An activist, a poet, an Indian politician- Sarojini Naidu, best known as the 'Nightingale of India' was a woman with boundless and prolific talents, a personality who people look up to and seek inspiration from even today.
Born on 13th February 1879 in Hyderabad Sarojini Naidu aka Sarojini Chattopadhyaya, was the eldest daughter of a political activist and the first member of the Indian National Congress (INC) in Hyderabad. While one of her brothers was a political activist, the other was a poet and playwright.
A brilliant student, Naidu went on to study at King's College in London and later at Cambridge University. Apart from her unmatched work in the field of writing and poetry, she is also greatly remembered for her contribution to the to the Indian Independence Movement and towards the causes of women empowerment and social welfare.
Today, on Naidu's death anniversary, here is a recap of some of the lesser-known facts about her:
1) A child prodigy, Sarojini Naidu started her literary career at the age of 12. She gained recognition with her play, 'Maher Muneer'. As a young child, she wrote a 1,300 line-long poem, 'The Lady of the Lake'.
2) At the age of 16, she received a scholarship from the Nizam of Hyderabad and went on to study at the London Kings' College. With advice from Nobel Laureates, she stuck to Indian themes when it came to her writing style and became a revered poet of the 20th century.
3) During the plague epidemic in India, the British government awarded her the 'Kaisar-i-Hind' medal for her work. However, after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre she returned the award in protest.
4) In 1925, she became the first Indian woman President of the Indian National Congress.
5) An irreverent disciple of the Father of the Nation, Naidu referred to him as the 'Chocolate-coloured Mickey Mouse'. While in one of his letters, Mahatma Gandhi addressed her as 'Dear Bulbul'.
6) Between 1915 and 1918 she traveled across various locations, spreading welfare. In 1917, she founded the Women's India Association (WIA). India celebrates Naidu's birthday (13th February) as National Women's Day.
7) She was often referred to the 'Nightingale of India' or 'Bharat Kokila' owing to her mesmerising poetry and her rich literary works that involved a lot of imagery and a plethora of themes.
8) She was the first woman governor of the country.
9) She died on 2nd March 1949 owing to a cardiac arrest at the Government House in Lucknow, while she was working in her office.
10) In the year 1961, more than a decade after her demise, Naidu's daughter Padma published a collection of poems that were titled, 'The Feather of The Dawn'.