National Women’s Day is annually observed across India on February 13 to commemorate the birth anniversary of Sarojini Naidu, who was referred to as the “Nightingale of India”.
- National Women’s Day is celebrated to honour the social, cultural, political, and economic accomplishments of Indian women.
13th February 2023 marks the 144th birth anniversary of Sarojini Naidu.
Note: The United Nations (UN)’s International Women’s Day is annually observed across the globe on March 8.
About Sarojini Naidu:
i. Sarojini Naidu was born on 13th February 1879 in Hyderabad, Telangana.
ii. She was a political activist, feminist, poet, freedom fighter, and the 1st Indian woman to be the President of the Indian National Congress.
iii. She was appointed as Uttar Pradesh’s 1st governor in 1947, the year India attained freedom. She held onto her position until her demise in 1949.
iv. She worked as a suffragist in England and was drawn to the Indian National Congress movement for India’s independence from British rule.
- Suffragist- a person who is in favour of women having the right to vote, especially in societies where women are not allowed to vote.
Contribution to the Indian Independence Struggle:
i. Sarojini Naidu was one of the leading women to participate in India’s struggle for independence from the British. She advocated for women’s rights and their empowerment.
ii. From 1915 to 1918, she delivered lectures in India on nationalism, women’s freedom, labour dignity, and the welfare of young people and joined Mahatma Gandhi’s satyagraha and non-violent movement in 1917.
iii. She helped to create the Women’s Indian Association (WIA) in 1917 to advocate for the female franchise.
Sarojini Naidu’s Works:
i. Sarojini Naidu was a prolific writer. Her writings portray Indians’ life and historical occurrences in India at the time.
ii. “The Golden Threshold”, the 1st book of poems by Sarojini Naidu was published in London, United Kingdom (UK), in 1905.
iii. Some of the well-known works of Sarojini Naidu were “The Bird of Time” (1912), “In the Bazaars of Hyderabad” (1912), “The Broken Wing” (1917), “The Feather of the Dawn” (1961), and “The Indian Weavers” (1971).
Awards and Honours:
Sarojini Naidu was awarded the “Kaisar-i-Hind Medal”, a medal awarded by the Emperor/Empress of India between 1900 and 1947, by the British Government for her work during the plague epidemic in India.