Savitribai Phule

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    In News

    • January 3, 2023, marks the 192nd birth anniversary of Savitribai Phule.

    About Savitribai Phule

    • She was a woman from the Mali community and went on to become an educator, a challenger to caste hierarchies and barriers, and a writer.
    • Born in Naigaon village of Maharashtra’s Satara district on January 3, 1831, to Khandoji Nevse and Lakshmi.
    • Married off at early age, her husband Jyotirao Phule is said to have educated her at home.

    Major Contributions

    • Education: At a time when it was considered unacceptable for women to even attain education, the couple went on to open a school for girls in Bhidewada, Pune, in 1848. 
      • This became the country’s first girls’ school.
      • The couple 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. 
    • Social reformer:  Along with Jyotirao, Savitribai started the Balhatya Pratibandhak Griha (‘Home for the Prevention of Infanticide’) for pregnant widows facing discrimination.
    • Savitribai Phule also advocated inter-caste marriages, widow remarriage, and eradication of child marriage, sati, and dowry systems, among other social issues.
    • In 1873, the Phule’s 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. 
    • As an extension, they started ‘Satyashodhak Marriage’ – a rejection of Brahmanical rituals where the marrying couple takes a pledge to promote education and equality.
    • Savitribai became involved in relief work during the 1896 famine in Maharashtra and the 1897 Bubonic plague
    • Literary works: Savitribai Phule published her first collection of poems, called Kavya Phule (‘Poetry’s Blossoms’), at the age of 23 in 1854.
      • She published Bavan Kashi Subodh Ratnakar (‘The Ocean of Pure Gems’), in 1892.
      • Besides these works, Matushri Savitribai Phlenchi Bhashane va Gaani (S’avitribai Phule’s speeches and songs), and her letters to her husband have also been published.

    Source: IE