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Updated January 2nd, 2024 at 23:35 IST

Savitribai Phule Birth Anniversary: A tribute to a fearless woman, know more about her life

Born in Maharashtra in 1831, Savitribai, along with her husband Jyotirao Phule, played a crucial role in shaping the education system for girls

Rishi Shukla
Savitribai Phule's 193rd Birth Anniversary
Savitribai Phule's 193rd Birth Anniversary | Image:PTI
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January 3 marks the birth anniversary of Savitribai Phule, a prominent social reformer and feminist icon in Indian history. Born in Maharashtra in 1831, Savitribai, along with her husband Jyotirao Phule, played a crucial role in shaping the education system for girls and challenging social norms.

Early Life and Education

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Savitribai Phule's journey began when she got married to Jyotiba (social activist and businessman) at the age of nine. Illiterate at the time, her husband became her mentor, teaching her to read and write at their home. Despite strict social norms restricting women's education, Savitribai's determination led her to enroll in teacher's training programs in Ahmedabad and Pune after completing her own education.

Pioneering Achievements

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Bhide Wada in Pune witnessed a significant milestone in 1848 when Savitribai and Jyotirao Phule founded one of India's earliest girls' schools. Breaking the barriers of patriarchy, Savitribai became India's first female teacher and the first Indian headmistress. By 1851, she had established three schools for girls in Pune, demonstrating her commitment to education for all.

World renowned Pune University is named after Savitribai Phule, a tribute to this magnificent lady who stood for education rights of women in India. 

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Social Reforms and Activism

Savitribai Phule's impact extended beyond education. She challenged society by opening the home for the Prevention of Infanticide, providing shelter for widows and allowing them to leave their children for adoption if desired. A staunch opponent of child marriage and the Sati tradition, Savitribai advocated for widow remarriage, using her voice to raise awareness on these critical issues.

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Inclusive Education

In Bhida Wada school, Savitribai made history by hiring Fatima Begum Sheikh, the sister of Jyotiba's friend Usman Sheikh, as the first Muslim woman teacher in the country. Despite facing resistance from conservative communities, Savitribai continued to teach girls and children from different castes, promoting inclusivity in education.

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Legacy and Demise

Savitribai Phule's relentless efforts came to an end on March 10, 1897, when she succumbed to a disease while trying to save a 10-year-old boy. Her legacy lives on as a trailblazer in women's education and social reform, leaving an indelible mark on India's history.

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Published January 2nd, 2024 at 23:35 IST

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