12 May, 2021

Nightingale's Mail

Her letters are a window to Sarojini Naidu—poet and politician

Nightingale's Mail
SAROJINI Naidu was governor of Uttar Pradesh when she passed away on March 2, 1949. She was 70. The next day prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru paid a moving tribute to her in the Constituent Assembly: "Here was a person of great brilliance. Here was a person vital and vivid. Here was a person with so many gifts, but above all with some gifts which made her unique.... She infused artistry and poetry into our national struggle. Just as the Father of the Nation had infused moral grandeur and greatness into the struggle, Mrs Sarojini Naidu gave it artistry and poetry and that zest for life and indomitable spirit, which not only faced disaster and catastrophe, but faced them with a light heart and with a song on the lips and smile on the face..."

Makarand Paranjape's introduction is thorough, rigorous, absorbing, full of insights that tell us much about Sarojini Naidu's background. Her Bengali parents made Hydera-bad their home. Her father, the much-accomplished Dr Aghorenath Chattopadhyaya, had a doctorate in science from Edinburgh. Her mother,...

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