Savitribai Phule was born on January 3, 1831, in Naigaon, a small village in the Satara district of Maharashtra, India. She was the eldest daughter of Khandoji Neveshe Patil and his wife Lakshmi. His family belonged to the Mali community, considered a low-caste community in the Hindu social hierarchy.
Savitribai grew up in a society that was deeply patriarchal and casteist, where women and people from lower castes faced severe discrimination and oppression. Despite these challenges, Savitribai was interested in education and learned to read and write from her husband, Jyotirao Phule.
In 1840, when Savitribai was only nine years old, she was married to Jyotirao Phule, who was thirteen years her senior. Jyotirao was a social reformer and educationist who shared Savitribai’s passion for education and social justice. Jyotirao encouraged Savitribai to study and become a teacher and together they started working towards the upliftment of women and lower castes in the society.
Savitribai Phule was not educated as a child, as girls’ education was not encouraged during her time. However, she was always interested in learning and managed to acquire the knowledge through her own efforts and that of her husband, Jyotirao Phule, who was an educationist and social reformer.
Jyotirao taught Savitribai to read and write in Marathi, Sanskrit and English, and she soon became proficient in these languages. Also Saviribai phule learned from Jyotirao about social issues and the need for women’s education.
In 1848, Jyotirao and Savitribai both are started the first school for girls in Pune, This step is a revolutionary step at a time when girls’ education was not encouraged. Savitribai was appointed as the first female teacher of the school, and she worked always to educate girls who were denied education because of their caste and gender.
Savitribai’s passion for education and social justice continued throughout her life, and she was instrumental in establishing several schools and educational institutions for girls and lower castes. Her efforts led to the spread of education and empowerment of women in Maharashtra and she remains an inspiration to many even today.
Savitribai Phule’s career was marked by her commitment to social reform and women’s education. In the 19th century she worked on eradicating social evils such as caste discrimination, untouchability and oppression of women in Maharashtra society Along with her husband and Jyotirao Phule.
In year of 1848, Savitribai and Jyotiraon was started the first school for girls in Pune. Savitribai was appointed as the first female teacher of the school, and she worked always to educate girls who were denied education due to caste and gender. Savitribai and Jyotirao are faced many opposition and even violence from conservative elements of the society, but they persevered and continued to work for women’s education.
Savitribai also started a home for widows and worked to improve the condition of Dalit women who faced extreme discrimination and oppression. He wrote several poems that exposed the evils of the caste system and patriarchy and promoted education and women’s rights.
Savitribai continued to work for social reform and women’s education throughout her life. She established several schools and educational institutions for girls and lower castes and her efforts led to the spread of education and empowerment of women in Maharashtra. Her legacy as a pioneering social reformer and feminist continues to inspire people today, and she remains an important figure in India’s history of social justice and women’s rights.
Savitribai and Jyotirao had no children of their own. It is said that they adopted Yashawantrao, a son born to a Brahmin widow. However, there is no original evidence available yet to support this. It is said when Yashwant was about to get married, no one was willing to give him a girl because he was born to a widow. Hence Savitribai arranged his marriage to her organization’s worker Dynoba Sasane’s daughter in February 1889.
Savitribai Phule died on March 10, 1897, at the age of 66. She was suffering from a high fever at the time of her death.
Savitribai Phule was a remarkable woman who fought for the rights of women and untouchables in a time where they faced immense discrimination. She used her knowledge, courage and determination to help others, which earned her great respect among those she helped. Her legacy continues today through the many organizations that are dedicated to preserving her memory and carrying on with her efforts towards social justice. We should forever be thankful for what Savitribai Phule did and remember that we can all make an impact if we stand up for what is right.