Sarojini Naidu, popularly known as the “Nightingale of India”, was the first Indian woman to become the governor of Uttar Pradesh which was then known as the United Provinces.
After the Independence of India in 1947, the princely states of Benares, Rampur, and Tehri-Garhwal were merged with United Provinces and it was later renamed as Uttar Pradesh on 25th January 1950. As of now, another state named Uttarakhand has been carved out of Uttar Pradesh. Currently, five states including Goa, Jharkhand, Manipur, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttarakhand and one Union Territory – Puducherry, have incumbent women governors.
Sarojini Naidu, who served as the first woman governor of the United Provinces (1947-1949) was also the first Indian woman to be elected as the President of the Indian National Congress. Born as Sarojini Chattopadhyay, Sarojini was an important figure in the freedom struggle and was also a renowned poet. She died of a cardiac arrest on 2nd March 1949 in office. Naidu is an important name in the political history of India as she participated in various important movements like the Indian National Movement. She also accompanied Mahatma Gandhi to London and participated in the Round Table Conference for Indian-British Cooperation (1931). Sarojini has emerged to be one of the most influential poets of her time and was also elected as a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1914. Her works “The Golden Threshold, The Bird of Time: Songs of Life, Death & the Spring, The Broken Wing: Songs of Love, Death and the Spring, The Sceptred Flute, and The Feather of the Dawn” etc. have brought to her immense praise as a poet. Her role as the Governor of the United Provinces also received a positive response as it is widely believed that she was a troubleshooter and prevented political crisis in the state. Sarojini’s daughter, Padmaja Naidu is the second woman governor in India. She is also the longest-serving Governor with a tenure of 11 years. Padmaja served as the Governor of West Bengal.
Many states of India including Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, and Mizoram have had female governors since the Independence of India. However, still, there are many states which are yet to have women as the governor of the states.