About Sarojini Naidu and her Early Life
Sarojini Naidu was one of the most famous freedom fighters and played a pivotal role in freeing India from British imperialism. She was also a great orator, crusader for equality, and poet of Modern India.
Sarojini Naidu was born on 13th February 1879 in a Bengali family at Hyderabad. Her father Aghorenath Chattopadhyay, who had a doctorate of Science degree from Edinburgh University, was the Principal of Nizam College of Hyderabad. Her mother, Barada Sundari Devi Chattopadhyay, was a poet and used to write poetry in Bengali.
Sarojini was the eldest of the eight siblings and was a very bright student. She entered the University of Madaras at the age of 12. Once she wrote a Persian play called “Maher Muneer”, which was very well received by the Nizam of Hyderabad Mir Mahbub Ali Khan. He provided her scholarship and she went to London to study first at King’s College, London, and later at Girton College, Cambridge. At the age of 19, she met Paidipati Govindarajulu Naidu, who was a Physician. Sarojini and Paidipati belonged to different castes. At that time inter-caste marriages weren’t popular, but Sarojini received approval from her father to marry Paidipati, whom she married after completing her studies.
Journey from being a Poet to Politician
Sarojini Naidu has written poems on a variety of themes such as children, nature, patriotism and love and death. She is commonly regarded as “the Nightingale of India” because of her rich and melodious poetry and its themes. Her poems were full of imagery and emotions and are noted for their sensuous imagination, words and the lyrical quality.
She joined the freedom struggle after the partition of Bengal in 1905. Later she met Gopal Krishna Gokhale and came in contact with other prominent leaders like Annie Basant, who was also a feminist, Jawaharlal Nehru, Rabindra Nath Tagore etc. It was Gopal Krishna Gokhale who urged her to use her intellect for the welfare of India. So, Sarojini took a break from writing and became active in the struggle for freedom.
In the year 1916, she fought for the rights of farmers in Champaran, Bihar. She was jailed for this step of hers by the British government.
In 1925, she chaired the annual session of Indian National Congress at Kanpur. She was an active participant in the Civil Disobedience Movement and was sent to jail along with Gandhiji and other leaders due to it.
In 1931 she participated in the Round-Table Conference with Mahatma Gandhi and Madan Mohan Malaviya in London.
Influence of Sarojini Naidu on women
Sarojini Naidu left a lasting impression on women in India. She was the first Indian woman to become the President of the Congress. She also served as the governor of the United Provinces (1947 – 1949) and was the first woman to assume the governorship of a state.
She also travelled abroad to further the cause of the freedom movement. In 1919, She went to England as one of the members of All India Home Rule deputation as a delegate. Her daughter, Padmaja, followed her footsteps and was an active leader in the freedom struggle of India. Sarojini Naidu kept working till the end and passed away on March 2, 1949, in her office.