A leading social reformer of her time, Savitribai Phule is hailed for her contribution in the field of education. Savitribai was a crusader for women empowerment as she broke all stereotypes and spent her life promoting the noble cause of women’s education. She not only became the first female teacher in the country but went on to set up 17 more schools. She was actively involved with the lives of the students and regularly conducted meetings with parents to emphasize the importance of education for girls.
During the British rule, she fought for the rights of women in the country along with her husband, Jyotirao Phule. She wrote poems against discrimination, spoke about the need for education while Jyotirao spoke against caste atrocities. She also actively voiced opinions against untouchability, Sati, child marriage and other social evils prevalent in the society. Savitribai is described as “one of the first-generation modern Indian feminists”.
On her birth anniversary today, here are some lesser-known facts about the activist, thinker and social reformer:
A social reformer and poet, Savitribai Phule was born on January 3, 1831, in a family of farmers in Naigaon, Maharashtra.
Savitribai is regarded as a key figure in Maharashtra’s social reform movements.
Along with her husband, Jyotirao Phule, Savitribai played a major role in the struggle for women’s rights in India during the British Raj.
Savitribai started a school in 1848 with her husband. There were just nine students on the rolls and she used to be the teacher.
Savitribai Phule stood up for the rights of women and fought against injustice against them at a time when women were subjected to oppression.
The first modern Indian feminists, she also stood up against widow shaving their heads.
In 1998, a stamp was released by India Post in honour of Savitribai
Savitribai Phule also opened a care center for pregnant rape victims and aided deliver their baby. The care center was called “Balhatya Pratibandhak Griha.
Savitribai Phule and her adopted son, Yashwant, opened a clinic to treat those affected by the worldwide Third Pandemic of the bubonic plague when it appeared in the area around Pune in 1897.
While caring for the patients, Savitribai contracted the disease herself. She died from it on March 10, 1897, while serving a plague patient