New Delhi: Google is today celebrating educator and feminist icon Fatima Sheikh, who is widely considered to be India’s first Muslim woman teacher, with a doodle. Sheikh, alongside fellow pioneers and social reformers Jyotirao and Savitribai Phule, co-founded the Indigenous Library in 1848, one of India’s first schools for girls.
The beautiful Google Doodle in a combination of white, blue and yellow adds an illustration of Sheikh along with two open books in the background. The doodle is simple yet presents Sheikh’s career at a glance.
Born on January 9, 1831, in Pune, Fatima Sheikh is hailed for her resilience and pioneering role in supporting the idea of education for all. As a young girl, she lived with her brother Usman. The siblings opened their home to Jyotirao and Savitribai Phule after they were evicted for attempting to educate people from the lower castes. Eventually, Sheikh, alongside her fellow pioneers and social reformers Jyotirao and Savitribai Phule, co-founded the Indigenous Library in 1848.
At the library, Sheikh taught communities of marginalised Dalit and Muslim women and children who were denied entry to conventional schools on the basis of caste, creed, religion and gender. The combined efforts were recognised as 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. She met great resistance from the dominant classes who attempted to humiliate those involved in the Satyashodhak movement, but Sheikh and her allies persisted,” Google said in a statement, explaining today’s doodle.
The Indian government shone new light on Fatima Sheikh’s achievements in 2014 by featuring her profile in Urdu textbooks alongside other trailblazing educators.
(With Inputs from ANI and PTI)