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Savitribai Phule

Topics Covered: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.

Savitribai Phule

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Key contributions.

Context: Birth anniversary of Indian Social Reformer Savitribhai Phule is observed on January 3.

Key facts:

  1. Born in Naigaon in Maharashtra on January 3, 1831, Phule is widely regarded as one of India’s first generation modern feminists for her significant contributions in ensuring equal education opportunities under the British raj.
  2. She became the first female teacher in India in 1848 and opened a school for girls along with her husband, social reformer Jyotirao Phule.
  3. The two also worked against discrimination based on caste-based identity, something vehemently opposed by the orthodox sections of society in Pune.
  4. She went on to establish a shelter for widows in 1854 which she further built on in 1864 to also accommodate destitute women and child brides cast aside by their families.
  5. Phule also played a pivotal role in directing the work of the Satyashodhak Samaj, formed by her husband with the objective to achieve equal rights for the marginalised lower castes.
  6. Savitribai opened a clinic in 1897 for victims of the bubonic plague that spread across Maharashtra just before the turn of the century.
  7. She also set up “Balhatya Pratibandhak Griha”.
  8. In her honour, University of Pune was renamed Savitribai Phule University in 2014.

Sources: The Hindu.