Monday, September 13, 2010

Sarojini Naidu: As a real leader

Does the GenNext know who Sarojini Naidu is or what she should mean to us? In a discreet, personal poll conducted, one realised that not many had heard of her and those who had had dim understanding of what she stood for. That, one supposes, is par for the course. And to think that time was when she was practically a household name, famous as a poet, freedom-fighter, a close friend of Gopala Krishna Gokhale and after his passing away of Mahatma Gandhi and his younger collegues like Jawaharlal Nehru.

Not many again know that following independence, she was appointed Governor of one of the largest provinces in India, the United Province (subsequently to be known as Uttar Pradesh) to become the first woman to hold such a post. Equally, or perhaps more importantly, she had earlier been elected president of the India National Congress in 1925, following the Mahatma’s own presidentship a year earlier. Her distinction, however, was more of that of a poet in English, though born and brought up as the daughter of a Bengali Brahmo Samajist, Aghorenath Chattopadhyaya, an educationist of repute in Hyderabad, and was proficient in Persian, Urdu and Telugu. She was born in February 1879, was a contemporary of some of the most distinguished men and women of those times, and passed away in March 1949. In those seventy years she made history of sorts. Though she participated in the fight for independence as a Congress member and invited imprisonment, in the end she will probably be best remembered as a poet and a feminist who also fought for Women’s Rights and, above all, for Hindu-Muslim unity, at a time when it was much talked about.

Full report here Organiser 

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