Naidu 1912

Sarojini Naidu (1879-1949), from The Bird of Time, 1912. Courtesy Internet Archive.

Sarojini Naidu
Occupation Poet, writer, social activist
Nationality Template:Country data India Indian Bengali
Spouse(s) Dr. Muthyala Govindarajulu
Children Jayasurya, Padmaja, Randheer, Nilawar and Leelamani
Signature 128px

Sarojini Naidu(13 February 1879 - 2 March 1949), also known by the sobriquet The Nightingale of India (Bharatiya Kokila),[1] was an Indian poet. A child prodigy, she later became an Indian independence activist.

Naidu was the second Indian woman to become the President of the Indian National Congress,[2] and the first woman to become the Governor of Uttar Pradesh state.[3]



Naidu was born Sarojini Chattopadhyay to a Bengali family of Kulin Brahmins. She was born in Hyderabad, India as the eldest daughter of scientist, philosopher, linguist and educator Aghornath Chattopadhyaya, and Barada Sundari Devi, a Bengali poetess. After receiving a doctor of science degree from Edinburg University, her father settled in Hyderabad State, where he founded and administered the Hyderabad College, which later become the Nizam College


Naidu was a brilliant student, proficient in Urdu, Telugu, English, Bengali, and Persian.[4] At the age of 12, she attained national fame when she topped the matriculation examination at Madras University. Her father wanted her to become a mathematician or scientist, but Sarojini Naidu was interested in poetry. She began writing poems in English.

Impressed by her play Maher Muneer, the Nizam of Hyderabad gave her a scholarship to study abroad.[5] At the age of 16, she traveled to England to study first at King's College London and later at Girton College, Cambridge.[6] There she met famous laureates of her time such as Arthur, Symons and Edmond Gosse. It was Gosse who convinced Sarojini to stick to Indian themes-India's great mountains, rivers, temples, social milieu, to express her poetry. She depicted contemporary Indian life and events. Her collections "The golden threshold (1905)", "The bird of time (1912)", and "The broken wing (1917)" attracted huge Indian and English readership.[7]

Literary careerEdit

Sarojini Naidu began writing at the age of 12. Her play, Maher Muneer, impressed the Nawab of Hyderabad. In 1905, her collection of poems, The Broken exs, was published.[8]

Her poems were admired by many prominent Indian politicians like Gopala Krishna Gokhale and Jawaharlal Nehru.

Indian Freedom FighterEdit

File:Mahatma & Sarojini Naidu 1930.JPG

Sarojini Naidu joined the Indian national movement in the wake of partition of Bengal in 1905. She came into contact with Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Rabindranath Tagore, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Annie Besant, C. P. Ramaswami Iyer, Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru.[9]

During 1915-1918, she traveled to different regions in India delivering lectures on social welfare, women empowerment, and nationalism. She awakened the women of India and brought them out of the kitchen. She also helped to establish the Women's Indian Association (WIA) in 1917.[10] She was sent to London along with Annie Besant, President of WIA, to present the case for the women's vote to the Joint Select Committee.

President of the CongressEdit

In 1925, Sarojini Naidu presided over the annual session of Indian National Congress at Cawnpore. In 1929, she presided over East African Indian Congress in South Africa. She was awarded the Kaiser-i-Hind medal by the British government for her work during the plague epidemic in India.[11] In 1931, she participated in the Round table conference with Gandhiji and Madan Mohan Malaviya.[12] Sarojini Naidu played a leading role during the Civil Disobedience Movement and was jailed along with Gandhiji and other leaders. In 1942, Sarojini Naidu was arrested during the "Quit India" movement and was jailed for 21 months with Gandhiji. She shared a very warm relationship with Gandhiji and used to call him "Mickey Mouse".[13]


Her birthday is celebrated as Women's Day in India.[5]


Naidu writes:

"Shall hope to prevail where clamorous hate is rife,
Shall sweet love prosper or high dreams have place
Amid the tumult of reverberant strife
'Twixt ancient creeds, 'twixt race and ancient race,
That mars the grave, glad purposes of life,
Leaving no refuge save thy succoring face?"[14]

Naidu said, "When there is oppression, the only self-respecting thing is to rise and say this shall cease today, because my right is justice."[15] She adds, "If you are stronger, you have to help the weaker boy or girl both in play and in the work."


Brokenwingsongso00nai 0001



  • Five Indian Poems: For mixed choir and small orchestra (music by Robert Hughes). Sydney: Chappell, 1973.


  • India's Future (with C.F. Andrews & S.K. Ratcliffe). New York: Foreign Policy Association, 1920.

Collected editionsEdit

  • Speeches and Writings. Madras: G.A. Nateson, 1925.
  • Selected Poetry and Prose (edited by Makarand R. Paranjape). New Delhi: Indus, 1993; New Delhi: Rupa, 2010.


  • Mohomed Ali Jinnah: An ambassador of unity: His speeches & writings, 1912-1917. Madras: Ganesh, 1918; Lahore, Pakistan: Atish Fishnan, 1989.


