Who Is Savitribai Phule? 19th Century Pioneer Still Inspires Many

Who Is Savitribai Phule? 19th Century Pioneer Still Inspires Many

Savitribai Phule was born in Maharashtra's Naigaon.

New Delhi:

Hailed as the country's first woman teacher, Savitribai Phule was also a social worker and a poet. Born on January 3, 1831, 2017 marks her 186th birth year. Savitribai Phule is credited with laying the foundation of education opportunities for women in India and played a major role in the struggle for women's rights in the country during the British Raj. Many of her poems were against discrimination and spoke about the need to get educated. She campaigned against untouchability, Sati tradition, child marriage and other social evils most of her life.

Who was Savitribai Phule?

Savitribai Phule was born in Maharashtra's Naigaon. She was the eldest daughter of Lakshmi and Khandoji Neveshe Patil. At the age of 9, in 1840, she was married to 13-year-old Jyotirao Phule.

Jyotirao Phule educated her at home and trained her to become a teacher. Along with her husband, also a social reformer, she opened 18 schools for girls, going on to become India's first woman teacher and headmistress. Both her first and 18th school came up in Maharashtra's Pune. In her honour, the University of Pune was renamed Savitribai Phule University in 2014.

Savitribai Phule fought against the caste system and worked towards the upliftment of the marginalised. In 1863, they started a 'home for the prevention of infanticide' in their own house, to ensure the safety of widows. Both she and her husband dedicated their lives to building a movement for equality between men and women and a fight against the caste system and remain shining examples for social reformers fighting for gender equality.