Google Doodle: Who was Fatima Sheikh?

Fatima Sheikh was a feminist, educator. She is widely considered as the first Muslim woman teacher of India. In 1848, she co – founded the Indigenous library along with savitribai Phule and Jyotirao.

About Fatima Sheikh

She was born in Pune in 1831. She lived with her brother. Mian Usman Sheikh was her brother. The Sheikhs opened their house for Savitribai Phule and Jyotirao Phule when they were evicted for educating the lower caste people. Jyotirao Phule was an activist, social reformer. He and his wife Savitribai Phule educated the women in the country. They wanted to eradicate caste system and untouchability. Fatima met them in an American missionary run by Cynthia Farrar. She taught in all the five schools established by the Phules.

Indigenous Library

It was opened under the Sheikh’s roof. Here Fatima Sheikh and Savitribai Phule taught the children of the dalit and lower caste Muslims. They also taught women and children for whom education was denied on caste, religion or gender basis.

Sheikh’s contribution

She went door – to – door to invite people to learn at her Indigenous Library. The dominant classes resisted her campaigning.

Satyashodhak Samaj

Sheikh actively participated in the activities of Satyashidhak Samaj. It was founded by Jyotibai Phule in 1873. The main mission of the organization was to education the under privileged and increase the social rights and equality. It mainly focused on the Shudras and Dalits in Maharashtra. The Samaj was against the Brahmanical traditions. It also fought against the priestly social and political superiority.  It fought against the Shetji – Bhatji class. They were the moneylender landlords. After the death of Phule, the Samaj was revived by the Shahu maharaj, the Maratha ruler.


In 2014, the Indian Government shed light on Sheikh’s achievements by including her profile in Urudu textbooks.




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