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Sarojini Naidu’s birth anniversary, which falls on 13 February, is observed as National Women’s Day across the country. This year will mark 143rd birth anniversary of the great freedom fighter and acclaimed poet. Sarojini Naidu was an iconic woman who fought hard for the empowerment of women in India. and hence her birth anniversary is celebrated as National Women’s Day.
Life of Sarojini Naidu
Sarojini Naidu was a political activist, freedom fighter, poet, orator and administrator. She was one of the first women to participate in India’s struggle for independence. She was also the first Indian woman to be president of the Indian National Congress and to be appointed an Indian state governor.
Sarojini Naidu was born on 13 February, 1879 in Hyderabad, India to Bengali parents Dr Aghore Nath Chattopadhyay, who was the principal of Nizam’s College in Hyderabad, and Varada Sundari, a poetess in the Bengali language. She was a very intelligent child and was proficient in multiple languages including English, Bengali, Urdu, Telugu and Persian.
Sarojini Naidu was attracted to the India politics by Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Mahatma Gandhi. She was deeply affected by the partition of Bengal in 1905 and decided to join the Indian freedom struggle. After some experience in the suffragist campaign in England, she was drawn to India’s Congress movement and to Mahatma Gandhi’s Noncooperation Movement. She advocated Gandhi’s non violent resistance against the British. In 1924 she became the first Indian woman president of the National Congress. She was awarded the Kaisar-i-Hind medal by the British in 1929 for her contribution during the plague epidemic in the country. She was imprisoned several times because of her anti British activity. In 1942, during Quit India Movement, the British government imprisoned Sarojini Naidu for almost 21 months. In 1947 she became the governor of the United Provinces (which is now Uttar Pradesh) and remained in that post until her death.
Sarojini Naidu was a vocal activist who fought hard for the rights of women. In 1917, she founded the Women’s Indian Association to strengthen the fight for Indian women. She herself was a voracious fighter and also inspired women to join the struggle for freedom. She joined Madras University at the age of 12 and later went to King’s College in London and Girton College in Cambridge. Sarojini Naidu was attracted to poetry since childhood. She wrote a 1300 lines long poem in English titled ‘The Lady of the Lake’.
Sarojini Naidu was also active in the field of literature. Since her childhood, she was a prodigy in literature and was proficient in Hindi, English, Persian, Urdu, Telugu, and Bengali. Her first volume of poetry was The Golden Threshold which was released in 1905. In the year 1914 she was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Her poems earned her the moniker ‘Nightingale of India’ or ‘Bharat Kokila’ by Mahatma Gandhi because of color, imagery and lyrical quality of her poetry. Her poems in English has been praised by leading Indian personalities like Rabindranath Tagore and Jawaharlal Nehru.
Some interesting facts about Sarojini Naidu:
- She wrote the poem ‘The Lady of the Lake’ , which is 1300 lines long, while solving an algebra problem.
- She gave Mohammed Ali Jinnah the title ‘the Ambassador of Hindu Muslim Unity’.
- She returned her Kaisar-i-Hind medal as a mark of protest against the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
- She was awarded scholarship to King’s College of England by Nawab of Hyderabad because he liked her poem.
Sarojini Naidu died of a cardiac arrest on the 2nd of March, 1949 in Lucknow.
Literary works of Sarojini Naidu
Sarojini Naidu’s poetry collection includes children’s poems as well as those written on themes including patriotism, romance, and tragedy. ‘In the Bazaars of Hyderabad’ remains one of her most popular poems. Given below are some of her famous works:
- Golden Threshold (1905) was her first collection of poems
- The Bird of Time: Songs of Life, Death, and the Spring (1912)
- The Broken Wing: Songs of Love, Death and the Spring, including “The Gift of India” (1917)
- Muhammad Jinnah: An Ambassador of Unity (1919)
- The Sceptred Flute: Songs of India, Allahabad: Kitabistan (1943)
- The Indian Weavers(1971)
Inspirational Quotes by Sarojini Naidu
- “A country’s greatness lies in it’s undying ideals of love and sacrifice that inspire the mothers of the race.”
- “We want deeper sincerity of motive, a greater courage in speech and earnestness in action”
- “I am not ready to die because it requires infinitely higher courage to live.”
- “The new has come and now the old retires. And so the past becomes a mountain cell.”
- “We want a new breed of men before India can be cleansed of her disease.”
National Women’s Day
Sarojini Naidu’s birthday is celebrated as National Women’s Day in India. She actively worked for the empowerment of women. She spoke about women’s rights and fought for them. She urged women to take part in the freedom struggle. National Women’s Day is observed on 13 February to celebrate the social, cultural, political, and economic achievements of women. It also helps in raising awareness about gender bias. Contrary to the past, women has now been able to break the gender barrier and set foot on all fields which were earlier dominated by men.
Let’s have a look at some of the quotes about women and their strength:
“Don’t let anyone tell you you’re weak because you’re a woman” – Mary Kom
“There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.” – Michelle Obama
“I am grateful to be a woman. I must have done something great in another life.” – Maya Angelou
“There is no force more powerful than a woman determined to rise.”- W.E.B. Dubois
“Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back.”
“Girls with ambition become women with vision.”
“She is the architect of a family, society, nation, and world.”
Quiz on Sarojini Naidu Birth Anniversary 2023
Sarojini Naidu’s first collection of poem was ______________.
(a) The Golden Threshold
(b) The Indian Weavers
(c) The Broken Wing: Songs of Love, Death and the Spring
(d) The Bird of Time: Songs of Life, Death, and the Spring
Ans: (a) The Golden Threshold
Sarojini Naidu went to ____________________ for higher studies.
Ans: (c) England
Where was Sarojini Naidu born?
Ans: (b) Hyderabad
Sarojini Naidu was the governor of ____________.
(a) United Provinces
Ans: (a) United Provinces
What was Sarojini Naidu’s maiden name?
(a) Sarojini Naidu
(b) Sarojini Singh
(c) Sarojini Chattopadhyay
(d) Sarojini Banerjee
Ans: (c) Sarojini Chattopadhyay
Who gave Sarojini Naidu the title ‘Nightingale of India’?
(a) Jawaharlal Nehru
(b) Mohammed Ali Jinnah
(c) Chandrashekar Azad
(d) Mahatma Gandhi
Ans: (d) Mahatma Gandhi
Sarojini Naidu died of ___________________.
(b) cardiac arrest
(c) age related illness
Ans: (b) cardiac arrest
Which university did Sarojini Naidu attend?
(a) University of Calcutta
(b) University of Delhi
(c) University of Bombay
(d) University of Madras
Ans: (d) University of Madras
Sarojini Naidu died in _________________.
Ans: (b) Lucknow
National Women’s day recognizes the power of women in the country and their significant voices in bringing about change and progress. Sarojini Naidu was a woman who strived hard for equality and upliftment of women. What better occasion than the birth anniversary of this great lady can be chosen as the day for celebrating womanhood and her achievements.