“Women Missionaries of the Ramakrishna Orders”:
A Research and Resource Centre
The Research and Resource Centre on "The Women Missionaries of the Ramakrishna
Orders" is a unique consortium of published books and periodicals, e-resources and
digital and hard copies of archival materials for instance, letters, manuscripts,
photographs, paintings and films.
The Centre aims to fill a gap in the history of Indian missionary work by attracting
archival and academic attention to the vast field of work carried out by the women
missionaries of the Ramakrishna orders in India and abroad. Compared to the critical
research work existing in the corresponding fields of women missionaries, for instance
for that of the Christian women missionaries or the Brahmo reformation and the women
associated with it, critical research on the women missionaries of the Ramakrishna
Movement has remained a comparatively less investigated area of study.
In this context, and in the context of the ever growing demand of digital archiving in
every field of study today, our initiative has a two-fold focus - on building a collaborative
resource center that would in turn encourage and generate academic research in the area.
The Resource Centre
The Resource Centre aims to bring together all primary and secondary work relevant to
this area under a single umbrella. It aims to produce an integrated annotated catalogue of
archival resource materials in the possession of other public or private institutions. On
this account the Centre plans active collaborations with our mother and sister
organizations like Sri Sarada Math, Rasik Bhita and Sister Nivedita Girls' School.
The Research Centre is planned as an inclusive one and is not only limited to the college
faculty and students. Outside participants are welcome to be part of the project as
collaborators in building the archival contents and as researchers using its resources for
academic purposes. This little-explored domain provides a rich and rewarding field of
critical inquiry, that apart form religious, theological and missionary perspectives, it also
intersects with fields such as Gender Studies, Studies in travel and travel writing, Socio-
economic impact, Rural/Area studies and Visual cultures to name only a few.
The future plans of the Centre include large-scale resource gathering, digitizing and
cataloguing of archival materials. To aid this process, the College plans to hold an Archiving
workshop in collaboration with CSSS, Kolkata, the Media Lab and the School of Cultural
Texts and Records, Jadavpur University and the West Bengal State Archives in the future.
The Research Centre will be utilized and enriched by the research initiatives of participants
and scholars – both from within and from outside the institution. Currently, Br Prachi, a
monastic teacher in the Department of Sanskrit, is working on a series of articles that are to
be published as part of this initiative.
The Centre will also periodically organize and host talks/lectures on its core themes by
esteemed and renowned authors and scholars. The inauguration of the Centre was marked
by an enriching lecture delivered by Pravrajika Gyanadaprana, revered Assistant Secretary
of Sri Sarada Math. She talked about the historical context and circumstances leading to the
formal establishment of Sri Sarada Math as a unique women missionaries’ monastic order
under the guiding ideals of Sri Ramakrishna. This lecture was professionally recorded and
saved as a resource material for the Archive.