Kolkata and London are twin cities, says Mamata Banerjee
It’s not only the inspiring thoughts of the English legacy that dominate the cultural bond between the two countries — India and England — but a representation of those ideas of similarity that is visible in the innumerable architectural structures that are present in Kolkata, set up during the British Raj and later.
Highlighting this similarity and describing London and Kolkata, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said: “London and Kolkata are essentially twin cities. We have cultural closeness and the same types of structures that we see in London are also to be found in Kolkata. Not only this, we also share a strong bonding in the field of education too.”
Addressing a gathering at the library conference hall here on Sunday afternoon, she recalled Sister Nivedita’s contribution to India and added: “She was dedicated to the cause of India.” She also spoke about Nivedita’s role in serving the poor and needy during the plague that broke out as an epidemic in Bagbazar where she used to live in 1899. “We have a college named after her. We have acquired the houses where she died in Darjeeling and where she started her school in 1898,” she said adding: “In daily life, we always remember Sri Ramakrishna, Maa Sharda, Swami Vivekananda and Sister Nivedita before starting any work.”
She handed over two motifs of Swami Vivekananda and Sister Nivedita to the Mayor. Earlier, the much-awaited Blue Plaque was unveiled at Sister Nivedita’s house at 21 High Street in Wimbledon where she used to live before she came to India.
The Chief Minister also garlanded a portrait of Sister Nivedita who used to live in this house before leaving for India in 1897. Swami Suhitanandaji, one of the vice-presidents of Ramakrishna Math and Mission, Dinesh Patnaik, acting Indian High Commissioner to UK, Amit Mitra, state Finance minister, Malay De, state Chief Secretary and Lord Swraj Paul along with a host of industrialists were present at the event.
The Blue Plaque read “Sister Nivedita (Margaret Noble) Educationist and Campaigner for Indian Independence lived here.”
Mamata Banerjee walked down to the auditorium on Crompton Street. The portraits of Sri Ramakrishna, Maa Sharda Devi, Swami Vivekananda and Sister Nivedita were kept beside the dais. The function started with an invocation paying homage to Sri Ramakrishna.