Savitribai Jyotirao Phule (3 January 1831 – 10 March 1897) was an Indian social reformer, educationalist and poet. She is regarded as the first lady teacher of India. Along with her husband, Jyotirao Phule, she played an important role in improving women’s rights in India during British rule.
Phule, along with her husband founded the first girl’s school in Pune run by native Indians at Bhide wada in 1848. She worked to abolish the discrimination and unfair treatment of people based on caste and gender. She is regarded as an important figure of the social reform movement in Maharashtra.
Born: 3 January 1831, Naigaon, British India, now in Satara district
Died: 10 March 1897 (aged 66), Pune, Maharashtra, British India
Cause of death: Bubonic plague
Savitribai Phule was born in 1831 in Naigaon, Satara in a farming family. At the age of nine, she was married to twelve-year-old Jyotirao Phule in 1840. Savitribai and Jyotirao had no children of their own,page needed] but they adopted Yashavantrao, a son born to a Brahmin widow.
When Jyotirao Phule started the girls school in Pune in 1848, Savitribai was its first teacher. Together with her husband, she taught children from different castes and opened a total of 18 schools. The couple also opened a care centre called Balhatya Pratibandhak Griha for pregnant rape victims and helped deliver their children.
Savitribai and her adopted son, Yashwant, opened a clinic to treat those affected by the worldwide Third Pandemic of the bubonic plague when it appeared in the area around Nallasopara in 1897. The clinic was established at stern outskirts of Pune, in an area free of infection. Savitribai personally took patients to the clinic where her son served them. While caring for the patients, she contracted the disease herself. She died from it on 10 March 1897 while serving a plague patient.
Savitribai Phule wrote many poems against discrimination and advised people to get educated. Two books of her poems were published posthumously, Kavya Phule (1954) and Bavan Kashi Subodh Ratnakar (1982).