The world might celebrate International Women's Day on March 8 but in India, we observe National Women's Day on February 13, to mark the birth anniversary of Sarojini Naidu, who is also popularly known as ‘The nightingale of India’. The political activist and poet was garnered with the title 'the Nightingale of India', or 'Bharat Kokila' by Mahatma Gandhi because of colour, imagery, and lyrical quality of her poetry.
A proponent of civil rights, women's emancipation, and anti-imperialistic ideas, she was an important figure in India's struggle for independence from colonial rule.
In 1925, Sarojini Naidu was appointed as the first woman President of the Indian National Congress and later the first woman to be a governor of a state. She was appointed as the governor of the United Provinces, known as Uttar Pradesh today.
She played a pivotal role during the Civil Disobedience Movement. She also faced arrest in 1942 during the "Quit India" movement. Naidu also contributed to the drafting of the Indian constitution.
Born in Hyderabad, Sarojini Naidu belonged to a Bengali Brahmin family with her ancestral roots in Bangladesh. Aghorenath Chattopadhyay was the principal of the Nizam's College with a doctorate of Science from Edinburgh University.
Her mother, Barada Sundari Devi Chattopadhyay, was a poet and used to write poetry in Bengali. Naidu was the eldest among her eight siblings.
After finishing her studies, she married Paidipati Govindarajulu Naidu - a physician from Andhra Pradesh. The couple has five children.
Sarojini Naidu suffered a heart attack and died on March 2, 1949, at Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh.