Savitribai Phule was an Indian social reformer and poet. She was born on January 3, 1831 in Naigaon Maharashtra. At a tender age of 9 years, she got married to a social reformer Jyotirao Phule, who was himself just 12 years old at that time.
Jyotirao completely changed Savitribai’s life. He taught her to read and write. He helped her to a great extent in achieving higher education and living a dignified life. Savitribai is known for her contribution in the field of women rights. She spent a huge part of her life working towards education for women. She also advocated big changes in the caste based Indian society. Savitribai became the first woman teacher in the country. She set up the first school from different castes in Bhidewada and Pune. She built 18 such schools in her entire life. Although she received a lot of opposition and hatred from upper castes, but nothing could stop her. People even threw cow dung and mud at her when she used to walk towards the school but even such cruelty could not come in the way of her determination. She happily started carrying two sarees with her. She lured the children by paying them stipends for attending school. Further, she arranged campaigns to prevent female foeticide, sati pratha and child marriage and set up home, Balhatya Pratibandhak Griha in order to prevent the killing of widows. The Phule couple also indulged themselves in the noble cause of organising marriages without priest, dowry and at a minimum cost. After the death of Jyotirao Phule, Savitribai still carried on with it until her death. She died of an infection while taking care of patients during the third global pandemic of the bubonic plague in 1897. In 2014, as a tribute the Maharashtra government renamed the Pune University in her name.
By: Anuja Arora