Sarojini Naidu

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"The Nightingale of India"
Sarojini Naidu
Sarojini Naidu.jpg
Young Sarojini Naidu.
Born Sarojini Chattopadhyay
(1879-02-13)13 February 1879
Hyderabad, Hyderabad State, British India
(now in Telangana, India)
Died 2 March 1949(1949-03-02) (aged 70)
Lucknow, United Provinces, India
(now in Uttar Pradesh, India)
Nationality Indian
Alma mater University of Madras
King's College London
Girton College, Cambridge
Occupation Political activist, feminist, poet-writer
Era Indian independence movement
Title Nightingale of India
Political party Indian National Congress
Movement Indian independence movement
Spouse(s) Govindarajulu Naidu (1898–1949)
Children Padmaja and four others
Parent(s) Aghore Nath Chattopadhyay, Barada Sundari Devi
Relatives Harindranath Chattopadhyay, Virendranath Chattopadhyay, Suhasini Chattopadhyay, Leela Naidu
Sarojini Naidu
1st Governor of United Provinces
In office
15 August 1947 – 2 March 1949
Preceded by In
Succeeded by Hormasji Peroshaw Mody

Sarojini Naidu (13 February 1879 - 2 March 1949) was a freedom fighter and poet of modern India. She was born in a Bengali family on February 13, 1879 at Hyderabad and was educated in Chennai, London and Cambridge. She married Dr. Govindarajulu Naidu and settled down in Hyderabad. She took part in the National Movement, became a follower of Gandhiji (Mahatma Gandhi) and fought for the attainment of Swaraj. She became the President of Indian National Congress and later she was appointed the Governor of the United Provinces, now Uttar Pradesh. Known as the 'Nightingale of India'[1], she was also a noted poet. Her poetry includes children's poems, nature poems, patriotic poems and poems of love and death.

Early life and family

Sarojini was born in a Bengali Hindu family in Hyderabad to Aghorenath Chattopadhyay and Barada Sundari Devi Chattopadhyay on 13 February 1879. Her parental home was at Brahmangaon in Bikrampur (in present-day Bangladesh).[2] Her father, Aghorenath Chattopadhyay, with a doctorate of Science from Edinburgh University, settled in Hyderabad, where 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 Chattopadhyaya was a revolutionary and her other brother, Harindranath was a poet, a dramatist, and an actor.[3]

Sarojini Naidu, having passed her matriculation examination from the University of Madras, took a four-year break from her studies. In 1895, the Nizam Scholarship Trust founded by the 6th Nizam, Mir Mahbub Ali Khan, 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 her father approved the marriage.[3]

The couple had five children. Their daughter, Paidipati Padmaja also joined the freedom struggle, and was part of the Quit India Movement. She was appointed the Governor of the state of West Bengal soon after Indian independence.

Political career

Sarojini Naidu (extreme right) with Mahatma Gandhi during Salt Satyagraha, 1930

Naidu joined the Indian national movement 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.[citation needed]

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.[4] 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.

I 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."[5]

Congress Party president

In 1925, Naidu presided over the annual session of Indian National Congress at Cawnpore (now Kanpur).[citation needed][6]

In 1929, she presided over East African Indian Congress in South Africa. She was awarded the Kaisar-i-Hind Medal by the British government for her work during the plague epidemic in India.[7]

Sarojini Naidu plants a tree in Mehrauli, Delhi.

In 1931, she participated in the round-table conference with Gandhi and Madan Mohan Malaviya.[3]

She played a leading role in the Civil Disobedience Movement and was jailed along with Gandhi and other leaders. In 1942, she was arrested during period of the "Quit India"

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.[8] 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.[9]

Death and legacy

The ashes of Sarojini Naidu kept at Golden Threshold, Hyderabad before immersion

Sarojini Naidu died because of a heart attack while working in her office in Lucknow on 2 March (Wednesday), 1949.[10] She 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."[11]

Her 135th birth anniversary (2014) was marked by a Google Doodle on Google India's homepage.[12]

Golden Threshold

Golden Threshold in 2015

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 collection of poetry. Golden Threshold now houses Sarojini Naidu School of Arts & Communication of University of Hyderabad.[13]

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.[14]

Works

Each year links to its corresponding "year in poetry" article:

  • 1905: The Golden Threshold, published in the United Kingdom[15] (text available online)
  • 1912: The Bird of Time: Songs of Life, Death & the Spring, published in London[16]
  • 1917: The Broken Wing: Songs of Love, Death and the Spring, including "The Gift of India" (first read in public in 1915)[16][17]
  • 1916: Muhammad Jinnah: An Ambassador of Unity[18]
  • 1943: The Sceptred Flute: Songs of India, Allahabad: Kitabistan, posthumously published[16]
  • 1961: The Feather of the Dawn, posthumously published, edited by her daughter, Padmaja Naidu[19]
  • 1971:The Indian Weavers[20]

