Savitribai Phule:  First woman teacher of India

Savitribai Phule is regarded as the first female teacher of India. A philanthropist and educationist Savitribai Phule was born on January 3 in 1831 at Naigaon village in Satara district of Maharashtra. Along with her husband, Jyotirao Phule, she played an important role in improving women's rights in India. Jyotirao Phule and Savitribai Phule were first among the people who declared war against Casteism and Brahminic-Casteist culture. They led a mass movement of uniting oppressed class against the Brahminic values and thinking.
Savitribai Phule worked as an equal partner in the mission of uplifting the poor and oppressed people. Savitribai and her husband founded the first Indian girls' school in Pune in Maharashtra in 1848. She worked to abolish the discrimination and unfair treatment of people based on caste and gender. She is regarded as an important figure of the social reform movement in Maharashtra.
The Maharashtrian pioneer couple took the initiative to give education to downtrodden, thinking that education is necessary for the restoration of social and cultural values. Savitribai Phule started Mahila Seva Mandal in 1852, which worked for raising women’s consciousness about their human rights, the dignity of life and other social issues.
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.
Without a second opinion, everyone around this globe would accept the fact that Teachers are the best part of our lives. Without teachers, we would be this person that we are today.  The first female teacher of India, Savitribai Phule is not just only a teacher but she is a symbol of hope and determination.
Savitribai Phule dared to speak against the unpardonable boundaries imposed on women in our n society, she ignited millions of lives, for which today’s women and everyone should be grateful to her. Celebrating  ‘Teachers’ Day’ on Savitribai Phule’s birthday will be a good attempt on Government’s part for women’s empowerment or at-least to show it’s a concern for women’s social status.

- Prabhakar Purandare

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