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Sarojini Naidu Biography | Poet

Photo of Sarojini Naidu

Sarojini Naidu (born as Sarojini Chattopadhyaya) was born on February 13, 1879 in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh to her mother Barada Sundari Devi and father Aghornath Chattopadhyaya into a wealthy family. Her father was a scientist, political science professor and philosopher. She led a revolutionary and courageous life always going against the grain and looking for stimulating projects.

She was an amazing freedom fighter, becoming involved in the movement to free India from England and spent time with other leaders who motivated her interests in becoming even more active in the movement. Having met Gandhi she became engrossed in the field of politics.

The Nightingale of India - Education and Career

She was a brilliant child and was not taken lightly by her father. Her parents took a strong interest in their eldest daughter and child prodigy. Her father hoped that she would go into the field of math or science, but she excelled at foreign languages and literary interests. She won a scholarship and studied abroad at the age of 16.

They took her education very seriously which included the King's College London (1895–1898), University of Madras and Girton College, Cambridge. She spoke many languages fluently and accepted her involvement in politics became a strong leader and speaker throughout the country. She was also a poetess and a writer. Her teacher Gausse, at the Girton College encouraged her to focus on her cultural heritage and Indian themes.

Family Life

She was raised Bengali Hindu and had eight siblings and important to note two of her brothers were also very involved in the culture and society of India, one an activist and the other a playwrite. She met her future husband at 15 years old, married in 1898 to Dr. Muthyala Govindarajulu Naidu and had four children. It is significant to note that their successful marriage was one of inter-caste which was unfavorable in Indian culture. She was only 19 when they married. Her family supported this decision although it was considered almost a crime. Her daughter, inspired by her successful mother also became involved in politics and writing and held political office.


She was a strong activist, political leader and poet and in 1905 she joined the Indian National Movement. In 1916 she met Mahatma Gandhi who helped in inspiring her to join into the freedom movement. Between 1915 and 1918 she was a strong advocate for human and women's rights and traveled throughout India delivering lectures on these topics. Because of her involvement in the freedom movement she was arrested and imprisoned for two years.

Political Office Career

In 1924 she became a delegate to the East African Indian Congress. When India achieved their independence and in 1925 she became the President of the Indian National Congress and later from 1947-1949 held the office of the Governor of the United Provinces. Both of these positions she attained as the first woman to have them. These achievements are wonderful and assisted the female profile at the time. She received the Hind Kesari medal in 1928.

Literary Career

She wrote copious amounts of poetry, songs and books too many to name them all. Two of her book titles include The Broken Wing and The Golden Threshold, her first published book of poems. One of her poems is named Autumn Song. It is a lovely and sentimental piece. Here are a few lines as an example of her tenderness in her style. "Like a joy on the heart of a sorrow, The sunset hangs on a cloud; A golden storm of glittering sheaves, Of fair and frail and fluttering leaves,The wild wind blows in a cloud. Hark to a voice that is calling To my heart in the voice of the wind: My heart is weary and sad and alone, For its dreams like the fluttering leaves have gone, And why should I stay behind?"

In summation, as you can see Sarojini Naidu was an incredible political leader and forerunner in women and human rights. She had an amazing life delving into many areas of society that were often not inviting to women. As a writer, she made a crucial imprint on Indian society. No doubt she was a model for women and other activists in her country of origin and beyond.

She died on March 2, 1949 from a heart attack in her sleep. 

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