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Savitribai Phule’s birth anniversary was once mooted to be India’s second Teacher’s Day

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A proposal to mark social reformer Savitribai Phule’s birth anniversary as second Teacher’s Day is in limbo.  

New Delhi: The country would have ended up with two teacher’s days if the proposal promoting it had made it past the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry.

The ministry had internally discussed the possibility of celebrating another Teacher’s Day on 3 January, the birth anniversary of social reformer Savitribai Phule, apart from the one celebrated now on 5 September, which marks the birth anniversary of India’s first President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.

The plan was to call it Shikshika Diwas.

Proposal in limbo

Sources said the idea to commemorate the birth anniversary of Phule as an additional teacher’s day first cropped up two years ago when a group of social activists from Maharashtra handed a proposal to Minister of State for HRD Upendra Kushwaha.

Also read: On Teachers’ Day, teachers say the days of respect are long gone

The minister approved the proposal and forwarded it to the office of HRD minister Prakash Javadekar. Sources in the ministry said after the initial positive response from Javadekar’s office, the proposal has not been taken forward in the last two years.

“The MoS took the proposal positively and forwarded it to the minister’s office. He was of the view that a step taken in this direction will only strengthen women’s role in the field of education,” said a source in the ministry.

Kushwaha had even publicly spoken of declaring 3 January as Shikshika Diwas.

“He had also announced in a number of his public speeches that 3 January would be declared as another Teacher’s Day as he was certain that the proposal would be taken forward. Two years on, however, with the proposal in a limbo, he has stopped talking about it”.

Officials in Javadekar’s office refused to comment on the issue.

The proposal, had it been approved by Javadekar, would have had to go to the Cabinet before becoming official. It, however, never reached the Cabinet for consideration.

First woman teacher

The ministry considered the idea as Phule, a social reformer from Maharashtra, played a pioneering role in women’s education and for the lower castes in India. Phule and her husband, Jotirao Phule, set up the country’s first girl’s school in Pune in 1848.

A teacher’s day in her name would have given the ministry a chance to play a part in having a woman as an idol in the field of education.

Also read: Five reasons why Teachers’ Day should be abolished


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