Song.

Watch a glimpse of the conversation