Several facts about Savitrribai Phule on the occasion of her birth anniversary :
One of India’s many heroes, Savitribai Phule, has left an indelible mark on many people’s minds. A social reformer, educator, and poetess from Maharashtra, she fought for women’s rights. She is known as the “mother of Indian feminism”. We celebrate her 191st birthday on January 3.
Therefore, here are a few lesser-known facts about the country’s first female teacher.
A village called Naigaon in Satara District, Maharashtra, was the birthplace of Phule in 1831. She was the daughter of Lakshmi and Khandoji Nevase Patil, who married social activist Jyotirao Phule. Yashawantrao is said to have been adopted by the couple, although they had no children of their own.
During that time, she was illiterate and received education from her husband. She obtained higher education after primary school, and then enrolled in two teacher training programs. So, she holds the distinction of being the first female teacher in India, as well as a headmistress.
It is known as ‘Balika Din‘ in Maharashtra, and is celebrated in many girls’ schools. She was always outspoken about inhuman and unjust practices that persecuted women and young girls. She was not afraid to speak out against practices like sati and child marriage.
After completing her education, she taught girls at Maharwada in Pune alongside Sagunabai, who was also a revolutionary feminist. Savitribai and her husband ran three schools for girls in Pune at one time. However, they were met with resistance.
The couple faced ostracism from their community. According to legend, Savitribai often had to carry an extra sari to work because she was attacked by orthodox members of the society, who threw stones and dung at her.
As well as promoting female education, the reformer spoke out against India’s caste system, which exists even today. As an advocate for inter-caste marriages, she founded the Satyashodhak Samaj with her husband, which organised marriages without priests and dowry.
In addition to advocating for widows, she fought to stop the practice of shaving their heads. In Pune, she died during the bubonic plague at the age of 66. However, her legacy continues to inspire us.