Sarojini Naidu : First Female President of the India National Congress

Sarojini Naidu : An India political leader . She was born on February 13, 1879 in Hyderabad, India. At a very young age Naidu wrote poetry and plays, a hobby she kept throughout her life. She was elected as the first female President of the India National Congress in 1952. After India’s independence from England, she became the first woman Governor of Uttar Pradesh. Naidu died on March 02, 1949 at Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.

She was the first ever woman to become the Governor of an Indian state. Sarojini was born on February 13, 1879, in Hyderabad of British India. Earlier her name was Sarojini Chattopadhyay . Later she went on to become a poet, a politician and most importantly an Indian independence activist. Naidu father Aghore Nath Chattopadhyay held a doctorate of Science from Edinburgh University while her mother Sundari Devi was a Bengali poet.

Eldest of eight siblings, Sarojini Naidu studied at King’s college London and Girton college, Cambridge. She wrote a play “Maher Muneer”, as a child and it earned her a scholarship to study abroad. Sarojini was expert in English, Bengali, Urdu, Telugu and Persian. While her father wanted her to become a scientist or a mathematician, Sarojini Naidu took to poetry. Sarojini at the age of 19, met Dr Govindarajulu Naidu and went on to marry him at a time when inter-caste marriages were taboo.

Between 1915 and 18, she delivered lectures on social welfare, women’s empowerment and nationalism in various parts of the country. She helped to establish the Women’s Indian Association in 1917. Sarojini Naidu along with Annie Besant was sent to London to present the case for women’s vote to the Joint Select Committee.

She took part in the Dandi Satyagraha alongside Mahatma Gandhi in 1930. Sarojini Naidu religiously followed Gandhi’s example. She supported all his campaigns including the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms, the Khilafat movement, the Sabarmati Pact, the Satyagraha Pledge and the Civil Disobedience Movement. Her involvement in the freedom movement led to many instances of imprisonment. Sarojini Naidu was jailed in 1930, 1932 and 1942 when she spent 21 months in jail.

She was elected as the President of the Indian National Congress . Naidu was first ever woman to assume that position. She believed in non-violence, much like Mahatma Gandhi. Sarojini Naidu was instrumental in disseminating Gandhian principles to the rest of the world and was partly responsible for establishing Gandhi as this icon of peace.