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Sansad TV: Makers of Indian Constitution- Sarojini Naidu: India’s first woman Governor





Sarojini Naidu was also among the 15 women who chose to draft the Indian Constitution as part of the legendary Constituent Assembly. A freedom fighter, a drafter of the Constitution, a poet and a path-breaker for women everywhere. She inspired students to join the freedom movement. She fought for the Rights of widows. At the 22nd session of the Indian National Social Conference held in 1908, she was instrumental in passing a resolution demanding educational facilities for widows, establishing women’s homes, and removing obstacles in the remarriage of widows.


  • Shewas an Indian political activist, feminist and poet. A proponent of civil rights, women’s emancipation, and anti-imperialistic ideas, she was an important person in India’s struggle for independence from colonial rule.
  • She was also the first Indian woman to be president of the Indian National Congress and to be appointed as governor of an Indian state (United Provinces).
  • Naidu’s literary work as a poet earned her the sobriquet the “Nightingale of India”, or “Bharat Kokila” by Mahatma Gandhi because of colour, imagery and lyrical quality of her poetry.
  • Naidu’s poetry includes both children’s poems and others written on more serious themes including patriotism, and tragedy. Published in 1912, “In the Bazaars of Hyderabad” remains one of her most popular poems.

Early oratory:

  • Beginning in 1904, Naidu became an increasingly popular orator, promoting Indian independence and women’s rights, especially women’s education.
  • She addressed the Indian National Congress and the Indian Social Conference in Calcutta in 1906.
  • Her social work for flood relief earned her the Kaisar-i-Hind Medal in 1911, which she later returned in protest over the April 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
  • She established the Women’s Indian Association in 1917. Later that year, Naidu accompanied her colleague Annie Besant, who was the president of Home Rule League and Women’s Indian Association, to advocate universal suffrage in front of the Joint Select Committee in London, United Kingdom.
  • She also supported the Lucknow Pact, a joint Hindu–Muslim demand for British political reform, at the Madras Special Provincial Council.
  • As a public speaker, Naidu’s oratory was known for its personality and its incorporation of her poetry.

Nonviolent resistance:

  • Naidu formed close ties with Gandhi, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Rabindranath Tagore and Sarala Devi Chaudhurani.
  • After 1917, she joined Gandhi’s satyagrahamovement of nonviolent resistance against British rule.
  • Naidu went to London in 1919 as a part of the All India Home Rule League as a part of her continued efforts to advocate for freedom from the British rule.
  • The next year, she participated in the non-cooperation movement in India.
  • In 1924, Naidu represented the Indian National Congress at the East African Indian National Congress.
  • In 1928, she travelled in the United States to promote nonviolent resistance.
  • In 1930, Gandhi initially did not want to permit women to join the Salt March, because it would be physically demanding with a high risk of arrest.
  • Naidu and other female activists, including Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay and Khurshed Naoroji, persuaded him otherwise, and joined the march. When Gandhi was arrested on 6 April 1930, he appointed Naidu as the new leader of the campaign.
  • The Indian National Congress decided to stay away from the First Round Table Conference that took place in London owing to the arrests.
  • In 1931, however, Naidu and other leaders of the Congress Party participated in the Second Round Table Conference headed by Viceroy Lord Irwin in the wake of the Gandhi-Irwin pact. Naidu was jailed by the British in 1932.
  • The British jailed Naidu again in 1942 for her participation in the Quit India Movement.