Hyderabad: Google marks the birth anniversaries of several renowned personalities with a special doodle and on Sunday, the global tech giant celebrated the 191st birthday of Fatima Sheikh, educator and feminist icon. “It takes a woman and her unflinching will to bring about reform in the face of resistance,” Google India tweeted.
Considered the first woman teacher in India, she championed the cause of women’s education and strived to ensure that society recognised them as equal. She also worked to abolish discrimination and unfair treatment of people based on caste and gender.
Sheikh, born on January 9, 1831, in Pune, is widely regarded as the country’s first Muslim woman teacher. She, along with fellow social reformers Jyotirao Phule and Savitribai Phule, co-founded the Indigenous Library in 1848, one of India’s first schools for girls.
As a lifelong champion of this movement for equality, Sheikh went door-to-door to invite the downtrodden in her community to learn at the Indigenous Library and escape the rigidity of the Indian caste system. She met great resistance from the dominant classes who attempted to humiliate those involved in the Satyashodhak movement, but Sheikh and her allies persisted.
Dalits, Muslim women and children from marginalised communities, to whom doors of the school were shut, gained education with the efforts of Phule and Sheikh.
The Indian government shone new light on Fatima Sheikh’s achievements in 2014 by featuring her profile in Urdu textbooks alongside other trailblazing educators.
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