Sarojini Naidu: Her Way With Words

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About the Book Sarojini Naidu (1879 - 1949) was one of the most outstanding women of her time. A poet, a freedom fighter and a woman with great oratorical skills, Sarojini Naidu was also known for her progressive thinking, her acerbic wit and her compassion, in a world where politics was dominated by men, Sarojini Naidu held her own, and kept company with the likes of Jawaharla Nehru. Mahatma Gandhi and Subhash Chandra Bose. Sarojini Naidu: Her way with Words brings to light some aspe...
About the Book

Sarojini Naidu (1879 - 1949) was one of the most outstanding women of her time. A poet, a freedom fighter and a woman with great oratorical skills, Sarojini Naidu was also known for her progressive thinking, her acerbic wit and her compassion, in a world where politics was dominated by men, Sarojini Naidu held her own, and kept company with the likes of Jawaharla Nehru. Mahatma Gandhi and Subhash Chandra Bose.

Sarojini Naidu: Her way with Words brings to light some aspects of her fascinating personality the romantic poet, the fervent patriot and the romantic poet, the fervent patriot and the skilful writer. In a collection of writings about her an essay by her as well as selections of poems, folk song and tetters sourced from the National Archives of India, the reader is given an insight into the life and times of this of fascinating woman and her rich legacy.


About the Author


Professor Mushirul Hasan is an internationally renowned historian, prolific author and former Vice-Chancellor of Jamia Milia Islamia University, Delhi. Professor Hasan has also authored Partners in Freedom: Jamia Milia Islamia (Niyogi Books, 2006);

Mutiny Memoirs (Niyogi Books, 2009); and The Avadh Punch: Wit and Humour in Colonial North India (2007) and Wit and Wisdom: Pickings from the Parsee Punch (2012) as part of the Punch series brought out by Niyogi Books.

He has written extensively on the Partition of India, on communalism and on the histories of Islam in South Asia. Professor Hasan was the elected President of the Indian History Congress in 2002. In 2007, he was awarded the Padma shri by the Government of India and in 2010 the Order des Palmes Academiques was conferred upon him by the French Government. He is presently the director General of the National Archives of India.




The great Father of the Nation and this great woman (Sarojini Naidu) have shaped our national movement so powerfully, not so much on the direct political plane, although she was active there and adequately functioned, but in those invisible planes which are so very important, because they shape the nation's character; because they mould ultimately its mental and aesthetic and artistic outlook; and without that mental, moral, aesthetic and artistic outlook, any success that we may gain may well be an empty success; because, after all, we seek freedom not merely because it is good in itself, but to achieve something else. We seek freedom to achieve a good life for our people.'

The histories of the Indian nationalist movement cannot be written without mentioning the Anand Bhawan in Allahabad, the Darus-Salam in Delhi, and the Golden Threshold in Hyderabad, once a princely state. These houses provide a glimpse into the lives of some prominent persons and their families, and obliterate, strictly speaking, the public-private distinction. I endeavour to bring them into the historian's domain and, in the process, construct aspects of Sarojini Naidu's role in public life.

Anand Bhawan

Allahabad means 'City of God.' This is a holy city, where the confluence of the Ganga and the Yamuna takes place. Pilgrims to this sacred city come from everywhere, especially during the great Kurnbh Mela, held every twelve years. Every year smaller pilgrims attend the Magh Mela. They plod patiently along in the heat and dust, but are supported and sustained by an unwavering faith and belief. They are serenely content at the prospect of being cleansed from every vestige of sin by those holy waters.

Mark Twain described Allahabad-the British section-in the following words:

It is a town of wide avenues and noble distances, and is comely and alluring, and full of suggestions of comfort and leisure, and of the serenity which a good conscience buttressed by a sufficient bank account gives. The bungalows stand well back in the seclusion and privacy of large enclosed compounds (private grounds, as we should say) and in the shade and shelter of trees. Even the photographer and the prosperous merchant ply their industries in the elegant reserve of big compounds, and the citizens drive in there upon their business occasions. And not in cabs-no; in the Indian cities cabs are for the drifting stranger; all the white citizens have private carriages; and each carriage has a flock of white- turbaned footmen and drivers all over it.

Near Bharadwaj Ashram (in ancient days the site of a university) is a place where once Rama and Bharat met when the Lord returned from exile. Here stands the Anand Bhawan (Abode of Happiness). When Jawaharlal Nehru was ten years old, his father Motilal Nehru, who had a full, strenuous and happy life as a lawyer, had purchased this large house with a huge garden and big verandas all around. One part of the garden had a summer-house and a tennis court. Inside the summer-house was Shiva's image mounted high on large stones, which were placed one on top of the other to make it look like a miniature mountain.' From Shiva's head a tiny stream trickled down into the pool at the foot of it. Anand Bhawan, wrote Vijaya Lakshmi (later, Pandit), bustled with activity. Guests associated the sound of laughter with the house.'

To Jawaharlal, Anand Bhawan was far more than a structure of brick and concrete, more than a private possession: it was connected intimately with the freedom struggle, and within its walls great events occurred. After the first arrest of father and son in December 1921, many more family members went to gaol. For this, Sarojini Naidu admired the Nehrus. 'Across the landscape of this moving family,' wrote Sarojini Naidu, 'fall the brighter lights and the half lights, the dimmer and the deeper shadows inseparable from human destiny.' Motilal was 'Papaji'; Kamala Nehru, 'rnammaji': and Krishna Nehru, 'Betti'. On the occasion of Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit's marriage, the Bulbul-i Hind congratulated her: 'You are bringing as your share in that comradeship some wonderful personal gifts, enhanced by all the richness and nobility of tradition that belong to your family, as the integral part of the existing traditions, ideals and achievements which are an example and an inspiration to the nation."




Editor's Note 7
Sarojini Naidu: A Magnificence of Spirit  
Mushirul Hasan 9
Sarojini Naidu – Some Facets of Her Personality
Sarojini Naidu as a Freedom Fighter 41
Sarojini Naidu's Views on Social Issues of her Time 46
Sarojini Naidu: Her Way with Words 56
Gokhale the Man Sarojini Naidu
Sarojini Naidu's Selected Poems  
Introduction Arthur Symons 74
Indian Love Song 81
Cradle Song 82
Suttee 83
Song of Dream 84
Humayun to Zobeida 85
Autuman Song 86
Alabaster 87
Ecstasy 88
To My Fairy Fancies 89
My Dead Dream 90
Damayante to Nala in the Hour of Exile 91
The Queen's Rival 92
The Poet to Death 95
The Indian Gipsy 96
The Pardah Nashin 98
To Youth 99
Nightfall in the City of Hyderabad 100
Street Cries 101
To India 102
The Royal Tombs of Golconda 103
To a Buddha Seated on a Lotus 104
Selected Fold Songs
Palanquin Bearers 106
Wandering Singers 107
Indian Weavers 108
Coromandel Fishers 109
The Snake – Charmer 110
Corn – Grinders 111
Village Song 112
In Praise of Henna 113
Harvest Hymn 114
Sarojini Naidu's Selected Letters 1896 - 1911 116

Sample Page

Item Code: NAK076 Author: Mushirul Hasan Cover: Hardcover Edition: 2012 Publisher: Niyogi Books ISBN: 9789381523438 Language: English Size: 10.0 inch x 6.5 inch Pages: 160 (8 B/W Illustrations) Other Details: Weight of the Book: 435 gms
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