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Sarojini Naidu’s 139th birth anniversary: All you need to know about the scholar

The nation on February 13, 2018 paid tribute to Sarojini Naidu on her 139th birth anniversary. Many Indian leaders such as President Ram Nath Kovind, N Chandrababu Naidu, Mamata Banerjee and Suresh Prabhu took to Twitter to pay homage to the freedom fighter.

“Tributes to Sarojini Naidu – poet, political leader and pioneer of our women’s movement, on her birth anniversary #PresidentKovind,” President Kovind tweeted.

“Pay my tribute to the remarkable freedom fighter and poet Smt. Sarojini Naidu also known as the ‘Nightingale of India’ on her birth anniversary,” Suresh Prabhu said in a tweet.

Born in a Bengali Hindu family on February 13, 1879 at Hyderabad, she was educated in Chennai, London and Cambridge. After passing her matriculation examination from the University of Madras, Sarojini Naidu took a four-year break from her studies and in 1895, the Nizam Scholarship Trust offered her scholarship at the age of 16 to study in England — first at King’s College London and later at Girton College in Cambridge.

Known as the Nightingale of India and regarded as one of the best Indian writers, Sarojini Naidu had fondness towards writing at the age of 12. Her anthology of poems ‘The Broken Wings’ was published in 1905. Her poetry includes children’s poems, nature poems, patriotic poems and poems of love and death. Palanquin Bearers, Coromandel Fishers, Autumn Song, Indian Weavers and In Salutation to the Eternal Peace are some of Naidu’s most famous poems. The Golden Threshold (1905) and The Broken Wing: Songs of Love, Death and Destiny (1912) are among her famous books.

Being a great political leader of the country, she actively participated in the Indian national movement during the Bengal Partition in 1905 and took the chair over the annual session of Indian National Congress in Kanpur in 1925. She was the first Indian woman to become the President of the Indian National Congress.

She later took charge as the Governor of the United Provinces, now Uttar Pradesh. She was the first woman to become the governor of a state in the country.

Sarojini Naidu was a great freedom fighter and had played active leading role in the Civil Disobedience Movement and was sent to jail along with Mahatma Gandhi and other leaders. She was in 1942 arrested for participating in the Quit India movement and was jailed for 21 months with Mahatma Gandhi.

Being an educationist and scholar, many educational institutes such as Sarojini Naidu College for Women, Sarojini Naidu Medical College, Sarojini Devi Eye Hospital and Sarojini Naidu School of Arts and Communication, University of Hyderabad were named after her.

Sarojini Naidu passed away on March 2, 1949 while working in her office in Lucknow. ‘The Feather of The Dawn’ was published posthumously in 1961 by her daughter Padmaja Naidu.

Manmath Nayak

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