Sister Nivedita’s prayer room damaged
The room in Darjeeling where Sister Nivedita said her last prayers and breathed her last was vandalised by unidentified miscreants in the wee hours on Thursday.
The room inside a four-storey building, named Roy Villa, houses an office of Ramakrishna Mission and its Nivedita Centre. The building is not far from Darjeeling town.
Sister Nivedita, a Scott-Irish social worker, was one of Swami Vivekananda’s closest disciples. She made India her home and inspired scores of freedom fighters in the spirit of nationalism during the early 20th century.
She passed away in this room on October 13, 1911. The incident happened in the wee hours on Thursday, the police suspect.
“In our absence, hooligans ransacked Roy Villa, including the shrine and the hall where Sister Nivedita offered her last prayer and breathed her last,” said Swami Nityananda, secretary, Ramakrishna Mission’s Nivedita Education and Cultural Centre.
“This vandalism is not connected to the ongoing agitation in the hills. It appears to be the handiwork of thieves,” said Akhilesh Chaturvedi, superintendent of police, Darjeeling.
The room where Nivedita breathed her last is on the fourth floor. The miscreants entered the room after breaking the windowpanes.
Apart from stealing the donation boxes, the miscreants damaged several framed photographs.
The vandals also took some articles from the prayer hall. The Nivedita Education and Cultural Centre runs coaching classes for children from poor families and trains locals people, especially widows, in handicrafts.
Roy Villa, owned by Ramakrishna Mission, is a heritage building about six kilometers from Darjeeling town.
It was constructed in 1901 by D N Roy, a relative of Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose. The Bose family and Nivedita were close friends.
The building was formally handed over to the state government in 2013, following which the Mamata Banerjee administration handed it over to Ramakrishna Mission in 2014. It became a tourist attraction in recent years.
In the wake of the indefinite bandh, the office bearers left the house and went to Siliguri.
Following the incident, Ramakrishna Mission officials rushed to Darjeeling with a police team.
The prayer room that was vandalised by miscreants in Darjeeling on Thursday.