Published: 29th December 2021
AIOBCSA writes to PM Modi to name Savitribai Phule's birth anniversary International Teachers' Day. Here's why
Savitribai Phule was among the first women to set up schools for the education of Dalits, the underprivileged and upper caste women in modern India
The All India OBC Students' Association (AIOBCSA) has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to officially celebrate Savitribai Phule's birth anniversary and declare January 3 as International Teachers' Day. They have also put forth a series of demands before Phule's birth anniversary.
Savitribai Phule was among the first women to set up schools for the education of Dalits, the underprivileged and upper caste women in modern India, said the AIOBCSA and added that it would be an "injustice" to not recognise her contributions. "As we celebrate Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, it will be an injustice on the part of the government if her contributions are not adequately recognised," wrote the students' organisation.
But why have one more Teachers' Day? Kiran Kumar, a student of the University of Hyderabad, and the President of the AIOBCSA said, "Her contribution to educating the oppressed sections of society and bring revolutionary changes were totally neglected. She is the real teacher who wanted to bring transformative changes in society and her contributions are an inspiration for everyone who is working against the oppressed in the name of caste, race, colour and gender. Hence, we need to celebrate her birth anniversary as International Teachers' Day."
The OBC students' group said that the government should establish social welfare hostels for boys and girls in every Parliament constituency with proper infrastructure facilities and run a Digital Device Drive to address the huge digital divide. They demanded the installation of Savitribai Phule's statue in the Parliament beside Mahatma Jyotirao Phule. "The Government must construct social welfare boys and girls post-matric hostels in the name of Savitribai Phule in every Parliament constituency with a capacity of 1,000 and reserve 50 per cent of them for OBCs. The hostels must have a proper infrastructure with a dedicated library, sports and gym facilities for the overall development of the students," said the AIOBCSA in their letter. "In the background of online education, the government must initiate digital device drives and special internet packages for marginalised and poor students. As a part of the drive, the government shall provide free laptops or tablets to poor OBC, SC, ST, EWS and PwD students. The drive must bring digital transformation and fill the digital divide," it added.
The association also added that the government should establish Phule Centers for the Empowerment of Socially and Educationally Backward Classes in various universities to take up research on various social, political, cultural, economic and educational aspects of the SEBCs. "Savitribai Phule has led a silent revolution by starting schools for the first time for Sudras and for upper caste women, in spite of strong resistance from Brahmanical and patriarchal forces. Cow dung and mud were thrown on her while she was travelling to teach students. She was actively involved in building institutions like schools (1948-52), Mahila Seva Mandal (1852), infanticide prohibition homes (1853) night schools for workers and peasants (1855), orphanage homes (1863) and food hostels during the famine in Maharashtra (1875-77). Her contributions are totally neglected," Kiran added.