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
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”.