Savitribai Phule- was a social reformer of India who was born in a wealthy farmer`s family. She was born on 3rd of January, 1831 at a small village Naigaum of Satara district, Maharashtra. Savitribai Phule was the first female teacher of India`s first women school. She 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, she preferred to be with her husband. After that her husband sent her to a training school.
She 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. She 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. She was even abused by the orthodox society. She lost all courage after facing such ill treatments and even determined to give up but she continued only because her husband`s support. In spite of the entire ordeals, she continued with her teaching. Slowly and gradually, she established herself. Eventually, Savitribai Phule was honoured by the British government 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.
Other Social Reforms of Savitribai Phule However, it was not only in the educational activities, but she 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. She suffered with him but she had her own distinctive personality. After his death, she took over the charge of Satya Shodhak Samaj.Savitribai`s poems and other writings are still an inspiration to others. Her two books of poems Kavya Phule in1934 and Bavan Kashi Subodh Ratnakar in1982 were published.
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. She 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 she went through, the women of India would not have attained even the status they have today in society.
Death of Savitribai Phule Savitribai worked enormously for social reform. During the time of epidemic, she herself fed around two thousand children. However, she also suffered from the disease and passed away on 10th of March, 1897.