Savitribai Phule was an Indian social reformer, educationalist, and poet from Maharashtra. She is regarded as the first female teacher of India. Along with her husband, Jyotirao Phule, she played an important role in improving women’s rights in India. She is regarded as the mother of Indian feminism.⁣

According to government records, Jyotirao educated Savitribai at their home. After completing her teacher’s education, Savitribai Phule started teaching girls at the Maharwada in Pune. She did so alongside Sagunabai who was a revolutionary feminist as well as a mentor to Jyotirao.⁣

The author, Divya Kandukuri believes that the Phule methods were regarded as being superior to those used by government schools. As a result of this reputation, the number of girls receiving their education at the Phule’s schools out numbered the number of boys enrolled in government schools.⁣

She also states that Savitribai often travelled to her school carrying an extra sari because she would be assailed by her conservative opposition with stones, dung, and verbal abuse. The Phules faced such strong opposition because of the conservative (Brahmin) and marginalized caste to which they belonged.⁣

However, in 1849, Jyotirao’s father, asked the couple to leave his home because their work was considered a sin in the Brahmanical texts.⁣

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 and save their children.⁣

She established the Mahila Seva Mandal to raise awareness for issues concerning women’s rights. She also called for a gathering place for women that was free of caste discrimination or differentiation of any kind.⁣

Savitribai died a heroic death trying to save a boy who contracted the Plague. Savitribai Phule rushed to his side and carried him on her back to the hospital. In the process, Savitribai Phule caught the Plague and died in 1897.⁣

In 2015, the University of Pune was renamed as Savitribai Phule Pune University in her honour. In 1998 a stamp⁣ was released by India Post.