Written by Yamika Khanna (Non-Fiction Editor)
Indian history is replete with legends, facts, and stories about India. In fact every single person has its own story to unfold and open for interpretation. Many are verifiable but there is a vast body of legends that make up the tapestry ‘Incredible India’. Today I would like to talk about SAVITRIBAI PHULE ‘The forgotten liberator’. She was the first women educationist, poetess and foremost emancipator of women of India. She was the aspiration and hope of various sections of society for change, equality and dignity.
Savitribai was horrified by the situation of women of her time and decided to open the first girl’s school of India in Pune to educate women leading to them become independent and self-reliant. Moreover skill development also took place to make them able to earn their livelihood and prove themselves in various fields of life. She took drastic measures to improve the lives of widows in India who were then ill-treated and were most prone to women related crimes by other male members of the family making them insecure and making their situation pitiable. Their heads were shorn to make them look unattractive. They were also confined to some remote part of the house. Savitribai with the support of her husband and reformer Jyotirao Phule went on strike against barbers to persuade them to stop shaving the heads of widows; she also established a rehabilitation centre for children born of harassed women.
Her presence was indeed a great support system for women. Her only motive in life was to secure equality, freedom, independence, dignity and equal rights for women. SAVITRIBAI PHULE was the bright star that lit up the darkness of ignorance, illiteracy and conservatism of her time.