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Plague in Calcutta

In March 1899 a devastating plague broke out in Calcutta and spread like wild fire all over the city. The fell disease took a toll of hundreds of lives every day. Deeply distressed, Nivedita plunged into action in order to save the city from the grip of the dire menace. She started sweeping the streets and cleaning the drains. Bengali youths, unused to any kind of manual labour, and accustomed to look upon scavenging as dirty work, just sat and watched for a while, though they felt guilty at their won inaction. The women, put to shame, ran into their homes. But it was not long before all of them girded up their loins and came to the aid of their loins and cam to the aid of their beloved sister. Thus did Nivedita teach the people of Calcutta their first lessons in sanitation, self-help and social service, not by precept but by practice.

Nivedita formed a committee of social workers in order to fight the plague on a well- organized basis. Squads of earnest and devoted workers fanned out in all directions and not only cleaned all the streets and lanes but nursed the victims. Nivedita worked round the clock, often-foregoing even food and rest. Her health was seriously impaired, and she became worn out.

She ran from home to home, hoping against hope to overtake and frustrate death. Often, however, to her great grief, death forestalled her and frustrated her noble design. On one occasion, the victim, a mere boy, died in her motherly lap. At such times, Nivedita stayed on with the unfortunate bereaved for hours together, offering them her consolation and sympathy.

Nivedita and her team incessantly carried on their formidable effort for full thirty days before they succeeded in bringing the enemy to his heel. In the meanwhile, Nivedita had literally saved hundreds of victims from the very jaws of death, staking her very life in the process.

All through these gruelling days Nivedita lived on fruit and milk, and nothing more. She had to give up even milk on one occasion to save the money for the medicines needed by a plague victim.

Sister Nivedita- The Very Personification of Compassion and Service
About Nivedita
"When The Call Comes"
As A Teacher
Finding The Guru
India's Call
On Indian Soil
The School - An Experiment
You are Here! Plague In Calcutta
A Pilgrimage To The West
The Master Is No More

Fight For India's Freedom

The Swan Song
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