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National Women’s Day: Remembering the Nightingale of India, Sarojini Naidu

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National Women’s Day: Remembering the Nightingale of India, Sarojini Naidu

13 February is commemorated as National Women’s Day to remember the Nightingale of India, Sarojini Naidu. She was India’s first women governor and also known as “Bharat Kokila.” She actively participated in the Indian National Movement for the independence of the country. A child prodigy, freedom fighter, and leader, Sarojini was also a skilled orator and an exemplary administrator.

Honouring her great work and contribution, the day is also a symbol of celebrating the development of women’s power in India. This proposal of celebration was made by the Bharatiya Mahila Sangh and the All India Mahila Sammelan.

Early Life and Education

India’s first female governor, Sarojini Naidu had born on 13 February 1879 in Hyderabad to Aghore Nath Chattopadhyay and Barda Sundari Devi. She took a 4-year break from studies after passing her 10th standard. She studies at King’s College, England and later at Cambridge. When Sarojini was just 19, she met Govindarajulu Naidu, to whom she was married.

Anti-imperialistic, Women’s rights activist, Sarojini paved the path for women’s movements in India. For women’s rights and representation in organizations, in 1917, she took the foundation of the Women’s India Association.

In the year 1925, she became the president of the Indian National Congress. Sarojini was one of the forefront leaders who led the Civil Disobedience Movement and the Quit India Movement. When she graced the United Provinces as Governor in 1947, she created history by becoming the first woman to hold the office of Governor in the Dominion of India.

While Sarojini was part of the independence struggle, she travelled to different parts of the country and gave lectures to create social welfare. Because of her outstanding work, she was recognized by Britishers and was awarded the Kaisar-i-Hind Medal during the plague epidemic in India.

Sarojini’s work towards the development has been commemorated in many educational institutions, including the Sarojini Naidu College for Women, Sarojini Devi Eye Hospital, Sarojini Naidu Medical College and Sarojini Naidu School of Arts and Communication.

Nightingale Sarojini Naidu shines both as an activist and as a poet. She had been writing since she was 12 years old. Some of her famous works include The Golden Threshold, The Bird of Time: Songs of Life, Death & the Spring, The Magic tree, The Indian Weavers, The Broken Wing: Songs of Love. She also wrote several poems including Song of a Dream, The Soul’s Prayer, To the God of Pain, Indian Dancers and Ecstasy to name a few.

Accomplishments of Sarojini Naidu

  • 1905: The Golden Threshold, published in the United Kingdom
  • 1912: The Bird of Time: Songs of Life, Death & the spring, published in London
  • 1917: The Broken Wing: Songs of Love, Death and the spring, including “The Gift of India”
  • 1916: Muhammad Jinnah: An Ambassador of Unity
  • 1943: The Sceptred Flute: Songs of India, Allahabad: Kitabistan, posthumously published
  • 1961: The Feather of the Dawn, posthumously published, edited by her daughter, Padmaja Naidu
  • 1971:The Indian Weavers

Unknown Facts about Sarojini Naidu

  1. Sarojini topped the matriculation exam at Madras University at the age of 12.
  2. As a child, she wrote a 1,300-line-long poem, The Lady of the Lake. When her father read her poem, he encouraged her to pursue writing, though he had initially wanted her to be a scientist or mathematician.
  3. Once, she asked her father to help write a Persian play, Maher Muneer. He sent the play to the Nizam of Hyderabad. The Nizam was so impressed by 16-year-old-talent that he granted her a scholarship to study overseas. That’s why she went to study at King’s College London.
  4. Naidu became the part of the Indian Independence Movement in the wake of the partition of Bengal in 1905 where she met other leaders like Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Rabindranath Tagore, and Mahatma Gandhi.
  5. She fell in love when she was just 19 years old at Paidipati Govindarajulu Naidu.
  6. In the year 1925, she was the second woman to be the President of the Indian National Congress and the first Indian woman to do so.

Every year, 8 March is celebrated as International Women’s Day to commemorate the struggles of women seeking equality and equal representation. In addition, India celebrates its own Women’s day as Sarojini Naidu’s Birthday to empower and support women. When women in the nation are striving hard for equality and goals, a day to celebrate their success and make people aware of it bring a kind of encouragement among people.

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