Google on Sunday paid tribute to Indian educator, feminist icon and social reformer Fatima Sheikh on her 191st birth anniversary.
Born on this day in 1831 in Pune, Fatima Sheikh was widely regarded as India’s first Muslim woman teacher.
She co-founded the Indigenous Library in 1848, one of India’s first schools for girls, alongside fellow pioneers and social reformers Jyotirao and Savitribai Phule.
Sheikh and her brother, Usman, opened their home to the Phules after the couple was evicted for attempting to educate people in lower castes.
Sheikh started educating Dalit children and the three took charge of spreading education among the downtrodden communities.
They taught Dalits and Muslim women and children who were denied education based on their gender, class or religion.
Sheikh used to go door-to-door to invite the underprivileged and downtrodden in her community to learn at the Indigenous Library and escape the rigidity of the Indian caste system.
Her and Phules’ efforts to provide educations opportunities to the lower castes became known as the Satyashodhak Samaj (Truthseekers’ Society) movement.
But much like the Phules, she met resistance from dominant classes who attempted to humiliate those involved in the Satyashodhak movement.
In 2014, the Indian government included her achie