This week having celebrated Indian Independence Day on August 15th, it seemed to be the perfect time to write about someone who was part of the Indian Freedom Struggle.
Sarojini Naidu, The Nightingale of India. She has achieved a lot in her political career and also played a major role in Indian Independence. A feminist, who had a flair for poetry. We’ve read a lot about her part in the Freedom Fight as kids, but it was in my late teens that I came across one of her short stories. It was a book on Indian literature and out of all the other stories, hers had a great impact on me.
Sarojini Naidu was born on February 13th, 1879 in my hometown Hyderabad. She graduated from Kings’ College London and got married at the age of 19. Her poems were blithe and beautiful. Many admired her writings. Some of her published and popular works are, The Golden Threshold, Bird of time and The Broken Wings.
Her writings were mainly focused on the history, culture and the ongoing practices of the society. Her stories, many of which, directed towards the suppression of women in those days are weirdly the mirrors of how women are treated today. When asked if she was a feminist regarding her writings about women, she replied politely that she writes facts, things that are happening and are nothing new or fantasized, whatever it was to be tagged is not my decision, but I do write for women empowerment.
Having married someone out of her caste at the time where inter caste marriages were not allowed, she was one of the very few who asked why women don’t get to have their own name and why it’s her father’s before marriage and then husband’s. These little details show how rebellious she was and being highly educated gave her the strength to question the customs. Her father deserves a great mention, for having given her the freedom to explore and express her own self.
If anything she is an inspiration to every woman and writers globally. It is sad that how her writings of women’s sufferings still apply to this day.
Oh, we need a new breed of men before India can be cleansed of her disease
— Sarojini Naidu