Sarojini Chattopadhyay Naidu was a key figure during India’s independence struggle. Her work as a poet earned her the title of ‘Nightingale of India’ from Mahatma Gandhi.
Along with this, she is also remembered for activism regarding women’s emancipation, civil rights and anti-colonialism.
This article will give details about Sarojini Naidu within the context of the IAS Exam.
Early Life of Sarojini Naidu
Sarojini Naidu was born on 13 February 1879 in Hyderabad to Bengali parents, Aghorenath Chattopdhyaya and Barad Sundari Devi Chattopadhyay. Her father administered the Nizam College in Hyderabad while her mother was a prolific writer in poetry
She was the eldest of eight siblings. Sarojini Naidu graduated from the University of Madras and the Nixam’ Charitable Trust founded by Mahbub Ali Khan gave here chance to study of Girton College at Cambridge.
Sarojini married Pradipati Govindarajulu Naidu after completing her education. The couple would have five children, one of them – Paidipati Padmaja would join the independence struggle and become a part of the Quit India Movement.
Role during the Independence Movement
Following the partition of Bengal in 1905, Sarojini Naidu began to play an active role in the Indian independence movement. Her meeting with leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Gopal Krishna Gokhale (Born on May 9 1866) and Rabindranath Tagore spurred her on to work against the British Colonial government and towards social reform
Between 1915 and 1918 she travelled the length and breadth of the country to deliver lectures on social welfare, the emancipation of women etc
In 1917 she helped in the formation of the Women’s Indian Association (WIA). Later that year she would accompany her colleague Annie Besant, the president of the Home Rule League, in presenting the universal suffrage for India in front of the Joint Select Committee in London.
Sarojini Naidu took part in the Salt March with Mahatma Gandhi and was arrested by the British authorities along with all the Congress leaders in 1930. The arrests prompted Congress to stay away from the First Round Table Conference taking place in London. Following the Gandhi-Irwin Pact in 1931 however, Sarojini Naidu and other leaders would participate in the Second Round Table Conference.
Naidu was one of the significant figures to have led the Civil Disobedience Movement and the Quit India Movement led by Gandhi. She faced repeated arrests by the British authorities during the time and even spent over 21 months in jail
Following the Indian independence, Sarojini Naidu became the first governor-general of Uttar Pradesh
Legacy of Sarojini Naidu
Sarojini Naidu passed away on March 2, 1949, on account of Cardiac Arrest. To this day she is regarded as one of independent India’s leading poet.
The ‘Feather of Dawn’ – collection of poems written by her in 1927 – was published by her daughter Padmaja Naidu in 1961. The ‘Gift of India’ is iconic for its patriotism and describing the political environment of the 1915 India
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Her family’s residence was the centre of many reformist ideas during the independence struggle. Ideas regarding marriage, education, women’s empowerment and nationalism were discussed at length in their Hyderabad residence. It was noteworthy that such ideas called for women to be given their rightful due at a time when politics in India were dominated by men. It also included ideas for women to be thoroughly be involved in education
Sarojini Naidu: UPSC Exam Notes – Download PDF Here
In her quest to liberate India from the clutches of the British, Sarojini Naidu also sought to uplift its women from archaic notions regarding women which had traditionally held back Indian society in its development. Her ideals would take shape eventually and would have a profound effect on contemporary Indian society fro years to come.
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