Savitribai Jyotirao Phule* (3 January 1831 – 10 March 1897) was an Indian social reformer and poet. Along with her husband, Jyotirao Phule, she played an important role in improving women’s rights in India during the British rule. Phule along with her husband founded the first girls’ school run by native Indians at Bhide Wada in Pune in 1848. She worked very hard to abolish discrimination and unfair treatment of people based on caste and gender. She is regarded as an important figure of the social reform movement in Maharashtra.
Savitribai Phule was born in 1831 in Naigaon, Maharashtra. She belonged to a family of wealthy farmers. Her father was a patil (head of village). At the age of nine, she was married to twelve-year-old Jyotirao Phule in 1840. Savitribai and Jyotirao had no children of their own. However, she and her husband adopted Yashavantrao, a son born to a widowed Brahmin. Savitribai and her adopted son, Yashwant, opened a clinic to treat those affected by the worldwide third pandemic of the bubonic plague when it appeared in the area around Nallasopara in 1897. The clinic was established at Sasane Mala, Hadapsar, near Pune, but out of the city in an area free of infection. Savitribai personally took patients to the clinic where her son served them. While caring for the patients, she contracted the disease herself. She died from it on 10 March 1897 while serving a plague patient.
Savitribai Phule wrote many poems against discrimination and advised to get educated. Two books of her poems were published posthumously, Kavya Phule (1934) and Bavan Kashi Subodh Ratnakar (1982).