Book: Translocal Lives and Religion
Chapter: 3. The Making of the Ideal Transnational Disciple: Unravelling Biographies of Margaret Noble/Sister Nivedit
This chapter departs from the representation of Margaret Noble/Sister Nivedita (1867‒1911) popularized by emic biographies. These have tended to treat her eclectic spiritual life, with all its fluid complexity, as merely preparatory to her meeting Swami Vivekananda (1863‒1902) in London, and to attribute the roots of her commitment to the cause of Indian nationalism, after her initiation as his disciple, to a deep-seated Irish nationalism inculcated by her family. Instead, by extending the concept of “translocalism”, this chapter will explore Nivedita’s life as a “translocal space”. It will be suggested that the distinctive transnational course of Nivedita’s life, between two seats of resistance to British colonial rule via the capital of the British Empire, gave rise to ambivalence and unresolved tensions that she exhibited in relation to her identity and the direction of her career.