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Biography of Savitribai Phule
Savitribai Phule was a woman educationist and a social reformer, Savitribai Phule alongside her husband contributed significantly during the British rule for the improvement of women’s rights in the country.
Savitribai Phule was a social reformer of India who was born in a wealthy farmer’s family. Savitribai Phule was born on 3rd of January, 1831 at a small village Naigaum of Satara district in Maharashtra. Savitribai Phule was the first female teacher of India’s first women school. Savitribai Phule was married at a very tender age of 9 to Jyotiba Phule.
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 her.
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 colours. 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. Savitribai Phule was even abused by the orthodox society. Savitribai Phule lost all courage after facing such ill treatments and even determined to give up but her husband constantly supported and encouraged her to continue with the efforts.
In spite of the entire ordeals, Savitribai Phule continued with her teaching. Slowly and gradually, Savitribai Phule established herself. Eventually, Savitribai Phule was honoured by the c for her contribution and educational work. 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.
Thus, Savitribai Phule shared every activity in which her husband was engaged. Savitribai Phule suffered with him but Savitribai Phule had her own distinctive personality. After his death, Savitribai Phule took over the charge of Satya Shodhak Samaj.
Savitribai Phule worked enormously for social reform. During the time of epidemic, Savitribai Phule herself fed around two thousand children. However, Savitribai Phule also suffered from the disease and passed away on 10th of March, 1897.
Savitribai’s poems and other writings are still an inspiration to others. Ten Years before Pandita Ramabai was born, this lady who was born in the backward Mali Community, could express herself in the most radical and eloquent terms.
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.