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Sarojini Naidu

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Sarojini Naidu Facts:

Known for: poems published 1905-1917; campaign to abolish purdah; first Indian woman president of the Indian National Congress (1925), Gandhi's political organization; after independence, she was appointed governor of Uttar Pradesh; she called herself a "poetess-singer"
Occupation: poet, feminist, politician
Dates: February 13, 1879 - March 2, 1949
Also known as: Sarojini Chattopadhyay; the Nightingale of India

Sarojini Naidu Biography:

Sarojini Naidu began writing poetry early. When she attended college in England, she became involved in some of the woman suffrage activities, and when she returned to India channeled her political interest into the National Congress and Non-Cooperation movements. She also helped found the Women's India Association, with Annie Besant and others.

From a Brahmin family, Sarojini Naidu married a medical doctor of a lower caste when she returned from college.

She became the first Indian woman to head the National Congress in 1925. She traveled to Africa and North America, lecturing on the Congress movement. Her activities in India on behalf of independence brought prison sentences in 1930, 1932, and 1942.

Her experience as a Hindu living in a part of India that was primarily Muslim influenced her poetry, and also helped her work with Gandhi dealing with Hindu-Muslim conflicts.

From 1947 to her death, she was governor of Uttar Pradesh (earlier called the United Provinces).

Sarojini Naidu Background, Family:

  • Father: Aghornath Chattopadhyaya (scientist, founder and administrator of Hyderabad College, later Nizam's College)
  • Mother: Barada Sundari Devi (poet)
  • Husband: Govindarajulu Naidu (married 1898; medical doctor)
  • Children: two daughters and two sons

Sarojini Naidu Education:

  • Madras University (age 12)
  • King's College, London (1895-1898)
  • Girton College, Cambridge

Sarojini Naidu Publications:

  • The Golden Threshold (1905)
  • The Bird of Time (1912)
  • The Broken Wing (1917)
  • The Sceptred Flute (1928)
  • The Feather of the Dawn (1961)

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