Remembering the Nightingale of India- Sarojni Naidu

Sarojni Naidu

Sarojni Naidu, the first Indian women of India to become the president of Indian National Congress and first state governor of India. She is famously recognized as the Nightingale of India who many don’t even know that was a Bengali women married to a South Indian man. When history mostly is considered factual, the one of Sarojni Naidu is full of astonishing facts and events. Her life as an Indian activist was nothing less than an inspiration. On her Birthday, today let’s just recall the magnificent life this great lady of India- SAROJNI NAIDU.   

The life of Sarojni Naidu

“To quench my longing I bent me low, by the streams of the spirits of Peace that flow. In that magical wood in the land of sleep.” ― Sarojini Naidu.

Born on 13th February 1879, Sarojni Naidu was a great poet and freedom fighter of India, who through her poetry came to be known as Bhartiya Kokila which means the Nightingale of India. She was a daughter to Aghoranath Chattopadhyaya and Barada Sundari Devi. Her father was a renowned scientist, philosopher and founder of Nizam College of Hyderabad, whereas her mother was a famous Bengali poetess of the time. No wonder from where Naidu inherit her poetic genes! Proficient in several languages like Urdu, Telugu, English, Bengali, and Persian; Sarojni Naidu gained national fame at the young age of just 12. Impressed over her brilliant poetic skills and a play she wrote “Maher Muneer”, the Nizam of Hyderabad offered her a scholarship to study abroad. She studied in abroad at two different universities, first at king’s London College and later in Horton College.

Sarojni Naidu

Sarojni met her future husband Dr. Govindarajulu Naidu when she was only 15 years old and fell in love at the first sight. He was a south Indian man who was a doctor by profession. She was in a relationship with him for almost 4 years and at the age of 19 she got married to the same man! It was nothing less than magical, you ask why? Well, at the time when love marriages, inter communal marriages and relationships were not a thing of appreciation, Naidu was bold enough to make her decisions herself. Supported by her father, Sarojni Naidu was among such women of India who was powerful enough to stand strong in the male dominant society! No wonder why Google made her Doodle for her birthday three years back from today!  

Being mother of four, Naidu gained popularity when she started showing her interest in Indian freedom movement. She came in contact with several freedom icons like Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Annie Besant, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Rabindranath Tagore. Her relationship with Gandhi was quite good, as on one occasion she called him Mickey Mouse. In the wake of partition of Bengal in 1905, Naidu gained huge popularity. A powerful women like her who travelled state to state spreading patriotism in the country and fighting for women rights, she awakened the women of India. A poet of love interested in politics came from her genes as her brother themselves were artists indulged in several revolutions of India! Sarojni Naidu played a leading role alongside Mahatma Gandhi during the Civil Disobedience movement of India for which she was even jailed. During the Quit India movement of 1942, Naidu was again jailed for 21 months with Gandhi! Such a rebellious women is among the finest gems of India.

How Sarojni Naidu gained title of “Nightingale of India”  

Sarojni Naidu was originally called Nightingale of India by Mahatma Gandhi. She inherited this title by her great contribution in poetry. She wrote four books throughout her lifetime. Her first book “The Golden Threshold” was published in the year 1905. Later, her poem collection “The Bird of Time” along with “The Broken Wings” was published. In the year 1961, her daughter helped Naidu in writing and publishing of her fourth book which was too her collection of poems “The Feather of the Dawn”. All of her work gained huge readership from both England as well as India.

Saroji Naidu was appointed as the president of Indian National Congress in the year 1945. In 1947, she became the first state governor of Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, the then called United Province. In 1949, Naidu died following a cardiac arrest at her office. Her last rites were performed at the Gomati River.


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