Sarojini Naidu was born in Hyderabad on 13 February 1879. Her father was Aghore Nath Chattopadhyay and mother was Barada Sundari Devi. Aghor Nath Chattopadhyaya was a doctorate of Science from Edinburgh University. He was settled in Hyderabad, where he administered as well as founded Hyderabad College, which later became the Nizam's College in Hyderabad. On the other hand, Barada Sundari Devi, was a poet and wrote poetry in Bengali. She was the eldest among the eight siblings. Her brother Virendranath Chattopadhyaya was a revolutionary. Her other brother, Harindranath was a poet, dramatist, and an actor. Her parental home was at Brahmangaon in Bikrampur which is situated in the present-day Bangladesh.
She passed her matriculation examination from the University of Madras. However, she took a four-year break from her studies and in the year 1895, the Nizam Scholarship Trust founded by Mir Mahbub Ali Khan who was the 6th Nizam, gave her the chance to study in England. She thus, firstly went to King's College London and later at Girton College, Cambridge.
She met Govindarajulu Naidu who was a physician. She married him at the age of 19 after finishing her studies. During that time, Inter-caste marriages were considered taboo and were not allowed, but her father approved the marriage. The couple had five children. Padmaja, their daughter, also joined the freedom struggle, and was part of the Quit India Movement. She was appointed as the Governor of the state of West Bengal soon after Indian independence.
Her Political Career
Sarojini Naidu joined the Indian national movement during the time of partition of Bengal in the year 1905. She worked along with the following legendary personas of the history: Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Rabindranath Tagore, Annie Besant, Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, C. P. Ramaswami Iyer. During the years 1915 to 1918, she travelled to different parts of India and delivered lectures on Nationalism, social welfare and women's empowerment.
Further, she also helped to establish the Women's Indian Association (WIA) in the year 1917.
She went to London along with Annie Besant who was the President of home rule league and Women's Indian Association. They both presented the case for the women's vote to the Joint Select Committee in London.
Her tenure as a Congress Party President
In the year 1925, she presided over the annual session of Indian National Congress at Cawnpore (present day Kanpur.) Further, in the year 1929, she presided over East African Indian Congress in South Africa. Also, she was awarded the Kaisar-i-Hind Medal by the British government for her work during the plague epidemic in India.
In the year 1930 during the salt satyagraha, she was one of the women protesters at the Dharsana salt works in Gujarat. Hundreds of satyagrahis were beaten by soldiers under British command at Dharasana and the incident grabbed world-wide attention and hence, the legitimacy of British rule in India was questioned after this incident. In the year 1931, she participated in the Round table conference with Gandhi and Madan Mohan Malaviya.
She was imprisoned along with Gandhi and other leaders during the Civil Disobedience Movement. Again, in the year 1942, she was arrested during the "Quit India" movement.
HER LITERARY CAREER
Sarojini Naidu began writing when she was just twelve years old. She wrote a Persian play titled Maher Muneer that impressed the Nawab of Hyderabad.
In the year 1905, her first collection of poems, named The Golden Threshold was published. Many prominent Indian politicians like Gopal Krishna Gokhale, greatly admired her poems and other literary works.
Another of her collection of poems entitled "The Feather of The Dawn" was edited and published posthumously in the year 1961 by her daughter Padmaja.
HER LITERARY WORK
Her major poetic work includes the following Poems:
• In The Bazaars of Hyderabad
• Indian Dancers
• Indian Love-Song
• Indian Weavers
• In Salutation to the Eternal Peace
• In the Forest
• Nala and Damayanti
• The Indian Fantasy
• Nightfall in the City of Hyderabad
• The Snake-Charmer
• Palanquin Bearers
• The Pardah Nashin
• Past and Future
• The Queen's Rival
• To a Buddha Seated on a Lotus
• To the God of Pain
• Wandering Singers
• To India
• Autumn Song
• The Royal Tombs of Golconda
• Song of a Dream
• Song of Radha, The Milkmaid
• The Soul's Prayer
• Street Cries
Sarojini Naidu died due to heart attack while she was working in her office in Lucknow on 2 March 1949.
To Commemorate Her:
Many institutions are named after her to commemorate her. Following are some of them:
• The Sarojini Naidu College for Women,
• Sarojini Devi Eye Hospital and
• Sarojini Naidu School of Arts and Communication, University of Hyderabad
• Sarojini Naidu Medical College