Here’s Who We Should Actually Celebrate On Teacher’s Day

After managing to read the biography of Thomas Clarkson (1760–1846), who endeavored and fought against slavery or slave trade, Savitribai Phule, the wife of Mahatma Jyotirao Phule, was deeply committed to uplifting the social status of girls and people from the lower castes through education.

Image Credit: Madhubani Painting of Savitribai Phule, By Malvika Rai, Delhi

She was born on January 3, 1831, near Naigaon, in Maharashtra, and became the first female teacher in India. She was often ridiculed and abused by the Brahmins (upper-caste Hindus) for challenging the system of caste by educating girls and individuals belonging to the Dalit communities, who were deprived of learning and literacy for centuries. She was ridiculed for emancipating them with the critical power of knowledge and rational thinking.

Savitribai Phule played a very historic and significant role in women’s rights movement in India.

She is popular even today, but unfortunately, her birth-date is not commemorated as Teacher’s Day in India because she was not born into a Brahmin community. Whereas the ‘benefit of privilege’ straight away goes to India’s first vice-president Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (5th September 1888–17th April 1975), a Brahmin by caste, who is said to have plagiarised his student’s doctoral thesis, Indian Psychology of Perception (1925) in his own book Indian Philosophy II (1927). He was sued for ₹20,000 by his student Jadunath Sinha, who was counter-sued by Dr Radhakrishnan for ₹100,000. The matter was settled outside the court.

Dr Radhakrishnan’s view on Hinduism has also been Brahminical (for apparently defending the casteist and misogynistic Manusmriti) on many occasions. I don’t think he has contributed much to the upliftment of women and Dalit people during his tenure, except asking people to observe his birthday as Teacher’s Day.

On the other hand, Savitribai Phule was educated by her revolutionary husband, Mahatma Jyotirao Phule, who founded a school near Pune in 1848. Brahmins envied her zeal and discouraged her, but she relentlessly continued to educate girls. She always carried an extra saree to wear after reaching the school, since the Brahmins would throw cow dung, and caste slurs, at her.

She is also considered as the mother of Indian Feminism, for working to abolish caste discrimination, patriarchy, and inequality. She and her husband were considered ‘evil’ and the couple were asked to leave the village in 1849 because their activities were considered ‘sin’ according to the Manusmriti (the source of ‘moral’ rules and ‘ethical’ laws for Hindu people that legitimizes casteism, gender discrimination and lynching).

She opened 18 schools. Her diligence and commitment paid off. She published few notable works like Kavya Phule (1854), Bavan Kashi Subodh Ratnakar (1892) and a very famous poem ‘Go, Get Education in which she appeals to the masses to seek education and smash casteism. Her works are not taught in today’s schools in India, due to all social and political reasons known to you and me. She favored widow re-marriage and fought against the child marriage system. She also founded a home for the prevention of infanticide.

The article was first published on my YKA’s portal.

--

--

--

A libertarian professor based in Mumbai, youtubing at times, and reading books all-the-time. I write too. Dhamma practitioner.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

The Colony that Embraced Colonialism

Dallas Genealogical Society Conserves Republic & Early Statehood Documents and Map at Texas General…

Debunking the Mythic Origin of the Second Amendment

PDF Download>< The Return of Martin Guerre Read !b

Callout for Coders And Puzzlers Or Anyone Up For A Challenge

Rainbow plaque commemorating the birth of Alan Turing at Warrington Lodge

StoryTime: Mystery Temples of Asia

Philosopher James Spencer Churchill (1920–1989): A History of his Life

A REVIEW ON FREEING OURSELVES, AN ESSAY BY COLIN STANLEY, KENYA PUBLISHED IN WRITER’S SPACE AFRICA…

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Jaimine

Jaimine

A libertarian professor based in Mumbai, youtubing at times, and reading books all-the-time. I write too. Dhamma practitioner.

More from Medium

Introducing A Movement For Kindness Led By Young People

Exegesis On The Foundation Series By Isaac Asimov: Parallels to reality and the path of…

We live to compete. What I learned by winning the Duolingo diamond league

Journey to the Start of Etha