Savitribai Phule, country’s first woman teacher was born today, on January 3, 1881. The social reformer was also a poet and is credited with laying the foundation stone of education opportunities for women in India. 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”.
Savitribai Phule who was the eldest daughter of Lakshmi and Khandoji Neveshe Patil was married off at the age of 9 to 13-year-old Jyotirao Phule. It was her husband who educated and trained at home to become a teacher. Over the years, she along with Jyotirao opened 18 schools for girls thus becoming India’s first woman teacher. The University of Pune was renamed Savitribai Phule University in 2014 in her honour. In 1863, to ensure the safety of widows, they together started a ‘home for the prevention of infanticide’ in their own house. Twitterati is paying tributes to the social reformer on her birth anniversary.
Here are some of the tweets:
Savitribai also started a home for the prevention of infanticide at home which catered to the needs of pregnant rape victims. It was called ‘Balhatya Pratibandhak Griha’ (Infanticide prohibition house)
As child marriage was prevalent in the society, girls would be widowed at a young age who heads would be shaved according to societal rules. She stood against it and urged barbers to go on strike and stop the practice.
Savitribai and Jyotirao Phule led a life of example and is remembered for their works that transformed society for the better. Fighting against set illogical norms of the society, they dug a well in her house from where people considered untouchables could draw water. Both husband and wife dedicated their lives to help the downtrodden and serve those in need. She died while she was serving people affected by the worldwide Third Pandemic of the bubonic plague.