SAVITRIBAI PHULE: A TRAILBLAZING FIGURE IN THE FIELD OF WOMEN’S EDUCATION
January 3 is the birth anniversary of Savitribai Phule– the first woman teacher of the first women’s school in India and a pioneer in modern Marathi poetry.
A trailblazing figure in the field of women’s education in India , Phule is widely regarded as one of India’s first generation modern feminists for her significant contributions in ensuring equal education opportunities under the British raj.
She became the first female teacher in India in 1848 and opened a school for girls along with her husband, social reformer Jyotirao Phule. The two also worked against discrimination based on caste-based identity, something vehemently opposed by the orthodox sections of society in Pune.
She went on to establish a shelter for widows in 1854 which she further built on in 1864 to also accommodate destitute women and child brides cast aside by their families. Phule also played a pivotal role in directing the work of the Satyashodhak Samaj, formed by her husband with the objective to achieve equal rights for the marginalised lower castes. She took over the reins of the organisation after Jyotirao’s death in 1890.
Phule is remembered for her work against caste and gender injustice and has toiled relentlessly against the then orthodox practices of the society continues to be remembered as one of the most inspirational figures in the women’s rights movement in India.