Google India has marked social reformer Savitribai Phule’s 186th birth anniversary with a doodle. She is regarded as one of the most prominent faces of the Social Reform Movement in Maharashtra for her work against caste and gender-based discrimination in colonial India.
Born on January 3, 1831, she also set up the first school for girls from different castes in Bhidewada, Pune. Along with her husband Jyotirao Phule, she established a home for widows thrown out by their families after being sexually abused by other men. Their adopted son, Yashwantrao Gupta, was born to a Brahmin widow.
Savitribai Phule died on March 10, 1897, after contracting bubonic plague while caring for patients suffering from the disease at a clinic she opened with her son. There have been consistent demands by activists and groups to observe her birthday as Teachers’ Day.
Both Savitribai Phule and her husband were known for the strength of their relationship, and the letters between them have given historians and academics insight into some of the radical questioning put forth by reformists at the time.