Mumbai: Google dedicated a Doodle on Tuesday to mark the 186th birth anniversary of India's 19th century social reformer Savitribai Jyotirao Phule, considered the first feminist of the country.
Savitribai K Patil was born on January 3, 1831, in a rich and influential farming family. At the age of nine, she was married off to 13-year-old Jyotirao Phule.
She was taught to read and write by her husband and when she turned 17, the couple founded India's first school for girls and women in Bhidewada, Pune.
It started with just nine girls from different castes enrolled as students - but it became a historic step when female education was considered taboo in the orthodox Indian society prevalent then.
The Phules - who had no children of their own - launched a crusade against social discrimination based on caste and gender, and sparked the flame for women's equal rights during the British rule.
At a time when women had no say in anything, Savitribai's campaign covered child marriages, child widows, rape victims becoming pregnant, the practice of Sati, educating women and fighting for equal rights for all women.
Over the next few years, the Phules set up 18 more schools across the state of which Savitribai became the teacher, headmistress and principal.
The colourful Doodle shows a simple Savitribai spreading her sari pallu wide to encompass women from all sections of society for education and empowerment.
The simple Doodle shows a group of demure women assembled outside what could be a school for education in a skyblue starry background which also doubles as her blouse.
Nearly 18 decades after her passing, the Maharashtra government renamed the Pune University as Savitribai Phule University as a tribute to her sheer courage and pioneering efforts in the field of education, women empowerment, social reform and gender equality.