Google Doodle is celebrating Fatima Sheikh, an educator and feminist icon. She is considered India’s first Muslim woman teacher.
Fatima Sheikh, alongside other fellow social reformers Jyotirao and Savitribai Phule had co-founded the Indigenous Library in 1848. It also became one of India’s first schools for girls.
Fatima Sheikh was born on January 9 in 1831, Pune. She with her brother Usman and other siblings gave shelter to the Phules after the couple was evicted for trying to educate people in lower castes.
The Indigenous Library opened under Sheikhs’ roof. It was here that Savitribai Phule and Fatima Sheikh taught communities of marginalized Dalit and Muslim women among others who were denied education.
Furthermore, she is also known as a lifelong champion of education, awareness and equality for all.
Fatima Sheikh took up the cudgels for women’s rights and went door-to-door to invite all those who were denied education.
She along with the Phules helped the downtrodden to escape the rigid Indian caste system.
Despite facing criticism and resistance from the dominant classes who attempted to humiliate those involved in the Satyashodhak movement, Sheikh’s persistence triumphed.
Moreover, the Indian government featured Sheikh’s profile in Urdu textbooks alongside other trailblazing educators in 2014.
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