140th Birth Anniversary of Sarojini Naidu: Lesser Known Facts about 'Nightingale of India'
Sarojini Naidu, also known as 'Nightingale of India', was born on February 13, 1879, in Hyderabad. Her father Aghornath Chattopadhyaya was a scientist and philosopher. A brilliant student and school topper, she passed the matriculation examination at Madras University and took a four-year break from studies.
At 16, she went to England to pursue her further studies in King's College, London and Girton College, Cambridge. During her college in London, at 19, she opted for inter-caste marriage, a revolutionary act that was against the social norms of that time. She married Dr Govindarajulu Naidu. The couple had five children.
Sarojini Naidu started her literary career at the early age of 12. Her first piece of literary work was the play titled
as “Maher Muneer” which drew acclamations from all over the world. Her first collection of poems, titled The Golden Threshold, was published in 1905. The Feather of The Dawn was edited and published posthumously in 1961 by her daughter
Sarojini Naidu suffered a heart attack and succumbed to death on March 2, 1949 at Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh.
Here are some interesting facts about the great freedom fighter, the multifaceted poet who is known as 'Nightingale of India':
- Sarojini Naidu was the first Indian woman President of the Indian National Congress. She took over the presidency in 1925 at Kanpur
- She was the first woman governor of an Indian state (Governor of United Province, now Uttar Pradesh).
- She was awarded the Kaisar-i-Hind Medal by the British government for her work during the plague epidemic in India.
- She established the Women’s Indian Association (WIA) in 1917.
- In 1929, she presided over East African Indian Congress in South Africa
- She played a key role in the Civil Disobedience movement in India's freedom struggle.
- She was a part of Salt Satyagraha and later participated at Round Table Conference with Mahatma Gandhi and Madan Mohan Malaviya in 1931.
- She was arrested for in 1942 during the "Quit India" movement.
- She also contributed to the drafting of the Indian Constitution.
- Some of other literary works include The Bird of Time: Songs of Life, Death and the Spring, The Broken Wing: Songs of Love, Death and the Spring, Muhammad Jinnah: An Ambassador of Unity, The Sceptred Flute: Songs of India, Allahabad: Kitabistan, The Indian Weavers, Feast of Youth, The Magic Tree and The Wizard Mask.