Savitribai Phule – A woman educationist and a social reformer

Who was Savitribai Phule ?

Savitribai Phule was a woman educationist and a social reformer, she alongside her husband contributed significantly during the British rule for the improvement of women’s rights in the country. She was a social reformer of India who was born in a wealthy farmer’s family.

Savitribai Phule was the first female teacher of India’s first women school.

Savitribai Phule was also a poet and was considered as a pioneer of Marathi poetry.

Her husband encouraged her to get properly educated and engage herself in the liberation of the female folk of Naigaum.

In the year 1852, a school for untouchable girls was opened by Savitribai Phule.

Early Life of Savitribai Phule.

  • Savitribai Phule was one of the most important personalities of social reform of the country.
  • Jyotiba Phule, her social reformer husband, needed some female teachers to help him in achieving his goal.
  • Thus, he taught and trained his wife as a teacher.
  • Slowly the news of his teaching Savitri reached his father who threatened to drive him out of his house, fearing attack from orthodox elements.
  • When the choice before Savitribai was either going away with her husband or staying back with her in – laws, Savitribai Phule preferred to be with her husband.
  • After that her husband sent her to a training school.
  • Savitribai Phule passed out with flying colors.
  • After completing her studies, Savitribai Phule opened a school in Pune for girls in the year 1848.
  • Initially, nine girls enrolled themselves as students and they belonged to different castes.
  • Savitribai Phule used to leave for the school early in the morning. Orthodox Society was not prepared for this ‘misadventure’, as women’s education was frowned upon.

Education of Women

Savitribai Phule continued with teaching the girls despite all oppositions from the society. She was even abused by the orthodox society.

In 1852 Jyotiba and Savitribai were felicitated by the government for their commendable efforts in the field of education.

However, it was not only in the educational activities, but Savitribai Phule always supported her husband in every social struggle that he launched.

Once Jyotiba stopped a pregnant lady from committing suicide and promised her to give the child his name, after it was born.

Savitribai and Jyotiba later on adopted the child.

This particular incident brought new horizons and the couple took serious steps for the troubles of widows in the society.

The next step was equally revolutionary.

During those days marriages were arranged between young girls and old men. Men used to die of old age or some sickness and the girls they had married were left widows.

Savitribai Phule and Jyotiba were moved by the condition of the widows as well as by the condition of untouchables in the society.

After his death, Savitribai Phule took over the charge of Satya Shodhak Samaj.

Savitribai Phule was the first woman teacher, the first woman educationist, the first poet and the foremost emancipator of women.

If Savitribai were not to undergo the ordeals Savitribai Phule went through, the women of India would not have attained even the status they have today in society.

Women of the Indian society are not aware of the greatness of Savitribai Phule, who dared to pursue the noble profession of teaching in the ‘Dark Age’.

The time when women were mere objects-to-be-used, education for women was considered no less than a punishable crime; she dared to speak against the unpardonable boundaries imposed on women in Indian society, she ignited millions lives, for which today’s women and everyone should be grateful to her.

Isn’t it enough for us to celebrate ‘Teacher’s Day’ on Savitribai Phule’s birthday? Celebrating ‘Teacher’s Day’ on Savitribai Phule’s birthday will be a good attempt on Government’s part for women’s empowerment or at-least to show it’s concern for women’s social status.

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