Without a second opinion, everyone around this globe would accept the fact that Teachers are the best part of our lives. It could be our school teachers or our parents; without teachers, we would be this person that we are today. And if you are an Indian woman, currently pursuing higher studies or any other person, Savitribai Phule is the person you owe your privilege to. The first female teacher of India, Savitribai Phule, is not just only a teacher but she is a symbol of hope and determination. Let us hear her story out.
Early Life of Savitribai Phule
Born on 3rd January 1831, Savitribai was brought in the Naigaon, Bombay. She belonged to a family of the farmer. Back in 19th century, women did not have the luxury of getting primary educations, let alone higher studies. The life of Savitribai Phule was no exception. Her childhood ended as soon as she was married to Jyotirao Phule just at the age of nine years.
The Unexpected Turn – Being a Teacher
Coming from an orthodox family, Mrs Savitribai Phule never imagined being a working woman. But her husband, Jyotirao Phule changed her life. In 1848, Mr Phule opened a girls’ school aiming social reforms for women. He needed some female teachers to join his bandwagon; thus he trained his wife Savitribai, and she became the first female teacher in India. Although she faced many obstacles and she was even threatened by her family so many times, she never stopped.
Savitribai Phule – The Mother of Modern Girls’ Education
Despite facing so many oppositions from her known society and relatives, Savitribai decided to be on her husband’s side. She continued teaching at the girls’ school and reformed the women education back then in the 19th century. She started her school with only eight students. On the way to school, Savitribai was abused by many people who used to throw cow-dung, mud, stones at her. But her determination never let her stop. With her husband’s support by the side, Mrs Savitribai Phule slowly established herself as a successful teacher. In 1848, she founded other schools for girls’ education. By 1851, she was running three schools with 150 students. Even she offered students with a stipend to prevent them from quitting school.
And her continuous contribution in reforming the girls’ education system got her Government reorganisation. In 1852, Jyotirao and Savitribai were felicitated by the British Government for their commendable efforts in the field of education.
Other Social Reform Activities of Mrs Phule
Apart from being an educational reformist, she was a social reformist as well. Jyotirao and Savitribai adopted the child of a pregnant lady who decided to commit suicide. Also, they did a lot for widows and untouchables in the society. They joined hands with many revolutionary works, and they are the reason why our society is this much filtered today.
Mrs Savitribai Phule died at the 66 in 1897. The first female teacher of India and the mother of girls’ education, Savitribai Phule has gone through a lot and because of her, we are enjoying the liberty of having a well-structured education. Her name will always be scripted in gold in the pages of women empowerment history. May her soul rest in peace!
Written By: Subharthi Bhattacharya