At the age of 21, she joined the Indian National Congress in Hyderabad. She was jailed for taking part in the "Quit India" movement in 1942. After Independence, she became the Governor of West Bengal. She was also associated with the Red Cross and was the chair of the Indian Red Cross from 1971 to 1972.
Naidu shared an intimate relationship with Jawaharlal Nehru, then a freedom fighter and later the first prime minister of independent India, in the late 1930s. They lived together for many years.
The Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park in Darjeeling is named after her.
- Bhargava, Gopal (2005). Land and People of Indian States and Union Territories. p. 521. Retrieved 2013-05-06.
- Gandhi, Sonia (2004). Two Alone, Two Together. p. 18. ISBN 0-14-303245-3.
- "Jawaharlal Nehru". Encyclopedia Britannica.
- Jayakar, Pupul (1995). Indira Gandhi, a biography (Rev. ed. ed.). New Delhi, India: Penguin. pp. 90–92. ISBN 978-0140114621.
- Bose, Mihir (2004). Raj, secrets, revolution : a life of Subhas Chandra Bose. Norwich: Grice Chapman. pp. 137, 160. ISBN 9780954572648.
- Benichou, Lucien D. (2000), From Autocracy to Integration: Political Developments in Hyderabad State, 1938-1948, Orient Blackswan, pp. 65–68, ISBN 978-81-250-1847-6