Savitribai Phule turns 186 years old!
There was a time in India when the difficulties of women and the troubles and grievances they faced were ignored or even hardly identified. But Savitribai Phule and her husband fought back against the unfairness and prejudice of women. She is considered as "one of the first-generation modern Indian feminists." And we agree! She made sure that all women could have great opportunities too.
Born on 3rd January 1831, in Naigaon, Maharashtra, Savitribai Jyotirao Phule, was a social reformer and poet. She is known for her vital part in the struggle for women's rights in India during the time when the British were ruling us. She’s clearly a very brave woman who went against the stereotypes of women, even though some of it still prevails today, it has improved so much more since those days.
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Savitribai was born into a family of farmers. But her childhood was short lived when she was married off to 12-year-old Jyotirao Phule at only nine years old. At that time, we all know that the act of child marriage was common in the nineteenth century and since the death rate was high at the time, numerous young girls became widows before hitting puberty. Their lives hadn't even begun and they were facing difficulties already.
In those days widows were supposed to shave their heads, wear a plain red sari and live a life of simplicity. Savitribai was the one who took the stand to put an end to this preposterous practice and started a protest against the barbers to coax them into quit shaving the heads of the widows. Imagine if the practice still prevailed? All our beautiful locks!
She saw the predicament of ladies who were falling prey to exploitation and getting pregnant. It ended either in self-killing or killing the infant because of fear of expulsion by the society. To tend to such ladies she started a center for pregnant assault victims and gave help in giving birth to their babies. It was called "Balhatya Pratibandhak Griha" (Infanticide prohibition house).
Apart from that she also attempted to nullify segregation and unjust treatment of people in terms of gender and caste. There was also a problem in the treatment of untouchables. So she built a well at her home in 1868 to provide drinking water to the people who were denied from using it by the upper caste.
In tribute Savitribai Phule, and her work and dedication, she was the subject for Google Doodle on Tuesday, 3rd January 2017. It was in the event of her 186th birthday. She was a very powerful and influential figure in regards to equal education and opportunities in India during the British colonization.
With the help of her husband, Jyotirao Phule they established the first women's school in Bhide Wada, Pune in 1848. And she was the first female teacher of that school and in India. The both of them also worked together to fight discrimination against caste identity, which was quite a harrowing practice by the orthodox classes of society in Pune and everywhere else around India during that time.
She had gone through a great deal of torment to achieve her beliefs like stones and cow dung being thrown her way. Every day she would endure abuse while she was on her way to the school she was teaching, wrote author Cynthia Stephen in the book 'A Forgotten Liberator: The Life and Struggle of Savitribai Phule'.
She went ahead to build shelter for widows in 1854 which she later improved in 1864 to cater needs of underprivileged and child brides who were thrown away by their families. She also played a crucial part in directing Satyashodhak Samaj, which was formed by her husband. Savitribai opened a center in 1897 for patients of the bubonic plague that spread throughout Maharashtra. She is said to have cared for the patients by herself, through which she had contracted the same and died.
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