Savitribai Phule : The inspiration lives forever

[ I am writing this blog today as today is my mom’s birthday. Happy birthday Mummy 🙂 ]

Remember those things we read in history books about gender inequality?; males were considered superior to females, how women were not allowed to educate, how they were married at an early age, the sati tradition, etc. These acts were considered ‘ethical’ when they were practised. Yes, a lot of people used to think these acts are disgusting, however, they still used to follow them. It needed decades of struggle from different revolutionaries to gradually overcome these acts of immorality. One such revolutionary, and a very important one; is Savitribai Phule. The wife of Mahatma Phule, she was married at an early age of 9, binding to the customs of that time. She was taught to read and write by Mahatma Phule himself. The couple, as we know, were involved in number of social reforms. They started the first women’s school in India at Bhide Wada in Pune (which is, I never knew, so close to where I stay). They started the satyashodhak samaj, which initiated the practice of marriage without dowry involved. At the time, a widow had to shave her head, wear only read clothings and lead a life of austerity. Savitribai protested against it; she carried a protest against barbers to not follow such practices. They protested against child marriages and supported widow remarriages. Basically they dedicated their lives against the discrimination against women and lower sectors of society. However, as is the case with any kind of revolution or whistleblowing, they had to struggle against and tolerate lot of abuse from the orthodox minded society. Jyotiba Phule’s father made him leave their house when he started a school for the lower sectors of society, who were denied education in normal schools. I once read in our high school marathi book, in a chapter about Savitribai, that people used to throw cakes of cattle dung at her. I find it pretty amazing that the couple were so determined on their motto, that they did not stop even though all society, their own family was against them. The impact these two have on modern society is undeniable. Although the process was gradual, today both males and females in urban areas are educated on a similar level. However, it will take some time to achieve the same in rural areas, where majority of females are not educated and married as soon as they reach the constitutional minimal age of marriage. My grandma used to tell me that when she was a child (1960s) too, educating females was not considered as important. She was educated upto 8th class only. It was an improvement, however small. Also her 2 younger sisters were educated till graduation. People like Savitribai and Jyotiba Phule always remind us the importance of struggle and raising our voice against whatever wrong is going on in the society. They inspire us to act against injustice and inequality around us. When I was a child, while growing up, everywhere around me the situation was that women are in most cases housewives and stay home while their husbands go to work and earn money. Today, the situation is more improved, both members of a couple work and earn. My mom, my aunts, also work for their families. Again, in rural areas, this is not the case and hopefully in coming years, the situation will improve. These improvements would have been hardly possible if not for the reforms of Savitribai and Jyotiba Phule and the enlightenment they provided to the society, which will live on forever.

I would like to end this blog with this pic. of the first womens’ school in India in Pune clicked by me; I visited it today for the first time (even though it is located just in front of Dagdushet Halwai Ganesh Temple, a location quite near to where I stay!

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Originally published at opendoom.wordpress.com on January 7, 2017.

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Extremely online. I love writing; Poems, Articles. First I spend a lot of time deep in thought, then I spend a lot of time regretting the deep thoughts.

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Abhilash KP

Extremely online. I love writing; Poems, Articles. First I spend a lot of time deep in thought, then I spend a lot of time regretting the deep thoughts.