Poems

  • Na and Damayant
  • Ecstasy
  • The Indian Fantasy
  • The Bangle Sellers
  • Indian
  • In The Bazaars of Hyderabad
  • Indian Dancers
  • Indian Love-Song
  • Indian Weavers
  • In Salutation to the Eternal Peace
  • In the Forest
  • Ramamuratham
  • Nightfall in the City of Hyderabad
  • Palanquin Bearers
  • The Pardah Nashin
  • Past and present
  • The Queen's Rival
  • The Royal Tombs of Golconda
  • The Snake-Charmer
  • Song of a dream
  • Song of Radha, The Milkmaid
  • The Soul's Prayer
  • Suttee
  • To a Buddha Seated on a Lotus
  • To the God of Pain
  • The Coromandel Fishers
  • Wandering Singers
  • To India
  • Street Cries
  • Alabaster
  • Autumn Song

See also

References

  1. ^ Seline Augestine. "NIGHTINGALE of India". The Hindu. Retrieved 17 June 2017. 
  2. ^ Lilyma Ahmed. "Naidu, Sarojini". Banglapedia : National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh. Retrieved 5 August 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c "Biography of Sarojini Naidu". PoemHunter.Com. Retrieved 25 March 2012. 
  4. ^ Pasricha, Ashu (2009). The political thought of Annie Besant. New Delhi: Concept Pub. Co. p. 24. ISBN 978-81-8069-585-8. 
  5. ^ "Asian Relations Conference, 1947 - Legal Materials on Tibet". sites.google.com. Retrieved 2017-08-18. 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, Mahadma 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. 
  6. ^ Paranjape, Makarand (2013). Making India: Colonialism, National Culture, and the Afterlife of Indian English Authority. New Delhi: Springer Dordrecht Heidelberg New York japan and Amaryllis, an imprint of Manjul Publishing House Pvt., Ltd., New Delhi. p. 190. ISBN 978-94-007-4660-2. 
  7. ^ Jain, Reena. "Sarojini Naidu". Stree Shakti. Retrieved 25 March 2012. 
  8. ^ Sarkar, [editors], Amar Nath Prasad, Bithika (2008). Critical response to Indian poetry in English. New Delhi: Sarup & Sons. p. 11. ISBN 978-81-7625-825-8. 
  9. ^ Nasta, Susheila (2012-11-16). India in Britain: South Asian Networks and Connections, 1858-1950. p. 213. ISBN 978-0-230-39271-7. Retrieved 13 February 2016. 
  10. ^ "Google doodles Sarojini Naidu's 135th birth anniversary'". Indiavision. February 13, 2015. 
  11. ^ Huxley, Aldous (1926). Jesting Pilate: Travels Through India, Burma, Malaya, Japan, China, and America. Paragon House, New York. p. 22.
  12. ^ "Google Doodle celebrates Sarojini Naidu's 135th Birthday". news.biharprabha.com. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  13. ^ "Sarojini Naidu School of Arts & Communication". Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  14. ^ Sharma, Kaushal Kishore (1 January 2003). "Sarojini Naidu: A Preface to Her Poetry". Feminism, Censorship and Other Essays. Sarup & Sons. pp. 56–57. ISBN 978-81-7625-373-4. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  15. ^ Knippling, Alpana Sharma, "Chapter 3: Twentieth-Century Indian Literature in English", in Natarajan, Nalini, and Emanuel Sampath Nelson, editors, Handbook of Twentieth-century Literatures of India (Google books link), Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1996, ISBN 978-0-313-28778-7, retrieved 10 December 2008
  16. ^ a b c Vinayak Krishna Gokak, The Golden Treasury Of Indo-Anglian Poetry (1828–1965), p 313, New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi (1970, first edition; 2006 reprint), ISBN 81-260-1196-3, retrieved August 6, 2010
  17. ^ Sisir Kumar Das, "A History of Indian Literature 1911–1956: Struggle for Freedom: Triumph and Tragedy", p 523, New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi (1995), ISBN 81-7201-798-7; retrieved 10 August 2010
  18. ^ "Jinnah in India's history". The Hindu. 12 August 2001. Retrieved 25 March 2012. 
  19. ^ Lal, P., Modern Indian Poetry in English: An Anthology & a Credo, p 362, Calcutta: Writers Workshop, second edition, 1971 (however, on page 597 an "editor's note" states contents "on the following pages are a supplement to the first edition" and is dated "1972")
  20. ^ "Indian Weavers". Poem Hunter. Retrieved 25 March 2012. 

Further reading

  • Gupta, Indra (2004). India's 50 most illustrious women (2nd ed.). New Delhi : Icon Publications. 
  • Baig, Tara Ali (1985). Sarojini Naidu : portrait of a patriot. New Delhi: Congress Centenary (1985) Celebrations Committee, AICC (I). 
  • Ramachandran Nair, K. R. (1987). Three Indo-Anglian poets : Henry Derozio, Toru Dutt, and Sarojini Naidu. New Delhi : Sterling Publishers. 

Bibliography

  • Padmini Sengupta (1997). Sarojini nido. 

External links

  • The poetry of Sarojini Naidu: A fusion of English language and Indian culture
  • Works by Sarojini Naidu at Project Gutenberg
  • Works by or about Sarojini Naidu at Internet Archive
  • Works by Sarojini Naidu at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
  • Biography and Poems of Sarojini Naidu
  • Letter written by Sarojini Naidu
  • Sarojini Naidu: An introduction to her life, work and poetry By Vishwanath S. Naravane
  • Sarojini Naidu materials at the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA)
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