Swami Vivekananda's disciple Sister Nivedita was deeply steeped in the idea of Hindu nationalism, but in an all-inclusive sense unlike what is practiced today, according to Congress leader Shashi Tharoor.
Speaking at the launch of 'Margot: Sister Nivedita of Swami Vivekananda', written by historian Reba Som, here, he said that her take on Hinduism was full of "humanity and universalism".
"It is striking of a white woman of Irish-Scottish descent, whenever she said we or us she meant Indians. Her nationalism is quite extraordinarily strong and effectively expressed.
"One of her books is called 'Aggressive Hinduism', and how amusing it is that today we seem to have in our politics a version of aggressive Hinduism without any of the humanity, universalism and the large capacious attitude that Nivedita implies when she spoke of Hinduism as a religion of acceptance," Tharoor said.
While endorsing Nivedita's take on nationalism, he also mentioned that it is important not to let her "life and writings be distorted by some people for their political agenda".
Nivedita, whose real name was Margaret Elizabeth Noble, came to India in 1898 and stayed here till her death in 1911 at the age of 43. She devoted her life to spreading Swami Vivekananda's teachings and working for poor and underprivileged of the society.
Som in her book has offered an intimate view of sister Nivedita's life and work through her writings and over 800 personal letters.
Talking about the possibility of new readings of Vivekananda era through this book, historian Sugata Bose said that since the books "explores Nivedita's relationship with the leaders of that time", it will also invite more interpretation of how Vivekananda's life drew upon the people around him.
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