February 13 is the birth anniversary of Sarojini Naidu, also known as the "Nightingale of India". Sarojini was born on February 13, 1879 in Hyderabad to scientist and philosopher Aghornath Chattopadhyaya and Barada Sundari Devi. She was a bright student and topped the matriculation examination at Madras University. At 16, she travelled to England to pursue her further education in King's College, London and Girton College, Cambridge. At 19, she married Dr Govindarajulu Naidu, during the time when inter-caste marriages were not allowed. On her 139th birth anniversary, here are some interesting facts about the freedom fighter, child prodigy and poet:
- Sarojini Naidu was the first Indian woman President of the Indian National Congress and also the first woman governor of an Indian state (Governor of United Province, now Uttar Pradesh).
- In 1929, she presided over East African Indian Congress in South Africa and was awarded the Kaisar-i-Hind Medal by the British government for her work during the plague epidemic in India.
- She played a pivotal role during the Civil Disobedience movement in India's freedom struggle. She also faced arrest for in 1942 during the "Quit India" movement.
- Post-Independence, she served as the first Governor of the United Provinces from 1947 to 1949 and also contributed to the drafting of the Indian Constitution.
- Her writing career began at the age of 13 and her major contribution was in the field of poetry. The Golden Threshold, her first collection of poems, was published in 1905. The Feather of The Dawn was edited and published posthumously in 1961 by her daughter Padamaja.
- Some of other literary works include The Bird of Time: Songs of Life, Death and the Spring, The Broken Wing: Songs of Love, Death and the Spring, Muhammad Jinnah: An Ambassador of Unity, The Sceptred Flute: Songs of India, Allahabad: Kitabistan, The Indian Weavers, Feast of Youth, The Magic Tree and The Wizard Mask.
- Sarojini Naidu suffered a heart attack and died on March 2, 1949 at Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh.