LETTERS FROM SAROJINI NAIDU
TO PADMAJA NAIDU,
introduced by Amrita Bhalla
(All rights available)
The complex dynamics
of a mother-daughter relationship during India's Freedom Movement are
revealed through this selection of letters from Sarojini Naidu to her daughter,
Padmaja. As a substantial, unpublished archive of approximately 1300 letters it
is a unique and invaluable source of recent Indian history.
Both mother and daughter were important personalities in the political,
social and cultural history of colonial and post-Independence India.
Sarojini Naidu was the first woman to hold the post of President of the
Indian National Congress, one of the most prominent women among nationalist
leaders, closely associated with intellectuals, poets and leaders, among
them Gokhale, Gandhi, Nehru, Jinnah and Tagore. Padmaja followed in her
mother's footsteps, carving a political niche for herself in post-
Independence India, and as beloved friend and companion to the Nehrus.
There can be few letters from that period that are as detailed, numerous,
exhaustive and wide-ranging, as these from a mother to her daughter.
Together with a reissue of
Selected Letters 1890s to 1940s edited &
introduced by Makarand Paranjape
teaches Literature in English at
Jesus and Mary College, University of Delhi. Her book,
Shashi Deshpande (2006)
is part of Northcote's
acclaimed Writers and their Work
series. She has also contributed
the Introduction to the Collected Short Stories of Shashi
Deshpande (Penguin). Her research interests are in
the representation of women during the colonial struggle for
Independence and find expression in reviews and articles.