Sarala Devi was born in Calcutta in 1872 to Bengal's cream of aristocratic intellectual family. Her father Janakinath Ghosal was one of the earliest secretary of Bengal Congress. Her mother Swarnakumari Devi was the first successful woman novelist of Bengali literature. Swarnakumari Devi was the daughter of 'Maharshi' Debendranath Tagore, leading Brahmo leader and elder sister of legendary poet Rabindranath Tagore. She was a graduate of Calcutta University. She was also one of the few women graduates of her time, and probably the first woman political leader from Bengal in the Indian independence movement. She was married to Chaudhary Ram Bhaj Datt, a journalist, and member of Arya Samaj and Congress.