- On this date India is celebrating the 192nd birth anniversary of Savithribai Phule, a pioneer who challenged oppressive social norms in her quest for women’s education, equality and justice.
About Savitribai Phule:
- Savitribai, a Mali Dalit woman, was born on January 3, 1831, in the Naigaon village of Maharashtra.
- She was married off at the tender age of ten, and it is reported that her husband, Jyotirao Phule, taught her at home.
- Later, Jyotirao allowed Savitribai to enrol in a Pune school for teachers training. The pair helped each other throughout their lives, trying to break down numerous societal barriers in the process.
- In 1848, the pair opened a school for females in Bhidewada, Pune, during a period when it was thought improper for women to even pursue education. This became the first girls’ school in the India.
- The Balhatya Pratibandhak Griha, also known as the “Home for the Prevention of Infanticide,” was established by Savitribai and Jyotirao for pregnant widows who were subjected to prejudice.
- This was motivated by a turn of events in the Andaman Islands, when a young Brahmin widow was given a life sentence for the murder of her unborn child.
- Among other social issues, Savitribai Phule supported inter-caste marriages, widow remarriage, the abolition of child marriage, sati, and dowry systems.
- The Phules also raised Yashwantrao, a widow’s child who was adopted, to be a doctor.
- The Phules founded the Satyashodhak Samaj (‘Truth-seekers’ association’) in 1873 with the sole purpose of promoting social equality.
- This forum was open to everyone, regardless of caste, religion, or class hierarchies.
- In addition, they began “Satyashodhak Marriage,” which rejects Brahmanical ceremonies and requires the couple getting married to promise to promote equality and education.
Source The Hindu
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