How to honor the legacy of Savitribai Pureh today
Nearly 200 years after Savitribai started India’s first all-girls school with her husband, Jotirao Phule, the problem of inaccessibility for marginalized groups of students, especially in higher education, remains as relevant as ever. There is a nature.
UK University’s recent announcement of scholarships for SC/ST/OBC and first-generation students from India, named after Savitri Bai Pureh, spotlights key legacy of educator and social reformer I guessed Nearly 200 years after Savitribai started India’s first girls’ school with her husband Jotirao Phule, the problem of inaccessibility for marginalized groups of students, especially in higher education, remains significant. is a problem.
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Savitribai was born on January 3, 1831, into a peasant family in Naigaon. When she was 9 years old, she married her Jotirao, who was 12 years old at the time. Her education began after her marriage when her husband, who witnessed her enthusiasm for her knowledge, began teaching in her home. Phules opened the first girls’ school in the country in 1848. Given her strong opposition to girls’ education in society, this led to the couple being severely criticized and even expelled. Savitribai serendipitously established her 18 schools with her husband, including those from marginalized castes. Separately, the couple also opened a center called Balhatya Pratibandhak Griha (Infant Killing Prevention House) to help pregnant widows and victims of sexual assault safely deliver their children.
Despite her significant contribution to social and educational reform of women and marginalized castes, Savitribai Pule’s work is still under-recognised. According to her Braj Ranjan Mani, a scholar and activist, this can be attributed to the “Brahmin mindset” that has largely dominated knowledge production, cultural reproduction and historiography.
It is clear even today that lack of access to education remains a stubborn problem. The problem of unequal access sharply comes to the fore when pandemic lockdowns make it difficult for people from poor families to attend classes due to a sudden shift to online education, and lack of smartphones and mobile data. In many households, girls were not given priority over boys even when technology was available. As such, it turned out to be fatal in an alleged suicide in November 2020 because the family could not afford a laptop to access online classes. .
The state of public education at the primary, secondary and undergraduate levels is disappointing, from underinvestment and lack of seats to unwelcoming environments created for disadvantaged groups of students. Last August, Indra Meghwal, a 9-year-old Dalit boy, was beaten to death in Jaloa, Rajasthan after simply touching a jug owned by a high-caste teacher. Student suicide presents a chronic problem that can only be remedied through policy approaches.
While it is important to honor Savitribai’s legacy, her contributions, like those of Jotiva, cannot be remembered for the mere gesture of naming institutions, scholarships and awards after them. That’s the easy way. A more difficult, but far more impactful way to remember their work and realize their vision is not only that education is accessible, but that it is accessible to all, regardless of their economic or social background. It requires a positive effort to ensure that it is liberating for humans.
The author is a sociology student in Delhi.
First published date: April 22, 2023 13:25 IST