She was born in Hyderabad to a Bengali Hindu Kulin Brahmin family to Agorenath Chattopadhyay and Barada Sundari Devi on 13th February 1879. Her father was a doctor of science from Edinburgh University, settled in Hyderabad State, where he founded and administered the Hyderabad College, which later became the Nizams College in Ahemdabad. Her mother was a poetess baji and used to write poetry in Bengali. Sarojini Naidu was the eldest among the eight siblings. One of her brothers Birendranath was a revolutionary and her other brother, Harindranath was a poet, dramatist, and actor.
Indian Freedom Fighter
Sarojini Naidu (extreme right) with Mahatma Gandhi during Salt Satyagraha, 1930 Sarojini Naidu joined the Indian national movement in the wake of partition of Bengal in 1905. She came into contact with Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Rabindranath Tagore, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Annie Besant, C. P. Ramaswami Iyer, Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. During 1915-1918, she traveled to different regions in India delivering lectures on social welfare, women empowerment and nationalism. She awakened the women of India and brought them out of the kitchen. She also helped to establish the Womens Indian Association (WIA) in 1917. She was sent to London along with Annie Besant, President of WIA, to present the case for the womens vote to the Joint Select Committee.
President of the Congress
In 1925, Sarojini Naidu presided over the annual session of Indian National Congress at Cawnpore. In 1929, she presided over East African Indian Congress in South Africa. She was awarded the hind a kesari medal by the British government for her work during the plague epidemic in India. In 1931, she participated in the Round table conference with Gandhiji and Madan Mohan Malaviya. Sarojini Naidu played a leading role during the Civil Disobedience Movement and was jailed along with Gandhiji and other leaders. In 1942, Sarojini Naidu was arrested during the Quit India movement and was jailed for 21 months with Gandhiji. She shared a very warm relationship with Gandhiji and used to call him Mickey Mouse.
Sarojini Naidu began writing at the age of 12. Her play, Maher Muneer, impressed the Nawab of Hyderabad. In 1905, her collection of poems, named The Broken Exes was published. Her poems were admired by many prominent Indian politicians like Gopal Krishna Gokhale.
During her stay in England, Sarojini met Dr. Govindarajulu Naidu, a non-Brahmin and a doctor by profession, and fell in love with him. After finishing her studies at the age of 19, she got married to him during the time when inter-caste marriages were not allowed. Her father approved the marriage and her marriage was a very happy one. The couple had five children. Jayasurya, Padmaja, Randheer, Nilawar and Leelamani. Her daughter Padmaja followed in to her footprints and became the Governor of West Bengal. In 1961, she published a collection of poems entitled The Feather of The Dawn.
In 1949 she fell ill. Her physician came and gave her a sleeping pill for good sleep. She smiled and said Not eternal sleep I hope. But that night on March 2nd 1949 she died in her sleep.
Each year links to its corresponding [year] in poetry article: * 1905: The Golden Threshold, published in the United Kingdom (text available online) * 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 (first read in public in 1915) * 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