Sarojini Naidu (1879-1949)
WEAVERS, weaving at break of day,
Why do you weave a garment so gay? . . .
Blue as the wing of a halcyon wild,
We weave the robes of a new-born child.
Weavers, weaving at fall of night,
Why do you weave a garment so bright? . . .
Like the plumes of a peacock, purple and green,
We weave the marriage-veils of a queen.
Weavers, weaving solemn and still,
What do you weave in the moonlight chill? . . .
White as a feather and white as a cloud,
We weave a dead man’s funeral shroud.1
Sarojini Naidu was born February 13, 1879 in Hyderabad, India. Her father, Aghornath Chattopadhyaya was a co-founder of Nizam College and a political activist. Sarojini was accepted by Madras University at the age of twelve. Her first volume of poetry was published in 1905. She became known as the Nightingale of India due to the beauty and rhythm of her poetry which could be sung.
As a result of her participation in the movement to free India from British rule, Sarojini was appointed governor of Uttar Pradesh in 1947. She was the first woman to become governor of a state in India. Sarojini Naidu died of a heart attack on March 2, 1949 while working in her office.2
1Retrieved April 15, 2011 from http://oldpoetry.com/opoem/27171-Sarojini-Naidu-Indian-Weavers
2Retrieved April 15, 2011 from the Famous People web site: http://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/sarojini-naidu-36.php
Photo of Naidu with Ghandi retrieved from http://janisfreegard.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/mahatma__sarojini_naidu_1930.jpg
Drawing of Naidu retrieved from http://www.imagesofasia.com/html/india/sarojini-naidu.html