New Delhi: Google is on Sunday (January 9, 2022) celebrating feminist icon Fatima Sheikh’s 191st Birthday with a special doodle. Fatima Sheikh, who was born in 1831 in Pune, is widely known to be India’s first Muslim woman teacher.
She alongside Jyotirao and Savitribai Phule, co-founded the Indigenous Library in 1848, which is said to be India’s one of the first schools for girls.
The Indigenous Library, which was opened under the Sheikhs’ roof, was a platform for her and Savitribai Phule to teach communities of marginalized Dalit and Muslim women and children who were denied education based on class, religion or gender.
The Phules’ efforts to provide educational opportunities to those born into India’s lower castes became known as the Satyashodhak Samaj (Truthseekers’ Society) movement. 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.
The Centre in 2014 had also shone new light on Fatima Sheikh’s achievements by featuring her profile in Urdu textbooks alongside other trailblazing Indian educators.