An Indian poetess of English language and known as the 'nightingale of India'-Sarojini Naidu was a great patriot who took part in freedom struggle and became the first woman Governor of U.P. She was the truly, one of the gems of the world.
She was born on February 13, 1879 in Hyderabad. Her father, Dr. Aghornath Chattopadhyay, was a scientist. He also founded Nizam College of Hyderabad. Her mother, Varasundari, was a Bengali poetess. In this way Sarojini Naidu inherited qualities from both her father and mother, and enjoyed a veiy bright career.
Although her father wanted her to become a mathematician or scientist but she was more interested in poetry than mathematics or science. She wrote "The Lady of the Lake", a poem of 1300 lines long, at a very tender age. She also wrote a play named "Maher Muneer" in the Persian language.
The Nawab of Hyderabad was very impressed with this play. Seeing her extraordinary talent the college gave her a scholarship to study abroad. At the age of 16 she got admitted to King's College of England. During those days it was rare to educate a girl and perhaps rarer to send her abroad for this purpose.
Sarojini Naidu, during her stay in England met a South Indian named Dr. Govind Naidu. She got married to him at the age of 19 after completing her education although it was an intercaste marriage, but was a very happy one.
Basically she was a poetess with a patriotic heart. In 1905 she got recognition as a poetess when her collection of poems was published under the title "Golden Threshold". Other collections of her poems were 'The Bird of Time", 'The Broken Wings", "Feast of Youth", and "A Treasury of Poems". The speciality of her poems was that they had English words, but an Indian soul.
But she was very pained to see her Mother India under the power of British Administration. In 1916, she met Mahatma Gandhi and immediately decided to use her talent to fight for freedom. The independence of India now became her sole motive. She travelled from state to state, city after city and awakened the women-folk.
In 1925 she became the first Indian woman President of the National Congress. She was sent to jail many times for her anti-British activities. In 1930, when Salt Movement was in full swing, Sarojini Naidu protested in front of the salt- depots in Gujarat.
Lakhs of people including a large number of women participated actively in this protest. In 1931 she accompanied Gandhiji to London to take part in the Round Table Conference. When India became free in 1947, she was made Governor of the United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh). She enjoyed this post till her death on March 2, 1949.
Sarojini Naidu is not among us but her ideals will always inspire us to do something memorable.