Happy Birthday Savitribai Phule!
|Savitribai Phule (b. 1831) – Indian poet, teacher, educator of women|
Savitribai Phule was born on 3 January 1831 in a poor farming family in Naigaon, a place situated on Pune-Satara Road, some 50 km from Pune. In 1840, at the tender age of nine, she was married to thirteen-year-old Jyotirao Phule.
She never received formal education before her marriage; it was her husband, Jyotirao Phule, who wished to educate her, a venture which met fierce resistance from his family. In 1841, Jyotirao started her education and training to become a teacher.
On 1 January 1848, Savitribai and Jyotirao Phule established India’s first open school for girls in the city of Pune, with a batch of nine girls, mainly from Shudra and Atee Shudra communities, also making her first and youngest female school teacher of modern India, at age of seventeen.
In 1854, Savitribai published her first collection of poems, Kavyaphule, making her first modern poetess of Marathi literature.
In 1897, during the third pandemic of bubonic plague, Savitribai and Yashavantrao [her son] opened a clinic in the area of Sasane Mala, Hadapsar near Pune, area free of infection. Savitribai personally took the affected to the clinic, Yashavantrao treated them. It is while caring for plague patients, she contracted disease herself. She left the world on 10 March 1897, only losing to plague with vision of a better world in her eyes.
[Excerpt from this article]
Two of Savitribai Phule’s poems:
Go, Get Education
Be self-reliant, be industrious
Work, gather wisdom and riches,
All gets lost without knowledge
We become animal without wisdom,
Sit idle no more, go, get education
End misery of the oppressed and forsaken,
You’ve got a golden chance to learn
So learn and break the chains of caste.
Throw away the Brahman’s scriptures fast.
Rise, to learn and act
Weak and oppressed! Rise my brother
Come out of living in slavery.
Manu-follower Peshwas are dead and gone
Manu’s the one who barred us from education.
Givers of knowledge– the English have come
Learn, you’ve had no chance in a millennium.
We’ll teach our children and ourselves to learn
Receive knowledge, become wise to discern.
An upsurge of jealousy in my soul
Crying out for knowledge to be whole.
This festering wound, mark of caste
I’ll blot out from my life at last.
In Baliraja’s kingdom, let’s beware
Our glorious mast, unfurl and flare.
Let all say, “Misery go and kingdom come!”
Awake, arise and educate
We’ll come together and learn
Slumber not but blow the trumpet
O Brahman, dare not you upset.
Give a war cry, rise fast
Rise, to learn and act.