February 13, 2022
Today marks the 143rd birth anniversary of the great freedom fighter, poet, activist, and lyricist and first lady Governor Sarojni Naidu, popular as Nightingale of India or ‘Bharat Kokila’ by Mahatma Gandhi because of her poems.
Sarojini Naidu was born in Hyderabad in 1879 in a Bengali Brahmin family. Her father Aghorenath Chattopadhyay served as principal of the Nizam’s College in Hyderabad. Her birth anniversary is also celebrated as National Women’s Day in India.
Facts about ‘Bharat Kokila’ Sarojini Naidu
Sarojini Naidu at a very young age (12 years) began her career in literature. She first wrote a play “Maher Muneer” in the Persian language which earned global recognition.
Sarojini was the first Indian woman to be president of the Indian National Congress in 1925. Naidu got admission at the University of Madras at the age of 12 and later studied at King’s College, London. She later joined Girton College, Cambridge.
After India’s independence, Naidu was appointed as governor of the United Provinces, now Uttar Pradesh. With her appointment, she became India’s first woman governor.
She was one of the major leaders who led the Civil Disobedience Movement and the Quit India Movement.
Sarojni Naidu faced repeated arrestings by the colonial British authorities during the time and spent over 21 months in jail.
Naidu wrote poetry on multiple subjects including more serious themes like patriotism, romance, and tragedy. Her ‘In the Bazaars of Hyderabad’ remains one of her most popular poems. It was published in 1912.
She also accompanied Mahatma Gandhi to London for the Second Round Table Conference for Indian–British cooperation in 1931.
She also founded the Women’s India Association in 1917 for women’s rights, suffrage, and representation in organisations and assemblies.
Naidu’s first collection of poems was published in 1905, named ‘The Golden Threshold’.
In 1961, Padmaja Naidu, the daughter of Sarojini Naidu, published her second collection of poems named ‘The Feather of the Dawn’ which was written in 1927.
And on March 2, 1949 the Nightingale falls silent. She died of a cardiac arrest, at the Government House in Lucknow.