Sarojini Naidu's 143rd Birth Anniversary: Remembering 'Bharat Kokila' who fueled women's rights movement

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Saturday, February 12, 2022, 02:51 PM IST
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"Tell me no more of thy love, papeeha,
Wouldst thou recall to my heart, papeeha,
Dreams of delight that are gone,
When swift to my side came the feet of my lover..."

- A love song from the north by Sarojini Naidu

February 13, 2022, will mark the 143rd birth anniversary of India’s Nightingale, Sarojini Naidu. Born to a Bengali family in Hyderabad on February 13 in 1879, Naidu would become India’s most recognizable and formidable figure in the journey towards freedom. Coming from a family of academics (her father Aghorenath Chattopadhyay was the principal of Nizam’s College in Hyderabad while her mother Sundara Devi Chattopadhyay was a poetess), it wasn’t a surprise that Naidu was also very literary inclined. Her influence, contribution, and a strong voice against the tyranny of British colonizers were instrumental in making India free.


India’s Nightingale was 12 years old when she started her career in literature. She wrote a play namely "Maher Muneer" and earned recognition and appreciation from across the world. At the age of 16, Sarojini Naidu received a scholarship from the Nizam of Hyderabad and went to London King's College.

After India gained independence in 1947, Naidu was appointed as the governor of the United Provinces, which is today known as Uttar Pradesh. With her appointment, she became India's first woman governor.

Naidu had been imprisoned a number of times with Mahatma Gandhi while participating in India's freedom struggle. In 1942, while Gandhi was leading the Quit India Movement, the British government imprisoned her for almost two years.

Apart from being an Indian political activist, Sarojini was also an acclaimed poet and has written several heartwarming poems on themes such as romance, patriotism and tragedy. Naidu's poems were admired by prominent Indian politicians like Gopal Krishna Gokhale among others. Her poetry was widely read by children and others in India.


Naidu was instrumental in establishing the WIA, founded by Annie Besant in 1917. The group aimed at educating and raising awareness about some of the deplorable conditions faced by Indian women. The birth anniversary of Naidu is celebrated as National Women's Day in India. The day recognises the power of women in the country and their significant voices in bringing about change and progress.

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