Sarojini Naidu was born as the eldest daughter of a scientist-philosopher father, Aghornath Chattopadhyaya, and mother Varasundari, who was a Bengali Poetess, on 13 February, 1879. Her father was a pioneer in education, a linguist and an original thinker. He established the Nizam’s college in Hyderabad in 1878, pioneering English and women’s education. She was bought up in a house of intellectuals, poets, philosophers and revolutionaries. She claims that she was bought up in a home of Indians, not Hindus or Brahmins.

She passed Matriculation at the age of 12, and came out first in Madras Presidency. Young Sarojini was a very bright girl. Her father wanted her to become a mathematician or a scientist. But she loved poetry from a very early age. With her father’s support, she wrote a play called “Maher Muneer” in the Persian language. The Nawab of Hyderabad reading a copy of it sent by Sarojini’s father was impressed by the beautiful play written by the young girl. The college gave her a scholarship to study abroad. At the age of 16, she got admitted to King’s College of England.

At the age of 15, she met Dr. Govindarajulu Naidu and fell in love with him. He was from South India. After finishing her studies at the age of 19, she married him during the time when inter-caste marriages were not allowed. Her marriage was a very happy one. They were married by the Brahmo Marriage Act (1872), in Madras in 1898. They had four children. Their house in Hyderabad is the renowned Golden Threshold.

In 1916, she met Mahatma Gandhi and from then on she totally contributed herself to the fight for freedom. The independence of India became the heart and soul of her work. She was responsible for awakening the women of India. She re-established self-esteem within the women of India. In Hyderabad she was awarded the Kaiser-I-Hind Gold Medal for her outstanding work during the plague epidemic. In 1925, she became the Chairperson to the summit of congress in Kanpur. She went to USA in 1928 with the message of the non-violence. In 1929 she presided over the East Africa Indian Congress in Mombassa, and gave lectures all over South East Africa. In 1942, she was arrested during the “Quit India” protest and stayed in jail for 21 months with Gandhiji.

Sarojini Naidu is also well acclaimed for her contribution in poetry. Her poetry had beautiful words that could also be sung. Her collection of poems was published in 1905 under the title “Golden Threshold”. She published two other collections called “The Bird of Time”, and “The Broken Wings”. Later, “The Magic Tree”, “The Wizard Mask”, and “A Treasury of Poems” were published. Mahashree Arvind, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Rabindranath Tagore were among the thousands of admirers of her work. Gopala Krishna Gokhle advised her to use her poetry and her beautiful words to rejuvenate the spirit of independence in the hearts of villagers and also asked her to use her talent to free Mother India.

After Independence, she became the Governor of Uttar Pradesh. As the first women governor of the largest state of the union, she brought beauty, and grace to public life. She was a woman of a great country, with such a great heritage in which great women were born. Their purity, courage, determination, and self-confidence were the foundation of her own character and personality.

On March 2 1949, she took her last breath and India lost her beloved child, “Bulbul”. She died in her office at Lucknow at the age of seventy. Nevertheless, her name will be in the Golden history of India as an inspiring poet and a brave freedom fighter. Sarojini Devi was a great patriot, politician, orator, and administrator. She was a life-long freedom fighter, social worker, ideal house wife, and poet. She was truly one of the jewels of the world. Being one of the most famous heroines of the 20th century, her birthday is celebrated as “Women’s Day”.

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