  • Selected Letters, 1890s to 1940s (edited by Makarand R. Paranjape). New Delhi: Kali for Women, 1996.

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[17]

Famous PoemsEdit

  • Damayante to Nala in the Hour of Exile
  • Ecstasy
  • Indian Dancers
  • The Indian Gypsy
  • Indian Love-Song
  • Indian Weavers
  • In Salutation to the Eternal Peace
  • In the Forest
  • In the Bazaars of Hyderabad
  • Leili
  • Nightfall in the City of Hyderabad
  • Palanquin Bearers
  • The Pardah Nashin
  • Past and Future
  • The Queen's Rival
  • The Royal Tombs of Golconda
  • The Snake-Charmer
  • Song of a Dream
  • The Soul's Prayer
  • Suttee
  • To a Buddha Seated on a Lotus
  • To the God of Pain
  • Wandering Singers
  • Street Cries
  • Alabaster
  • Autumn Song

See alsoEdit


  1. "Colors of India". First Woman Governor of a State in India. Retrieved 25 March 2012. 
  2. editor; Ramchandani, vice president Dale Hoiberg; editor South Asia, Indu (2000). A to C (Abd Allah ibn al-Abbas to Cypress).. New Delhi: Encyclopædia Britannica (India). ISBN 978-0-85229-760-5. 
  3. "SRIMATI SAROJINI NAIDU, Governor of UP". National Informatics Centre, UP State Unit. Retrieved 25 March 2012. 
  4. Gibson, edited by Mary Ellis. Anglophone poetry in colonial India, 1780-1913 : a critical anthology. Athens: Ohio University Press. pp. 4. ISBN 978-0-8214-1942-7. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Live India". 
  6. Shashi, editor-in-chief Padmashri S.S. (2007). Encyclopaedia Indica : India, Pakistan, Bangladesh (1st ed. ed.). New Delhi: Anmol Publications. pp. 72. ISBN 978-81-7041-859-7.,+the+Nizam+of+Hyderabad+gave+her+scholarship+to+study+abroad&dq=Impressed+by+her+play+Maher+Muneer+,+the+Nizam+of+Hyderabad+gave+her+scholarship+to+study+abroad&hl=en&sa=X&ei=5shuT5eZMNHirAeW14GhDg&ved=0CDAQ6AEwAA. 
  7. "Live India". 
  8. Sarkar, [editors], Amar Nath Prasad, Bithika (2008). Critical response to Indian poetry in English. New Delhi: Sarup & Sons. pp. 11. ISBN 978-81-7625-825-8. 
  9. compiled; Agrawal, edited by Lion M.G. (2008). Freedom fighters of India (in four volumes). Delhi: Isha Books. pp. 142. ISBN 978-81-8205-468-4. 
  10. Pasricha, Ashu (2009). The political thought of Annie Besant. New Delhi: Concept Pub. Co.. pp. 24. ISBN 978-81-8069-585-8. 
  11. Jain, Reena. "Sarojini Naidu". Stree Shakti. Retrieved 25 March 2012. 
  12. "The Biography of Sarojini Naidu". Poem Hunter. Retrieved 25 March 2012. 
  13. Naravane, Vishwanath S. (1996). Sarojini Naidu : an introduction to her life, work and poetry ([Reprinted] ed.). New Delhi: Orient Longman. pp. 62. ISBN 978-81-250-0931-3. 
  14. Shashi, editor-in-chief Padmashri S.S. (2007). Encyclopaedia Indica : India, Pakistan, Bangladesh (1st ed. ed.). New Delhi: Anmol Publications. ISBN 978-81-7041-859-7.,+++Shall+sweet+love+prosper+or+high+dreams+have+place+++++Amid+the+tumult+of+reverberant+strife+++++%27Twixt+ancient+creeds,+%27twixt+race+and+ancient+race,+++++That+mars+the+grave,+glad+purposes+of+life,+++++Leaving+no+refuge+save+thy+succoring+face?&dq=Naidu+writes:+Shall+hope+to+prevail+where+clamorous+hate+is+rife,+++Shall+sweet+love+prosper+or+high+dreams+have+place+++++Amid+the+tumult+of+reverberant+strife+++++%27Twixt+ancient+creeds,+%27twixt+race+and+ancient+race,+++++That+mars+the+grave,+glad+purposes+of+life,+++++Leaving+no+refuge+save+thy+succoring+face?&hl=en&sa=X&ei=wr1uT_bbJcvwrQe0raChDg&ved=0CDQQ6AEwAQ. 
  15. "About Sarojini Naidu". Sarojini Naidu Government Girls Postgraduate (Autonomous) College Website. Centre for Research and Industrial Staff Performance. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  16. "Indian Weavers". Poem Hunter. Retrieved 25 March 2012. 
  17. Search results = au:Sarojini Naidu, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Dec. 26, 2014.

External linksEdit


This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. (view article). (view authors).