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Savitribai Phule Jayanti: India’s First Female Teacher

By Satabdi MazumdarNovember 26, 2022
Last updated date: 02nd Feb 2023
Total views: 22.2k
Views today: 10

January 3 marks the birth anniversary of one of India’s renowned pioneers of women’s education, “Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule”, the first female teacher, a feminist, and a social reformer of India.

She was born on January 3, 1831, in a village named Naigaon in the Satara district of Maharashtra. Every year, Savitribai Phule Jayanti is observed on this day to recognize the achievements & significant contributions towards improving women’s rights, and education as well as abolishing the discrimination faced by people based on their castes and genders. 

On her 191st birth anniversary, learn more about her achievements and some of the interesting facts about Savitribai Phule. Take a look:



Savitribai Phule Jayanti

Also Read: Teachers’ Day 2022: Some Interesting Facts

Who is Savitribai Phule? 

Savitribai Phule, was an Indian reformer, poet, and educationist from the state of Maharashtra in pre-independent India. She was the first female teacher who opened the first women’s school in India and constantly fought against the caste system and worked towards the empowerment of women through education. Phule was born on 3rd January 1831 in the village of Naigaon, the eldest daughter of Lakshmi and Khandoji Nevase Patil. 

In 1854, she published Kavya Phule and Bavan Kashi Subodh Ratnakar in 1892. She also wrote a poem titled, 'Go, Get Education' where she narrated the importance of women education to grow and be logical in life.

Savitribai Phule Jayanti is a significant day for all the women who are fighting for their education and being educated today.

History & Early Life

She married Jyotirao Govindrao Phule, a social activist, anti-caste social reformer and writer, while she was illiterate. Her husband educated her and she completed two teacher’s training programs at a time when women were rarely allowed to venture outside. They both believed education is a great way to empower women and enable them to stand out for their rights.

Savitribai Phule Jayanti is celebrated in remembrance of her remarkable contributions to society. She is known as the first female teacher in India and her birthday is celebrated as “Balika Din” in Maharashtra. 

Remarkable Works of Savitribai Phule 

After completing her teaching courses, Savitribai Phule taught girls at the Maharwada in Pune. Not only this but at a time when education was available only in a few missionary schools, both Jyotiba and Savitri opened schools at the ages of 21 & 17 respectively for the women in 1848 at Bhide Wada, the home of Tatya Saheb Bhide. It was the first-ever initiative by Indians toward women's education.

This school followed the western syllabus of Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. They also started other girls’ schools in Pune with a combined strength of 150 students. In 1863, they started a “home to prevent infanticide” to safeguard pregnant and exploited widows. Satyashodhak Samaj (Society for Truth Seeking) was also among their social initiatives towards encouraging marriages without a dowry. They also protested against child marriages and supported widow remarriages. 

There is no doubt that the immense works of Savitribai and Jyotirao went through extreme resistance to the orthodox views of the conservative society. They even witnessed tremendous opposition to their modern & reforming thoughts, as a certain section of society abused Phule's works and called them “evil”. But the couple courageously fought against all the odds with utmost determination. 

In 1849, Savitribai Phule opened a school with Fatima Begum Sheikh, who is considered to be the first female Muslim teacher in India. Also in 1850, the couple established two educational trusts which were entitled: the Native Female School, and the Society to promote the Education of Mahars, Mangs, Etceteras. They also established “Balhatya Pratibandhak Griha (Child killing prohibition home)”.

Savitribai Phule: A Modern Feminist

Because of her progressive thoughts, and contributions towards women's education and society, Savitribai Phule became a feminist and is also known as the mother of Indian feminism. Her birth anniversary is celebrated as Savitribai Phule Jayanti to recognize her works. She established “Mahila Seva Mandal” to raise awareness of women’s rights and eliminate caste discrimination. 

After the demise of her husband, Jyotirao in 1890, she carried forward the works of the organization “Satya Shodhak Samaj” and hosted the annual session held at Saswad in 1893.

Death of Savitribai Phule

When the third pandemic of the plague appeared in the area around Nallasopara in Maharashtra in 1897, Savitribai established a hospital to take care of the patients affected by the pandemic. This clinic was established in Pune, in an area free of infection. In the process of treating the son of Pandurang Babaji Gaekwad affected by the plague, she herself contracted the disease and died on March 10, 1897.  On March 10, 1998, a stamp was published by India Post in honour of Phule.

Interesting Facts about Savirtibai Phule

On January 3 every year, Savitribai Phule Jayanti is observed to recognize the great works of Phule. Take a look at a few facts about the great woman. 

  • Savitribai Phule is regarded as India’s one of the first modern feminists, and the first female teacher who founded one of the first Indian schools for girls in Pune, Maharashtra along with her husband in 1848.

  • She got married an early age and fought against social evils like child marriage, Sati Pratha, Caste discrimination etc.

  • She supported women's education along with her husband,  Jyotirao Phule.

  • Apart from being a social reformer, an educationist and a philanthropist, she was also a prolific Marathi writer.

  • She opened “Balhatya Pratibandhak Griha” to stop child killings as well as founded the Satyashodhak samaj to encourage marriages without a priest and dowry.

  • The most famous Savitribai Phule Slogan was “We shall overcome and success will be ours in the future. The future belongs to us.

Conclusion

Savitribai Phule Jayanti is observed not only to recognize her endeavours on improving women’s rights in India but also to acknowledge her works towards abolishing the discrimination suffered by people based on caste and gender. She was one of the first advocates of women’s rights in the country and dedicated her entire life to the spread of knowledge & education.

FAQs on Savitribai Phule Jayanti: India’s First Female Teacher

1. What is the role of Savitribai Phule in women's education?

At the ages of 21 and 17, Savitri opened schools for women in 1848 along with her husband. 

2. Who was Savitribai Phule?

Savitribai Phule is considered the first female teacher in India and the first modern feminist in the country as well. She was the wife of Jyotiba Phule.

3. How much was Savitribai Phule educated?

Savitribai Phule was uneducated till she got married to Jyotiba Phule. She was then educated by her husband in a Teachers training programme.