Savitribai Phule

Savitribai Phule is a well-known figure in Indian history for her pioneering efforts in the fields of women’s education, social reform, and gender equality. She is considered the first female teacher in India, and is often referred to as the “Mother of Indian Feminism.” Along with her husband Jyotirao Phule, Savitribai founded the first girls’ school in Pune in 1848, and worked tirelessly to fight against gender and caste discrimination. In addition to her work as a teacher and social reformer, Savitribai was also a prolific Marathi writer, with several literary works to her name. In this article, we will explore Savitribai’s life, achievements, and legacies in greater detail.

Early Life

Savitribai K. Patil was born on January 3, 1831, into a family of farmers. At the age of nine, she was married to 13-year-old Jyotirao Phule, who later became her partner in activism and social reform. Savitribai was home-schooled by her husband, who taught her how to read and write.

The First School for Girls and Women

In 1848, Savitribai and Jyotirao Phule founded the first school for girls and women in Bhidewada, Pune (Maharashtra). The school started with just nine girls from different castes, and was considered a historic step in a society where female education was considered taboo. The Phule couple had launched a crusade against social discrimination based on caste and gender, and their efforts to educate women sparked the flame for women’s equal rights.

Campaign for Women’s Rights

During the British rule in India, Savitribai Phule led a courageous campaign for women’s rights, focusing on issues such as child marriages, child widows, and the practice of “Sati,” which involved the forced suicide of a widow on her husband’s funeral pyre. Savitribai also fought for equal rights for all women, and worked hard to improve the status of women in Indian society.


After Jyotirao Phule’s death in 1890, Savitribai continued his work with the Satyashodhak Samaj, a group that supported inter-caste marriages. She died while serving people suffering from the bubonic plague in Maharashtra in 1897. In recognition of her pioneering efforts in the fields of women’s education, social reform, and gender equality, the Maharashtra government renamed the University of Pune as the Savitribai Phule Pune University. The India Post also released a stamp in honor of Savitribai on March 10, 1998.

Savitribai Phule was a trailblazer in the fight for women’s rights in India, and her contributions to the fields of education, social reform, and gender equality continue to be recognized and celebrated. Though she faced many challenges as a woman in a patriarchal and orthodox society, Savitribai’s courage and determination inspired others to follow in her footsteps, and helped pave the way for a more equal and just society.



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