Tag Archives: First woman teacher

Savitribai Phule: The Mother Of Modern Education


World humanity is going to celebrate 184th Birth Anniversary Celebrations of Savitribai Phule-The liberator of women, Pioneer of Human Rights and the Greatest Humanitarian Revolutionary of the world. We were all shocked when Taliban shot a young girl Malala Yousafzai for defending the right of young girls to education. But if in today’s world girls can walk freely to school without being attacked it is because other young Malalas have braved criticism and struggled for education in their times.Most prominent among them was Savitribai Phule who not only fought for right education for girls but also for the right to dignity for widows,unwed mothers and women with unwanted pregnancies. She was the first female teacher of the first women’s school in India. The world history has witnessed the agricultural revolution,industrial revolution, info revolution, bio revolution which has changed the “material world” of Human society. Human society has also largely been changed by “Western Enlightenment” viz. Scientific and Secular revolutions, French and Russian revolutions. The ‘Eastern world’ on the other hand also contributed to human history by Chinese revolution. All the above developments in the history of human civilisation has changed the “mental and material world” of humankind. But these revolutions could not abolish the human sufferings and end problems of human kind. If by ‘Revolution’ we mean Deconstruction of undesirable principles values and orders and establishment of desirable principles, values and orders, neither of the Enlightenments and revolutions could establish the principles of Equality-Liberty-Fraternity-Justice in reality. Thus, there is a greater revolution beyond this led by Savitribai Phule and her husband Jyotiba Phule, which contributed for the establishments of golden principles of humanity viz. Equality, Liberty, Fraternity and Justice.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 million lives, for which today’s women and everyone should be grateful to her. I have always wondered why the Teachers’ Day in India is not celebrated on the birthday of Savitribai Phule, the lady who started the first school for the downtrodden and was the first woman teacher of India.

Read also – Poems by Savitribai Phule

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EARLY LIFE STRUGGLES OF SAVITRIBAI PHULE

Savitribai was born on 3rd January,1831,in Naigaon of Satara district in Maharashtra. It was a common practice those days to marry a girl at an early age. In spite of her desire to study, she got married to Jyotirao Phule at the age of nine.Jyotirao being a visionary and with a firm belief that every woman must be educated, started teaching his wife at home. His firmness on educating women could be seen in this interview to Dyananodaya on 15th September 1853.He says-“It did occur to me that the improvement that comes about in a child due to the mother is very important and good. So those who are concerned with the happiness and welfare of this country should definitely pay attention to the condition of women and make every effort to impart knowledge to them if they want the country to progress. With this thought, I started the school for girls first. But my caste brethren did not like that I was educating girls and my own father threw us out of the house. Nobody was ready to give space for the school nor did we have money to build it. People were not willing to send their children to school but Lahuji Ragh Raut Mang and Ranba Mahar convinced their caste brethren about the benefits of getting educated”.

Read also – Mahatma Jotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule’s contribution towards women empowerment

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28th January in Dalit History – First ever infanticide prohibition home of India was started by Savitribai Phule


28 January 1853: First ever infanticide prohibition home of India was started by Savitribai Phule[1].

Due to the Brahminical Social Order, those were the days when women irrespective of their caste and class were very much oppressed in all fields of life. There were many patriarchal and brahmnical traditions, values and rituals which were against women. Savitri Bai Phule, in Pune, worked hard in this regard too (apart from the education field). To resolve the dowery problem, she started organizing simple group marriages. When a women at any age happened to be widow (even girl child widow), she was forced to have her hair cut so that she could easily be identified as a widow.  In this regard, she met with the people of barber community and requested them not to cut hair of widows. After a long pursuance, they got convinced. They boycotted the hair cut ceremonies of widows. The upper caste communities got infuriated with Savitribai due to the step taken by the barbers.

There were a large number of widows in the Pune City and the nearby villages during days. Adolescents and young girls were happened to more among in the widows. These widows were boycotted publicly and with meger financial support they were clandestine subjects to sexual exploitation. They happened to be pregnant due to lack of contraceptives or other measures. So they had to be victimized for the reason for which they had not been responsible. Women had to lose their life due to unhealthy ways of abortion. Many newborns were been killed after delivery by widows to avoid social ostracism. Many a times they had to leave their home.

On 28 January 1853 Savitribai started a shelter for such women – infanticide prohibition home – the first of its kind in India. In this shelter widows could give birth to their children and leave them there. Sixty six women gave birth to their children in that shelter upto 1873.This was a great historical work that Savitribai did at that time – in the dark ages. Later on this shelter started working as a hospital. Savitribai did not remain as one who served to widows but she went further in this regard. She adopted a child from a Brahmin widow (Kashibai) and thereby gave a message to the progressive people of the society. This adopted child was named Yashwant Rao who later became a doctor.

Savitribai Phule

Savitribai Phule

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Filed under Caste Discrimination, Dalit-Bahujans, Dr B R Ambedkar, Today in Dalit History, Today in History