Sarojini Naidu was an accomplished poet, famous freedom fighter and one of the finest orators of her time. She was affectionately known as Bharatiya Kokila which means “The Nightingale of India”. Sarojini Naidu earned accolades of becoming the first Indian woman of the Indian National Congress and first woman to be deputed as the governor of a state in India.
On February 1879, Sarojini Naidu was born to Aghoranath Chattopadhyaya, who was a scientist and philosopher. Her mother Barada Sundari Devi wrote poetry in Bengali. Sarojini Naidu was the eldest of all eight siblings.
Sarojini Naidu was a bright student.She was well versed in Urdu, Telugu, Bengali and English, Bengali, and Persian. At the tender age of twelve, Sarojini Naidu acquired national fame when she topped the matriculation examination at Madras University. Her father wanted her to be good mathematician or scientist but Sarojini Naidu was inclined towards poetry. She wrote poems in English. Influenced by her brilliance, the Nizam of Hyderabad offered her scholarship to study abroad. At the age of 16, she went to England to study at King's College London and after later at Girton College, Cambridge. She had a tryst with famous laureates of her time like Arthur Simon and Edmond Gausse. Her collections "The golden threshold in the year 1905", "The bird of time” in 1912 and "The broken wing” in 1912" drove attracted Indian and English readers .
At 15, she fell in love with a non-brahmin Dr. Govindarajulu Naidu and after completion of her studies at 19, she married him. She faced opposition it being an inter-caste marriage which was frowned upon. It was a bold step but Sarojini's father supported her. Sarojini Naidu led a happy married life and was blessed with four children: Jayasurya, Padmaj, Randheer, and Leilamani.
Sarojini Naidu became a part of the Indian national movement at the time of partition of Bengal in 1905. She met Rabindranath Tagore, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, , Annie Besant, Gandhiji , Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Jawaharlal Nehru. She became an icon for women in of India. She traveled different states and cities and highlighted the rights of women.
In 1925, Sarojini Naidu was elected president of the annual session of Indian National Congress at Kanpur. Sarojini Naidu had been instrumental in Civil Disobedience Movement and was imprisoned along with Gandhiji and other leaders. During the “Quite India Movement’ she was arrested along with Gandhiji and was jailed for 21 months. She shared a great rappot with Gandhiji.
After Independence, Sarojini Naidu was appointed Governor of Uttar Pradesh and became the first lady to serve a state in the capacity of a governor. She died during her tenure on March 2 ,1949.