Indians accept women as political leaders, but at home, they should cater to traditional roles first.
More than a half-century ago, India was one of the first countries on the globe to elect a woman as a Prime minister. It was surely a proud moment for the country to recognize a woman to run the country. However, we have many other influential women Politian, sportswomen, and software professionals, yet the patriarchy always voices how a man should be having more prominent roles than a woman.
More than centuries now, we have fought, and still fighting for women and their human rights. From rights to education to voting, and sexual violence to discrimination based on sex and color, there is a list of rights we are talking about.
At I’m Safe app space, we are paying a tribute to one of the most important and unsung hero, Savitribai Phule, who just didn’t fight for women and their rights but she also paved way to justice, courage and gender equality, which we are fighting for till date. Her journey started in 1840s, and the struggle is real.
Savitribai Phule, a young child-married girl decided to change the world for the better for young girls. She was a trailblazer in providing education for girls, making this world a better place for women by educating them about their rights. She was the first female teacher and opened a school for girls’ education. Later, she established a shelter for destitute women and played a vital role in grooming Jyotirao Phule’s pioneering institution, Satyashodhak Samaj, which fought for the equality of women of all classes. She took the first step in 1848, and to date, we are fighting for women’s rights in India.
Also known as the mother of Indian Feminism, Savitribai was born and raised in Naigaon, a small village in the state of Maharashtra, India. Her strong sense of curiosity and ambition to dream paved the way for women and women’s rights. She was just 9 years old when she got married to Jyotirao Phule in 1840. Child marriage was a notion, and she was tongue-tied to disobey. But not every marriage ends with household chores and baby-bearing. Her enthusiasm to learn impressed Jyotirao and decisions were made. Her learning journey started and she took her teacher’s training at Ahmednagar. However hard it looked for a female to be trained, she passed her 4th examination in 1847.
With dreams and wings to fly, she wanted every girl to be educated. With the support of her man, while reforming his social perception, opened a school for girls in 1848. Savitribai became the first female teacher in India, which caused fury in society. This didn’t stop her from establishing more schools for girls. In 1853, Savitribai along with her husband Jyotirao, established an education society, welcoming girls and women from all classes surrounding the village.
No one will support you
If you are doing well.
Stand on the other side,
To see the real faces of people.
Bringing change in the world of patriarchy, Savitribai dared to face the hurdles and crossed them with power. She was abused and harassed when she was going to work. She preferred to cover it up with silence because she knew her path well. She viewed India with a new perception, and she worked hard on it till the very end.
After the journey of education, Savitribai decided to sympathize with the plight of widows in India. For the longest time known, women were blamed for their husband’s death, and Sati- a ritual that forced women to kill themselves along with the pyre of their husbands.
This made women and their mentality very narrow and dependent. Savitribai opened a shelter in 1854, and exactly 10 years later, after continuous struggle and hurdles, she built a larger shelter area for women including destitute women, widows, and child brides cast aside by their families. Her role at the shelter house was to educate them and support them. They were young minds and hearts, she molded them to be strong.
She became one among them when she adopted Yashwantrao, the son of a widow who was sheltered in her institution.
Other than helping out women with their rights and providing them space to live with dignity,Jyotirao and Savitribai decided to dig a well in their backyard for the people of the village to drink water. They were forbidden from driving water from the common village well. This caused lots of commotion in 1868.
With time, Savithribai along with her better half took steps to shape Truthseeker’s society- Satyashodhak Samaj. This institute was the brainchild of Jyothirao and Savithribai did all that they can do for women and educate them about their rights. The primary aim of the samaj was to eliminate discrimination. By the year 1873, the samaj started with the practice of Satyashodhak Marriage, where couples took an oath of education and equality.
However, none of this was appreciated by the society which called them by names and shamed them for supporting females.
We are born as male and female,
But in the end,
We are God’s children.
It is always said, hard work and willpower cannot stop you reach your destination. Savitribai was declared the best teacher in the state by the British Government in 1852, followed by recognition by the government for her contribution to the field of Education.
After the demise of Jyotirao in 1890, Savitribai carried on the legacy and took over Satyashodhak Samaj. She was one of those bold women of those times, defying social norms and deciding to lit his funeral pyre. No one appreciated and cursed her for being the black sheep.
Alone and growing old, Savitribai did all mymedic.es that she could do for women. Her service for women’s rights didn’t end. She encouraged women to learn, educate and stand for themselves. However, In 1897, Maharashtra was affected by the bubonic plague, which was spreading like wildfire. She soon opened a clinic for victims in Hadapsar, Pune.
Savitribai Phule breathed her last moments on March 10, 1897. She was affected by plague, contracted the disease through a 10 year old plague victim. She carried her all the way to the clinic for treatment and sacrificed her life for her people.
We, the team of I’m Safe App honour and salute Savitribai for her honourable efforts even before independence, and sustained till the end, making a better place for women to survive.
She is just not an inspiration, she is a life story of willpower, courage and empowerment. You don’t need money or the fame to empower women and their rights. A strong willed woman like Savitribai shook the system but it will surely take another decade for people to accept, process and understand women’s rights. When every women stand strong, holding hands and chaining up against the society, that day, discrimination will be destroyed and everyone, be it small or big, rich or poor, privileged or underprivileged will smile with joy of equality.