|1st Governor of United Provinces|
15 August 1947 – 2 March 1949
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Hormasji Peroshaw Mody|
|President of the Indian National Congress|
|Preceded by||Mahatma Gandhi|
|Succeeded by||S. Srinivasa Iyengar|
13 February 1879
Hyderabad, Hyderabad State, British India (now in Telangana, India)
|Died||2 March 1949 (aged 70)|
Lucknow, United Provinces, India
|Political party||Indian National Congress|
|Spouse(s)||Govindarajulu Naidu (1898–1949)|
|Children||5; including Padmaja|
|Relatives||Harindranath Chattopadhyay, Virendranath Chattopadhyay, Suhasini Chattopadhyay, Leela Naidu|
|Alma mater||University of Madras|
King's College London
Girton College, Cambridge
|Occupation||Political activist, poet-writer|
|Notable works||In the Bazaars of Hyderabad|
Sarojini Naidu (13 February 1879 – 2 March 1949) was an Indian independence activist and poetess who earned the sobriquet of Nightingale of India. She was born in a Bengali Hindu family in Hyderabad. She was educated in Chennai, London and Cambridge. She married Dr. Govindarajulu Naidu and settled down in Hyderabad. She took part in the Indian nationalist movement, became a follower of Mahatma Gandhi and fought for the attainment of Swaraj or independence. She became the President of Indian National Congress and was later appointed as Governor of the United Provinces, now Uttar Pradesh. She was the first woman Governor of India which at that time had a dominion status under the British crown. Known as the 'Nightingale of India', she was also a noted poet. Her poetry includes children's poems, nature poems, patriotic poems and poems of love and death. The "The Song of Radha" is a fine poem by Sarojini Naidu. It consists of three stanzas. The three stanzas represents the Gopi of Mathura in three different situations.First she goes to sell curd in the morning.Second time she visits Jamunas bank in the Mathuras to celebrate the coming spring in the noon time.Lastly she visits the temple to worship and pray at night. The song has its pictorial quality because it paints the beautiful picture of nature. She also wrote poetry in praise of Muslim figures like Imam Hussain, in a time where Muslim-Hindu tensions ran high in pre-independence era.When issues regarding the split of India into a Muslim country and a Hindu country had already begun, and as she had got an inter-caste and inter-regional marriage in a time where this was uncommon, her goal was to bring all of India together regardless of any caste or religion.The village song is beautiful lyrics from the Golden Threshold. The poem is written in a dialog form by daughter. The atmosphere of the poem is pastoral.
Sarojini Naidu was born in the house of Aghorenath Chattopadhyay, a Bengali Brahmin who was the principal of the Nizam's College in Hyderabad. Sarojini was born in a Bengali Hindu family in Hyderabad. Her parental home was at Brahmangaon in Bikrampur (in present-day Bangladesh). Her father, Aghorenath Chattopadhyay, with a doctorate of Science from Edinburgh University, settled in Hyderabad, where he administered Hyderabad college, which later became Nizam College in Hyderabad. Her mother, Barada Sundari Devi Chattopadhyay, was a poet and used to write poetry in Bengali.
She was the eldest of the eight siblings. Her brother Virendranath Chattopadhyay was a revolutionary, and another brother Harindranath was a poet, a dramatist, and an actor. Their family was well-regarded in Hyderabad, not only for leading the Nizam College of Hyderabad, but also as Hyderabad's most famous artists in a time of British rule. Being an artist in the era of British rule in India was considered a risky career, yet with their progressive values, they pursued them anyway.
Sarojini Naidu, having passed her matriculation examination from the University of Madras and took a four-year break from her studies. In 1895, H.E.H. the Nizam's Charitable Trust founded by the 6th Nizam, Mahbub Ali Khan who gave her the chance to study in England, first at King's College, London and later at Girton College, Cambridge.
Sarojini met Paidipati Govindarajulu Naidu, a physician, and at the age of 19, after finishing her studies, she married him. At that time, Inter-caste marriages were not as common as they are today, but both their families approved their marriage. In addition, at that time, inter-regional marriage was also uncommon and looked down upon. As Sarojini was from Bengal, while Paidipati Naidu was from Andhra Pradesh, this was an inter-regional marriage of North and South India, with two opposing cultures. The couple had five children. Their daughter Paidipati Padmaja also joined the independence movement and was part of the Quit India Movement. She was appointed the Governor of the State of Uttar Pradesh soon after Indian independence.
Naidu joined the Indian national movements in the wake of partition of Bengal in 1905. She came in contact with Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Rabindranath Tagore, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Annie Besant, C. P. Ramaswami Iyer, Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. Sarojini Naidu began writing at the age of twelve. Her Persian play, Maher Muneer, impressed the Nawab of Hyderabad
In 1905, her first collection of poems, named The Golden Threshold was published. The volume bore an introduction by Arthur Symons. Her poems were admired by prominent Indian politicians like Gopal Krishna Gokhale.
