Padmaja Naidu
4th Governor of West Bengal
In office
3 November 1956 – 1 June 1967
Preceded byPhani Bhusan Chakravartti (acting)
Succeeded byDharma Vira
Personal details
Born17 November 1900
Hyderabad, Hyderabad State, British India
Died2 May 1975 (aged 74)
New Delhi, India

Padmaja Naidu (17 November 1900 – 2 May 1975) was an Indian freedom fighter and politician who was the 4th Governor of West Bengal from 3 November 1956 to 1 June 1967. She was daughter of Sarojini Naidu.

Early life

Padmaja Naidu was born in Hyderabad to a Bengali mother and a Telugu father. Her mother was the poet and Indian freedom fighter, Sarojini Naidu. Her father Mutyala Govindrajulu Naidu was a physician.[1] She had four siblings, Jayasurya, Leelamani, Nilawar and Randheer.[2]

Political career

At the age of 21, she co-founded the Indian National Congress in the Nizam ruled princely state of Hyderabad. She was jailed for taking part in the "Quit India" movement in 1942. After Independence, she was elected to the Indian Parliament in 1950. In 1956 she was appointed the Governor of West Bengal.[3] She was also associated with the Red Cross and was the chairperson of the Indian Red Cross from 1971 to 1972.[4]

Personal life

Early in her life, Padmaja was a close friend of Ruttie Petit who married Muhammad Ali Jinnah, later the founder of Pakistan.[5] Padmaja Naidu had a close relationship with the Nehru family, including with Jawaharlal Nehru and his sister, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit.[6] Pandit later told Pupul Jayakar, Indira Gandhi's friend and biographer, that Padmaja Naidu and Nehru lived together for many years. Nehru did not marry Padmaja because he did not want to hurt his daughter, Indira.[7][8] However, Padmaja never married Nehru would propose one day.[9][5] After retiring, Padmaja lived until her death in 1975 in a bungalow on the Teen Murti Bhavan estate, Prime Minister Nehru's official residence and later a museum dedicated to his memory.[2]


The Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park in Darjeeling is named after her death.


  1. ^ "Biography". Archived from the original on 29 October 2013.
  2. ^ a b Makarand R. Paranjape (3 September 2012). Making India: Colonialism, National Culture, and the Afterlife of Indian English Authority. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 164–167. ISBN 978-94-007-4661-9.
  3. ^ "Padmaja Naidu Dies at 75; ExWest Bengal Governor". New York Times. No. May 3. 1975. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  4. ^ Gandhi, Sonia (2004). Two Alone, Two Together. p. 18. ISBN 0-14-303245-3.
  5. ^ a b Nisid Hajari (2015). Midnight's Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India's Partition. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 32–34. ISBN 978-0-547-66921-2.
  6. ^ Chandralekha Mehta (25 August 2008). Freedom's Child: Growing Up During Satyagraha. Penguin Books Limited. ISBN 978-81-8475-966-2.
  7. ^ Jayakar, Pupul (1995). Indira Gandhi, a biography (Rev. ed.). New Delhi, India: Penguin. pp. 90–92. ISBN 978-0140114621.
  8. ^ Bose, Mihir (2004). Raj, secrets, revolution : a life of Subhas Chandra Bose. Norwich: Grice Chapman. pp. 137, 160. ISBN 9780954572648.
  9. ^ Alex Von Tunzelmann (7 August 2007). Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire. Henry Holt and Company. pp. 95, 109, 308. ISBN 978-0-8050-8073-5.

Further reading