I post this today, 12th January, 2013, the 150th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda [12.1.1863 to 4.7.1902]. Grand celebrations in memory of the Great Monk is being held in many parts of the world. But in the morning, I was saddened to see [in front of my house] many school children being taken in processions on the streets holding placards with some messages. Public stunts by schools or so I thought, and what a cheap way!! What do they do with those placards? They throw them into garbage and burn. Was that what the Swami wished? Where are the schools heading to? Let it be, but this post is about a picture of the Monk I found at home.
Many old framed pictures from the turn of the early decades of the 20th century were lying in the attic in a wooden box. Imagine 30-40 pictures of all sizes being displayed on walls of homes in the days of yore!! They had been removed as they were not found relevant by my forefathers. One day, about 15 years ago, I dove into it in an effort to discard some really bad and damaged ones. Some had their glasses broken also.
Among the smaller ones, I found this. There was a nail on the wall of a dark passage in our old home and I had simply hung it there during that operation. Some years later, I happened to lay my hands on it and took it out to wipe it clean. I got goosebumps when the 'signature' of the man in the picture was noticed! I knew it was Swami Vivekananda and that was why I had taken it out and hung. Now suddenly it deserved a better place than a dark passage!
I found another frame which was neat, old and good and it suited the picture's proportions. I reframed it into this. The pose in the picture is a popular one now available all over the net.
In all likelihood, this was from my great grandfather's time around the turn of the 19th century. The picture could have been taken in Chicago in 1893 when he attended the Religous Conference [and made a very famous speech] there. It must have been mounted by "Harrison", in Chicago itself going by the name printed on it. The 'signature' on it looks 'originalish', but it could be a printed fascimile. I do not know. Anyhow, now it is displayed in a proper place at home and the frame is befitting its 'vintageness'.
I cannot imagine it was junked that way. I found satisfaction in 'unjunking' it and more of it while bragging [read blogging] about it on his 150th Birth Anniversary. You saw the picture at the top.
Just to mention that the Swami had visited Mysore in 1891 before he attended that conference and had stayed in a building called "Niranjana Mutt". It has been restored now, but this picture is before/during renovation taken in 2011.
For that tour to Chicago, our Mysore Maharaja, H.H.Chamarajendra Wadiyar had made donations to aid his travel. They also had a letter correspondence.