The Feather of The Dawn which contained poems written in 1927 by Naidu was edited and published posthumously in 1961 by her daughter Padmaja Naidu. In 1915–18, she travelled to different regions in India delivering lectures on social welfare, women's empowerment and nationalism. She also helped to establish the Women's Indian Association (WIA) in 1917. She was sent to London along with Annie Besant, President of home rule league and Women's Indian Association, to present the case for the women's vote to the Joint Select Committee.
In April 1947 she was present at the Asian Relations Conference in Delhi where the Tibetan Government Representative, Sampho Theiji, said, "In a similar way we are very glad to meet representatives from all the Asian countries in this Conference and we wish to express our sincere gratitude to the great Indian leaders, Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Mrs. Sarojini Naidu, and to all the distinguished representatives who have gathered in this Conference." Naidu entitled Muhammad Ali Jinnah as the "Ambassador of Hindu Muslim Unity" after the Lucknow Pact in 1916.
In 1931, she participated in the second round-table conference with Gandhiji and Madan Mohan Malaviya. She was jailed, along with Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Madan Mohan Malaviya, and others for participating in the Salt March, when the first Round Table Conference took place in London.
Naidu died of cardiac arrest at 3:30 p.m. (IST) on 2 March 1949 at the Government House in Lucknow. Upon her return from New Delhi on 15 February, she was advised rest by her doctors, and all official engagements were cancelled. Her health deteriorated substantially and bloodletting was performed on the night of 1 March after she complained of severe headache. She died after collapsing following a fit of cough. Naidu was said to have asked the nurse attending to her to sing to her at about 10:40 p.m. (IST) which put her to sleep. The last rites were performed at the Gomati River.
Naidu is commemorated in the names of several institutions, including the Sarojini Naidu College for Women, Sarojini Naidu Medical College, Sarojini Devi Eye Hospital and Sarojini Naidu School of Arts and Communication, University of Hyderabad.
Aldous Huxley wrote "It has been our good fortune, while in Bombay, to meet Mrs. Sarojini Naidu, the newly elected President of the All-India Congress and a woman who combines in the most remarkable way great intellectual power with charm, sweetness with courageous energy, a wide culture with originality, and earnestness with humour. If all Indian politicians are like Mrs. Naidu, then the country is fortunate indeed."
In 2018, she was among 150 "Leading Women" featured by the University of London to mark the 150 years since women gained access to higher education in the UK in 1868. According to YourStory, Sarojini Naidu "inspired a whole generation of women to participate in the Freedom Movement." She has been recognized by the Indian government numerous years not only as a great diplomat, great Freedom fighter, but also a great poet and great woman leader. She had also refuted Katherine Mayo's book "Mother India" in the United States, making her not only a widely known figure in India, but also all around the world in the United States and the United Kingdom. In 2018, the National Geographic Society recognized Sarojini Naidu in an exhibit about history's significant female figures. At the end of her life, she still remained friends with Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of the Indian Muslim League. Muhammad Ali Jinnah was the founder of Pakistan, and despite the tense relations between India and Pakistan, they remained in close contact. She died just two years after India achieved independence. In 2014, for her 135th birthday, some Indian schools celebrated her legacy with a performance of the Indian national anthem. Asteroid 5647 Sarojininaidu, discovered by Eleanor Helin at Palomar Observatory in 1990, was named in her memory. The official naming citation was published by the Minor Planet Center on 27 August 2019 (M.P.C. 115893).
The Golden Threshold is an off-campus annexe of University of Hyderabad. The building was the residence of Naidu's father Aghornath Chattopadhyay, the first Principal of Hyderabad College. It was named after Naidu's very first collection of poetry. Golden Threshold now houses Sarojini Naidu School of Arts & Communication of University of Hyderabad.
During the Chattopadhyay family's residence, it was the centre of many reformist ideas in Hyderabad, in areas ranging from marriage, education, women's. empowerment, literature and nationalism. Specifically, the reformist ideas included more power for women in a time where politics in India, especially regional politics, was dominated by men. It also included ideas for involvement for women in the arts field. There were also many restrictions on marriage during this time period that persist to this day, such as inter-regional and inter-caste marriages. These ideas were progressive for the era, but brought change in India in slow ways over time.
|Library resources about |
|By Sarojini Naidu|
In a similar way we are very glad to meet representatives from all the Asian countries in this Conference and we wish to express our sincere gratitude to the great Indian leaders, Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Mrs. Sarojini Naidu, and to all the distinguished representatives who have gathered in this Conference. As for the future, all the Asian countries will feel as brothers towards each other, a feeling based on spiritual relationship, so that in this way we might hope that there will be everlasting peace and unity in Asia.
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