Savitribai Phule Biography: The First Female Teacher of India to Work for Girls Education

Savitribai Phule's name is counted among the first feminists of India. She was the first-ever female teacher in the country and was the headmistress as well. Her husband Jyotiba Phule was an education reformist as well. Check her biography below.
Savitribai Phule Biography
Savitribai Phule Biography

On the 3rd of January, 2022, the country celebrates the first female teacher of India, Savitribai Phule. She was an activist who worked for the education of females in India and exhorted them to get an education to break free from the shackles of socially constructed discriminatory practices. Check more information about Savitribai Phule in her biography shared below.

Savitribai Phule: Biography

Name  Savitribai Jyotiba Phule
Date of Birth January 3, 1831
Spouse Name Jyotiba Phule
Education  Teachers Training Programme (American missionary, Cynthia Farrar)
Children (Son) Yashwant Phule (Adopted)

Early Life: Education, Marriage, Family

Savitribai was born on January 3rd, 1831 in Naigaon village in Maharashtra. At that time being born in a socially backward Mali community meant no education for females. She was illiterate when she married Jyotiba Phule at the age of 9. Jyotiba was 13 at that time and studied in class 3rd. 

Savitribai found her route to education due to her forward-looking husband Jyotiba Phule who believed strongly in female education to remove social inequalities. 

He began teaching his wife at home against the family diktat. 

An incident that changed Savitribai Phule's life:

When Savitribai was young she was pulling the pages of an English language book, when her father caught her red-handed. He snatched the book from her hands and threw it far away asking her to never touch one again. It was considered only the right of upper-caste men in those days to study. Savitribai vouched that day to learn to read and write no matter what happens.   

Savitribai Phule Biography: Career

She was enrolled by Jyotiba Phule in a teacher's training program at a training institute in Pune. She actually enrolled herself in 2 teachers' training programs - an American missionary, Cynthia Farrar, in Ahmednagar and at a normal school in Pune. Savitri then went on to become the first woman headmistress of any school in India and the first-ever woman teacher in the country. Her birthday is also observed as Balika Din in Maharashtra. 

She began teaching at a girl's school in Marathwada in Pune alongside Sagunbai who was one of the revolutionary feminists at that time. 

By 1851, Savitribai Phule and Jotiba were running three different schools in Pune only for girls. The three schools combined had more than 150 girl students enrolled. 

Savitribai Phule Biography: Resistance In Her Job

Savitribai Phule used to carry an extra saree to her school as she was peddled with stones and dirt by the conservative upper caste locals while she used to commute to her schools for teaching. 

Phule’s faced such troubles from the upper Brahmin class in their locality as they belonged to suppressed Mali caste and they were educated despite that fact. 

Ultimately they had to leave their father's house in 1849 after being blamed to commit the sin of studying against Manusmriti and its Brahmanical texts. 

Together with her husband, she taught children from different castes and opened a total of 18 schools. They also opened a care center called Balhatya Pratibandhak Griha for rape victims and pregnancy victims. 

Savitribai Phule Biography: Death

Jyotiba and Savitribai had no children of their own. They had an adopted son Yashwant who opened a clinic to work for Bubonic plague victims. Savitribai Phule died due to the same plague that affected her, She breathed her last on March 10, 1897. 

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FAQ

Who started the first Girls' school in India?

In 1853, Savitribai and Jyotirao established an education society that opened more schools for girls and women from all classes, in surrounding villages.

Who is the first teacher in India?

Savitribai Phule became India's first woman teacher and headmistress and opened 18 schools for girls with her husband.

How much was Savitribai Phule educated?

Savitribai Phule was uneducated till she got married to Jyotiba Phule. She was then educated for a Teachers training programme once she got married.

Who was Savitribai Phule?

Savitribai Phule was the first female teacher of India and the first among the feminists of the country as well. She was the wife of Jyotiba Phule.

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