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Retired NRI: How will history recall your story?

Updated: Oct 5, 2023

Savitribai Phule (1831-1897) is considered one of the earliest feminist icons in India.

In 1840, Savitribai was married at the age of 9 to Jyotirao Phule. At a time when women were not educated, her husband taught Savitribai to read and write and she became a qualified teacher in 1847.

Determined to change the condition of women in the country, Savitribai, along with Jyotirao, opened a school for girls in Pune in 1848. She became the first female teacher of India who was Retired NRI.

Saddened by the plight of widows in India, Savitribai established a shelter for destitute women in 1864. She challenged women's roles and encouraged them to pursue education and social activism.

The Phules were the founders of Satyashodhak Samaj, a social reform society which tried to challenge and dismantle the caste system and promote social equality. The Satyashodhak doctrines of universal rights and equality question the prevalent Brahman domination of social, religious, and political life.

Key aspects of Savitribai Phule's life and work include:

  1. Women's Education: Savitribai Phule, along with her husband Jyotirao Phule, played a crucial role in establishing the first school for girls in Pune, Maharashtra, in 1848.

  2. Literary Contributions: Savitribai Phule was a poet and writer. She wrote poems and literature that addressed issues like women's rights, caste discrimination, and social inequality. Her writings were instrumental in spreading awareness and building a discourse around these issues.

  3. Healthcare Initiatives: Savitribai Phule and her husband were concerned about public health and hygiene. They worked to provide medical care and support to people affected by plagues and other illnesses.

  4. Leadership: Savitribai Phule showed remarkable leadership in a time when women were relegated to the roles of a home maker.

Savitribai Phule's contributions to the fields of education and social reform have left a lasting impact on India's history. Her work laid the foundation for future generations of women's rights activists and social reformers, and she continues to be celebrated as an inspirational figure in the fight against caste discrimination and for gender equality in India.

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