Savitribai Phule : Information, Life, Education, Death

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Savitribai Phule was a social reformer and educator of the 19th Century. She and her husband together contributed a huge part to the promotion of women’s rights in India. Savitribai Phule was born in Maharashtra, and she is revered as the first woman teacher in India. In 1848, she established modern girls’ schools in Pune. Savitribai Phule wanted to reduce the unfair treatment of people based on their gender and caste.

Candidates preparing for the UPSC exam should know about Savitribai Phule and her contribution to promoting education for the socially oppressed classes. Questions related to important personalities are often asked in the IAS exams which makes this topic important. Here we have covered UPSC Notes on Savitribai Phule that would be immensely beneficial during UPSC Exam preparation.

Who was Savitribai Phule?

Savitribai Phule was a social reformer who worked for the education of women and the lower caste. She was the first woman teacher in the country. She fought against the oppressive social system in the 19th century. Savitribai Phule’s contribution was around humanity, equality, and rationality.

Life of Savitribai Phule

Savitribai Phule was born on January 3, 1831, in the Satara District of Maharashtra. She was the eldest daughter of Khandoji Neveshe and Lakshmi Patil. She belongs to the Mali community that comes under the OBC category today. She got married to Jyotirao Phule at the age of 9. Jyotirao and Savitribai had no children. But they adopted a boy named Yashawantrao.

Education of Savitribai Phule

Savitribai Phule was uneducated till she was married, and she never went to school.

  • Jyotirao was a social reformer who worked for the promotion of women’s education. Savitribai Phule was educated by Jyotirao after her marriage.
  • After that, Savitribai Phule enrolled in two teacher-training programs. The first program was managed by American Missionary Cynthia Farrar, and the second program was at the Normal School of Pune.

Savitribai Phule and Her Fight for Women’s Education

Savitribai Phule and her husband saw education as a tool that would enhance the conditions of people from socially oppressed classes.

  • She promoted education to eliminate the idea that women are not capable enough to be educated. Savitribai Phule and her husband recognized how important education is to fight inequality.
  • Savitribai Phule dedicated her time to educating women to encourage social transformation. In 1849 she became the first female educator in India.
  • The idea of educating women was considered to be evil at that time, and that’s why Jyotiba and Savitribai Phule had to leave their Families in 1849, and their actions were tagged as anti-social.
  • By the end of 1851, she and her husband established three schools in Pune for 150 female students.

Savitribai Phule- Social Reformer

To promote women’s rights, Savitribai Phule created Mahila Seva Mandal in 1852. The main purpose of this Mandal was to increase awareness of social issues and human rights.

  • A barber’s strike took place in Mumbai, which was led by Savitribai Phule. The strike was against the practice of shaving women’s heads when their husbands died. This strike was successful.
  • To eliminate caste discrimination, she invited all the ladies to sit on the same mattress and also campaigned against child marriage.
  • Savitribai Phule also advocated for widow’s remarriage.
  • Savitribai and her husband began many awareness campaigns which encouraged people like Mahatma Gandhi and Dr B.R. Ambedkar against caste discrimination.

Facts About Savitribai Phule

  • Apart from fighting against social oppression, Savitribai Phule also helped people with basic needs like health, goods, clothes, etc.
  • Savitribai Phule was a poet as well. She has done some amazing work that includes – Kavya Phule, Matushri Savitribai Phulenchi Bhashane Va Gaani, Bavan Kashi Sibhodh Ratnakar, etc.
  • Savitribai Phule is known as the first feminist in India
  • With the help of her husband, Savitribai Phule opened 18 schools for girls. She also opened a care center named ‘Balhatya Pratibandhak Griha’ for pregnant rape victims.
  • Savitribai Phule’s poems were recognized by the British-India empire, and she was known as the “ Mother of Modern Poetry”
  • Savitribai Phule died on March 10, 1897, due to the plague.

Savitribai Phule

UPSC Aspirants should know that the topic of ‘Savitribai Phule’ is important from the UPSC Exam perspective as it is mentioned under the GS Paper-1 and Important Personalities section. Questions related to Savitribai Phule can be asked in current affairs as well. Candidates must go through all the facts and need to prepare accordingly. Apart from the UPSC Notes on Savitribai Phule, candidates can refer to History Books for UPSC or other study materials to gain in-depth insights on this particular topic.

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