When I say India, what is the first thing that crosses your mind? Diversity, right?
We are the largest democracy in the world with 22 official languages, 29 states, and 7 union territories. A diverse nation that embraces every possible metamorphosis the way a mother embraces her child. Despite the fact that India is a developing country, it never fails to attract people towards its rich heritage and medieval history of great conquerors. With the second largest population, we stand as the fastest growing nation in the world. Now, we are not just a tourist destination for people across the globe but are also a hub to explore various notions from different cultures.
It is a common saying in India "Atithi Devo Bhava" which means "Guests are God" and Indians consider having guests as a great honor.
We present to you five such westerners who fell in love with India and contributed immensely to its development.
Take a look at their big steps.
Born as Margaret Elizabeth Noble, Sister Nivedita was a famous social worker and educationist, she was born in Ireland but was one of the first people from modern age to adopt Hinduism. Sister vowed to uplift India and opened a school for Hindu girls in 1989. Her only goal was to see India emerge as one of the most strong, self-sufficient and confident nations.
You can read more about her in Reba Som's biography of her, Margot: Sister Nivedita of Swami Vivekananda published by Penguin India.
Mother Teresa aka Saint Teresa of Calcutta was a Roman nun and missionary. After living in Macedonia, she moved to Ireland and eventually to India, where she lived for most of her life. She worked for the poor in India and received various honors including the Nobel Peace Prize. Due to declining health, this revolutionary lady who had touched the lives of millions died at the age of 87 and left the Nation mourning.
You can read more about her in Sonia Mehta's illustrated book and read about the saint's life of selfless service-her childhood, her inspirations and her battles as she set out to aid the poor and the homeless on the streets of Calcutta – titled Mother Teresa.
Annie Besant was a British socialist, women's rights activist and orator.
Despite having a tough personal life, she became a prominent speaker for the National Secular Security. As a part of her Theosophy work, Annie visited India and helped establish various colleges. She was also the President of the Theosophical Society.
Edwina Mountbatten was an English heiress, socialite and the last Vicereine of India. She was a leading member of the London society. Her affair with Prime Minister Nehru had been widely documented. She is especially remembered for her service post the partition period of India.
Read about her in the fictional account of the transfer of power from Britain to India in The Last Vicereine: A Novel by Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang, and get to know Lady Edwina Mountbatten who fell in love with the country the moment she stepped foot here.
Born in Paris, France, Mirra Alfassa was a spiritual collaborator of Sri Aurobindo. She started a school in 1943 and soon it gradually aligned and provided education to more children. In 1954, she declared her dual citizenship with India and France.
I hope this story helped you recall the great work that these westerners did for our nation.
Like and share this story as a token of remembrance to them.