UPSC Exam Preparation: This Day in History – Feb 13

13 February 1879

Sarojini Naidu was born


What happened?

On 13 February 1879, the ‘Nightingale of India’ Sarojini Naidu was born.

Biography

  • Sarojini Naidu was born in Hyderabad to Aghore Nath Chattopadhyay and Barada Sundari Devi. Her father was a doctorate from Edinburgh University and her mother was a poet of the Bengali language.
  • Naidu was educated at Madras, London and Cambridge. At the age of 19, she married a physician named Govindarajulu Naidu, at a time when inter-caste marriages were uncommon.
  • Naidu started writing at a very young age. She was drawn towards the freedom movement after the partition of Bengal in 1905.
  • She came into contact with eminent leaders like Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Rabindranath Tagore and Annie Besant.
  • During the years, 1915 – 18, she travelled the length and breadth of the country giving lectures on nationalism, women empowerment and social welfare.
  • In 1917, she helped found the Women’s Indian Association which was involved in the field of women’s suffrage.
  • In 1925, she was chosen President of the Indian National Congress at its Kanpur session, the first Indian woman to hold that post.
  • She worked for the rehabilitation of affected people during the plague epidemic in India, and was awarded the Kaisar-i-Hind Medal by the British government.
  • She was actively involved in all the major political developments taking place in India. She participated in the Second Round Table Conference in 1931.
  • Naidu also took part in the civil disobedience movement, the Quit India movement, and other Satyagrahas. She was an avid follower of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • Naidu was imprisoned several times during the independence movement.
  • She travelled to Europe and the USA and spread awareness about Gandhi’s principles and ideals about non-violence and peace.
  • After independence, she became the first governor of the United Provinces and was in office from 15 August 1947 till her death.
  • Naidu passed away on 2 March 1949 due to a cardiac arrest at Lucknow.
  • Famous English writer Aldous Huxley had written, “If all Indian politicians are like Mrs. Naidu, then the country is fortunate indeed.”
  • Her birth anniversary is observed as ‘National Women’s Day’ in India.
Also on this day

1931: New Delhi is inaugurated as the capital of India. 2016: Death of eminent Malayalam poet O N V Kurup.

See previous ‘This Day in History’ here.

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