Savitribai Phule – Reeta Ramamurthy Gupta


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Less than 200 years ago, when Savitribai Phule was born, life in India was very different from the way we know it today. One’s rights as a human being were determined entirely by one’s birth; there were different sets of rules for men and women, Brahmins and Shudras. It was simply not possible to cross the lines.

Savitribai Phule dared to break these rules.

As Indian’s first female teacher, she demanded the impossible: ‘dignity and education for all’. Supported every step of the way by her widowed mother Sagunabai Kshirsagar and her friend and fellow teacher Fatima Sheikh, Savitribai waged an all-out war against social inequities. Ostracized, abused and tormented, these three women persevered nevertheless against the oppressive forces of society, not just to enable the education of women but for the emancipation of widows, untouchables and backward castes as well.

This is their inspiring story. Set in the mid-nineteenth century in Poona, it is an excitingly feminist and daringly irreverent tale of three women who believed in their ability to make a difference.

Today, Savitribai is widely acknowledged as a champion of the downtrodden. Reeta Ramamurthy Gupta’s detailed and incisive biography reveals the inner life of the icon to whom the modern Indian woman owes so much.


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