Known as one of the most prominent figures in India’s struggle for freedom from British rule, Sarojini Naidu was a political activist and a poet. Her work as a poet earned the name of “Nightingale of India”.
Born in a Bengali family in Hyderabad on February 13, 1879, Sarojini Naidu was drawn towards Indian National Congress’ movement to liberate India from colonial rule. With this, she became a follower of Mahatma Gandhi and his ideas of swaraj. In 1925, Sarojini Naidu was appointed as the President of the Indian National Congress.
Following India’s independence from the British rule in 1947, Sarojini Naidu was appointed as the governor of the United Provinces, today known as Uttar Pradesh today, making her India’s first woman governor.
Apart from her staunch political career, Sarojini Naidu is widely known for her poetry which included both children’s poems and others written on more serious themes including patriotism, romance, and tragedy.
She began writing at the age of 12. Her mother, Barada Sundari Devi Chattopadhyay, was a poet and used to write poetry in Bengali.
Her play, Maher Muneer, written in Persian impressed the then Nawab of Hyderabad. In 1905, her first collection of poems, named The Golden Threshold was published.
To honour Sarojini Naidu, Asteroid 5647 Sarojininaidu, discovered by Eleanor Helin at Palomar Observatory in 1990, was named in her memory. She was also listed among “150 Leading Women” list by the University of London to mark the 150 years since women gained access to higher education in the United Kingdom in 2018.
Sarojini Naidu died due to a cardiac arrest on March 2, 1949 in Lucknow.