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Savitri Bai Phule: The Mother of Indian Feminism

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT Savitribai Jyotirao Phule

Savitri Bai Phule was a standard-bearer for uplifting the status of women and other oppressed classes of society.

The time when people barely noticed the plight of Women, Savitri stood for their rights. She toiled to banish caste and gender discrimination from the society.

She was a leading-light in the battle against discrimination, injustice, and ignorance.

Due to her inclination towards reading and writing, and support from her husband (Jyotirao Phule), she became India’s first female teacher.

Jyotirao Phule, who too was a social reformer, taught and motivated her to pursue her education.

Despite being a child bride who came from a farmer’s family, Savitri fearlessly confronted the oppressive norms of the society.

Here’s a short description of how she contributed towards the betterment of society:

  • After qualifying as a teacher in 1847, Savitri opened the first women’s school in the year 1848.
  • In the year 1853, Jyotirao Phule and Savitri Bai Phule established an education society. Under this society, they opened 18 schools for women from all sections of society.
  • Besides being a social and educational reformer, Savitri was a poetess too. The main focus of her poems was social discrimination and promoting education.  
  • Two of her books, namely, Kavya Phule (1934) and Bavan Kashi Subodh Ratnakar (1982), were published after her death.

Here are a few lines from one of her poems:

Go, Get Education

Be self-reliant, be industrious

Work, gather wisdom and riches,

All gets lost without knowledge

We become animal without wisdom,

Sit idle no more, go, get education

End misery of the oppressed and forsaken,

You’ve got a golden chance to learn

So learn and break the chains of caste.

Throw away the Brahman’s scriptures fast.


  • To lower the misery and pain of widows and women who were sexually assaulted, she opened a care centre. The center was named “Balhatya Pratibandhak Griha.”
  • She also worked to buoy up the status of untouchables in the society.  

Savitri spent her entire life serving others. She challenged and fought courageously against the iron-fisted norms of society.

She embraced death on 10th March 1897 while serving plague infected people in Pune.

Regarded as “one of the first-generation modern Indian feminists” she is a true inspiration for the feminists across the world.

To honour this great reformer, the Government of Maharashtra has launched an award in her name. The award credits women social reformers.

In the year 2015, Pune University was renamed as Savitri Phule Pune University to recognize Savitri’s contribution to the society. Also, on 10th March 1998, India Post launched a stamp in memory of this extraordinarily brave-hearted lady.

Savitri flew in the face of flawed societal conventions. Throughout her life, she’s been a staunch fighter for justice, women’s rights, and social equality.


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