Sarojini Naidu was an Indian political activist, feminist, and poet. She was an important figure in India’s struggle for independence from colonial rule. Naidu’s work as a poet earned her the sobriquet ‘Nightingale of India’ by Mahatma Gandhi. She was called ‘Bharat Kokila’ by Rabindranath Tagore.
CHILDREN, ye have not lived, to you it seems
Life is a lovely stalactite of dreams,
Or carnival of careless joys that leap
About your hearts like billows on the deep
In flames of amber and of amethyst.
Children, ye have not lived, ye but exist
Till some resistless hour shall rise and move
Your hearts to wake and hunger after love,
And thirst with passionate longing for the things
That burn your brows with blood-red sufferings.
Till ye have battled with great grief and fears,
And borne the conflict of dream-shattering years,
Wounded with fierce desire and worn with strife,
Children, ye have not lived: for this is life.