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Pandemic, Caste and Krantijyoti Savritimai Phule.

Today, world is suffering from Pandemic for over two years and India is one of the most affected country. Last year, during outbreak of covid 19 second wave, India faced a huge disaster. People in thousands lost their closed ones. Lakhs of people were affected, deprived of oxygen, medicines and beds. A traumatizing chaos, the one who were affected the most from this pandemic were the marginalized sections (Scheduled caste, Scheduled tribe & other backward classes).

Same kind of pandemic, or even more dangerous, was the outbreak in nineteenth century. The third wave of bubonic plague also known as black death, which killed more than twelve million in India and China, with about ten million killed in India alone.

India which was already suffering from the pandemic of caste since thousands of years, had to now face this other deadly disease. At that time as India was colonized by the Britishers, the British Government gave orders to the doctors to treat every patient as just, but, the doctors from the so called ‘upper’ caste Hindu, denied to do their duty as doctors. They denied to treat the patient from the Shudra & Ati-shudra (now SC/ST/OBC) background. Krantijyoti Savritimai Phule, the revolutionary leader of masses, first woman teacher of modern India who struggled (with her husband, Jotiba Phule) and started the education of Shudras, Ati-Shudras and Women who were denied education for thousands of year. When Savritimai learnt about this, She immediately asked her adopted son, Doctor Yashwant Rao to start a clinic to treat the patience of bubonic plague— irrespective of their birth based false identity. Savritimai at the age of 66, herself picked up the patients to her son’s clinic for treatment. She took care of the patients. She helped her son day in day out. Even though she knew that the disease was contagious, she continued to serve them selflessly till the plague took her own life. It is said that, In one of the cases, Savriti mai saved the life of a 10-year-old boy from mahar settlement in Mundhwa by caring him on her back to the clinic. The boy survived but she contracted the disease and succumbed to it on March 10, 1897. Later her young son, Dr. Yashwant Rao also succumbed up. Her life and journey is a great service and message to the mankind. This courageous and selfless story of Savitrimai phule and her son, should be thought world-wide in the medical fields for aspiring doctors for ethics.

Today 3 January 2022 is the 191st birth anniversary of such a heroic personality– Savritimai Phule. Happy teachers day to all. Jai Phule, Jai Bhim!

Ritesh jyotii is BA mass media student and is active on social media as riteshjyotii

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