Background Savitribai Phule
- The Prime Minister paid homage to Savitribai Phule on her birth anniversary.
About Savitribai Phule
- Savitribai Phule was a pioneer who challenged oppressive social norms in her quest for women’s education, equality and justice and is formally recognised as India’s first woman teacher.
- A Dalit woman from the Mali community, Savitribai was born on January 3, 1831, in Maharashtra’s Naigaon village.
- At a time when it was considered unacceptable for women to even attain education, she along with her husband Jyotirao Phule went on to open a school for girls in Bhidewada, Pune, in 1848.
- Further, the Phules opened more such schools for girls, Shudras and Ati-Shudras (the backward castes and Dalits, respectively) in Pune, leading to discontent among Indian nationalists like Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
- Also, they both started the Balhatya Pratibandhak Griha (‘Home for the Prevention of Infanticide’) for pregnant widows facing discrimination.
- She also advocated inter-caste marriages, widow remarriage, and eradication of child marriage, sati and dowry systems, among other social issues.
- Later, In 1873, the Phules set up the Satyashodhak Samaj (‘Truth-seekers’ society’), a platform open to all, irrespective of their caste, religion or class hierarchies, with the sole aim of bringing social equity.
- She defied all odds, as she carried the titve (earthen pot), at her husband’s funeral procession in 1890.
- Savitribai also became involved in relief work during the 1896 famine in Maharashtra and the 1897 Bubonic plague, in which she herself contracted the disease and breathed her last in