Essays

Sarojini Naidu (THE NIGHTINGALE OF INDIA)

Category : Essays

"Oh, we want a new breed of men before India can he cleansed of her disease. We want deeper sincerity of motive, a greater courage in speech and earnestness in action. We want men who love this country and are full of yearning to serve and succor their brothers and not to further aid in their degradation by insincerity and self- seeking. 0 how I hate shams and prejudices: how I hate all sectarian narrowness, alt provincial limitations of vision and purpose, all the arrogant sophistries of man-made divisions and differences: how tired I am to death of the reiterated resolutions that have become almost meaningless by lip repetition: uncorroborated by the hearths conviction and unsuslained by practical action—all this stirs me more deeply just now because of the coming national week. What a. week of inspiration it should be to all partaking in the various activities, if only all those activities could be so co-ordinate and realised as intrinsic parts of the same many-sided work of progress: Hie radii of one unsmiling centre." Excerpt from a letter written by Sarojini to Mr. Gokhale.

 Known as 'cuckoo' of India, Sarojini Devi was a distinguished poet, renowned freedom fighter and one of the great orators other time. Sarojini Naidu was among the most visible leaders of pre-Independent India. President of the Indian National Congress and the first woman governor of free India, she was a passionate advocate for India, avidly mobilizing support for Indian Independence abroad.

Sarojini Chattopadhyay was bom in Hyderabad on February 13,1879 the eldest of a large family, all of whom were taught English at an early age

At the age of twelve she passed the Matriculation of the Madras University, and awoke to find herself famous throughout India. Before she was fifteen the great struggle other life began. Dr. Govind urajulu Naidu, later on became her husband, though of an old and honorable Brahmin family. The difference of caste roused an equal opposition, not only on the side other family, but of his; and in 1895 she was sent to England against her will with a special scholarship from the Nizam. She remained in England, with an interval of travel to Italy, till 1898, studying first at King's College, London, then, till her health again broke down, at Girton. She returned to Hyderabad in September 1898.

 During her stay in England she met Arthur Symons, a poet and critic. They even corresponded after her return to India. He persuaded her to publish some of her poems as The Golden Threshold, her collection of poems was published in 1905 under the title "Golden Threshold". After that, she published two other collections of poems— "The Bird of Time" and "The Broken Wings". In 1918, “Feast of Youth" was published. Later, "The Magic Tree", "The Wizard Mask" and "A Treasury of Poems" were published. Mahashree Arvind, Rabindranath Tagore and Jawaharlal Nehru were among the thousands of admirers other work. She wrote the poems in English, but all reflect hers Indian soul. Her ability to sing charmingly fetched her title 'Nightingale of India'.

In 1916, she met Mahatma Gandhi, and a change percolated in her, she stepped into active politics. After that she totally directed her energy to the fight for freedom. She took up the cause of the indigo workers of Champaran. She roamed around the country like a General of the Army and pour enthusiasm among the hearts of Indians. The independence of India became the heart and soul of her work. She was responsible for awakening the women of India. She brought them out of the kitchen. She travelled from state to state, city after city and asked for the rights of the women. She re-established self-esteem within the women of India.

Sarojini actively campaigned for the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms, the Khilafat issue, the Rowlett Act, the Sabarmati Pact, the Satyagraha Pledge and the Civil Disobedience Movement. In 1919, she went to England as a member of the all- India Home Rule Deputation. After 1920 she toured widely as the President of the Bombay Provincial Congress Committee opposed Council entry in Calcutta and protested against the anti-Moplah measures in Calicut.

 From 1922-26 she espoused the cause of Indians in South Africa, she took part in the Salt Satyagraha and the Round Table Conference in London and campaigned for participation of women and youth in the public life. She organised a National Week in 1940 rallied against the Cripps Mission to India and was jailed in 1942 on the Quit India Resolution of the AICC in Bombay.

She was the first woman Governor of UP. Her President ship of the Asian Relations Conference in 1947 was remarkable. At the age of seventy on 02 March 1949 she died in office in Lucknow.

 

Vocabulary

1. earnestness—an earnest and sincere feeling, seriousness. 2. degradation—abasement, abjection, a low or downcast slate. 3. insincerity—falseness, the quality of not being open or truthful; deceitful or hypocritical. 4. provincial—bucolic. peasant a country person. 5. meaning—significant, having in mind. standing (or. 6. conviction—judgement of conviction, strong belief. 7. inspiration—brainchild, a product of your creative thinking and work. 8. distinguished—described, used of a person's appearance or behaviour; befitting an eminent . 9. passionate—having or expressing strong emotions. 10. corresponded—agreed, represented, checked. 11. charmingly—in a charming manner. 12, percolated—filtered, perked up. 13. enthusiasm—ebullience, exuberance. 14. campaigned—run or stand for office, agitated, fought- 15. participation—engagement, involvement. 


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