Centuries ago, the country was in a state of deep ignorance, and education was certainly not anyone’s priority especially that too for girls was unimaginable. One Young woman Savitribai Phule changed the entire picture. She was the first female teacher of modern India, advocated the right to dignity for widows, and dedicated her life for girls education.
Savitribai Phule was born on January 3, 1831 into a family of farmers in the Naigaon district of Maharashtra. At the age of nine, Savitribai was married to a 12-year-old Jyotirao Phule. Seeing her keen interest in learning Jyotirao taught her to read and write and later Savitribai nurtured her skills at Ms. Farar’s Institution in Ahmednagar and in Ms. Mitchell’s school in Pune.
In the era where education for women were almost nonexistent, she, along with her husband, started the first women’s school at Bhide Wada in Pune. It was the year 1848 and the women’s school had only eight girls belonging to different castes. This proves to be a major blow to break the caste orthodoxy.
The Journey was not easy, as staunch casteist people found it attack the religious norms and she was routinely harassed by orthodox men on her way to school. They used to throw cow dung, stone, and mud on her. She along with her husband was thrown out of her house. But this did not stop her way, she went ahead opened some more schools.
Her style of teaching attract more students to school, she narrates short stories, poems and took education to an another level where it was more than alphabetical knowledge or mere syllabus. She even started giving stipends to the students for reducing school dropout and conducted parents teacher meeting on daily basis.
She focussed on the overall development of girls, inspired to take up painting, writing, and other activities. An essay written by a young girl, Mukta, at that time became the face of Dalit literature. Savitribai Phule’s first collection of poems-KAVYA PHULE-was published in 1854, stressing the necessity of English and Education.
On the occasion of teachers day, we recall the untiring contributions made by Savitribai Phule for the upliftment of masses through education. Her fight was for social emancipation, and enlightenment of human consciousness. She will be remembered always as a pioneer of girls education.