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HomeEditorialSavitribai Phule controversy: Twitter trends #ISupportBharadwajSpeaks

Savitribai Phule controversy: Twitter trends #ISupportBharadwajSpeaks

The Twitter handle, BhardwajSpeaks, states that there were many female teachers who existed prior to Savitribai Phule.

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savitribai phule, phule, bharadwaj speaks, bharadwajspeaks, twitter, devendra, fadnavis, devendra fadnavis

Following his controversial tweets on Savitribai Phule, one of the most popular and well-known twitter handles, @BhardwajSpeaks, was forced to delete his account. The majority of the tweets from @BharadwajSpeaks are about Indian history and culture; they are very current and fact-based. He is frequently credited with destroying the outdated, fabricated Marxist histories of India. He has repeatedly exposed the fabrications that are propagated in India under the guise of history. No fact-checker has so far contradicted what he has written. However, his tweets caused a stir in state politics. He is known for his fearless writing about historic events and for citing primary sources for every assertion that he makes. There are many who believe that @BharadwajSpeaks has taught real history to people through social media within a couple of years than the entire NCERT pantheon of history writers might have done since Independence through schools and universities.

In a recent clarification, BhardwajSpeaks has addressed the controversy surrounding its comments about social reformer Savitribai Phule. The intention, according to the account, was solely to highlight the fact that Savitribai Phule was not the first female teacher, which was supported by references to ancient texts. BhardwajSpeaks has firmly asserted that they had no intention to defame or disparage the esteemed social figure. Savitribai Phule was an Indian social reformer, educationalist, and poet from Maharashtra. Hailed as the country’s first modern feminist, Phule was India’s first female teacher. She started teaching girls in Maharwada in Pune with Sagunabai, a revolutionary feminist and Jyotirao’s mentor. Soon, Savitribai, Jyotirao, and Sagunabai started their school at Bhide Wada. The curriculum of the school was based on western education and included mathematics, science, and social studies.

By the end of 1851, Savitribai and Jyotirao Phule were running three schools in Pune with a combined strength of approximately 150 girls. She had even organized a barbers’ strike in Mumbai and Pune to protest the custom of shaving the heads of widows. In 1873, Jyotirao founded a social reform society called Satyashodhak Samaj, and Savitribai was its active member. The community included Muslims, non-Brahmins, Brahmins, and government officials. It aimed to free women and other less privileged people from caste and gender oppressions. Along with Jyotirao, she worked tirelessly during the 1876 famine and launched 52 free food hostels in Maharashtra. The Twitter handle, BhardwajSpeaks, states that there were many female teachers who existed prior to Savitribai Phule.

Quoting from ancient texts, BhardwajSpeaks pointed out that their comment was based on factual information, intending to present a broader perspective on the historical contributions of female teachers. They maintained that their remarks were not meant to defame or undermine the significance of Savitribai Phule’s pioneering work in the fields of education and women’s rights.

Earlier, the same person had become famous with the handle @TrueIndology. However, that handle was suspended by Twitter arbitrarily. Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told the legislative assembly that the police are in touch with Twitter India to identify those behind a handle @BhardwajSpeaks that posted derogatory remarks against Savitribai Phule. The Hindu Post allegedly published derogatory articles about the 19th-century social reformer. Fadnavis, who holds the home portfolio, was responding to a question by the NCP’s Jitendra Awhad during Question Hour. He said the police are awaiting a reply from Twitter India, and action will be taken after the identity of those behind the handle is established. ‘Bharadwaj Speaks’ was forced to deactivate his Twitter account after receiving legal threats over a Twitter thread on the Assam-Mizoram controversy.

‘Bharadwaj Speaks’, who earlier went by the username of True Indology, took to Twitter to speak about the violent clash between the locals of Lailapur village (Cachar district) in Assam and Vairengte village (Kolasib district) in Mizoram and posted some historical facts about Mizoram. After the tweet thread, former Mizoram governor and former adviser to the Mizo National Front Swaraj Kaushal threatened to file an FIR against him, following which Bharadwaj deactivated his Twitter account. The Mumbai Police on Wednesday night registered an FIR against websites IndicTales, HinduPost, and a Twitter account, BharadwajSpeaks, for publishing and “spreading false and malicious” content against social reformer Savitribai Phule.

Savitribai Phule’s contributions to women’s empowerment, education, and social reform are widely recognized. Whenever women in education are a topic that is being discussed, it is incomplete without mentioning her contributions. Her work has inspired a large number of women to take up teaching in India and has since revolutionized the education system as a whole. Several movies, documentaries, and television dramas have been created depicting her struggles in Marathi and Kannada media. She remains one of the most influential women India as a country has ever produced and can be eternally proud of. We cannot discredit the contributions made by her towards women’s education and social awareness. The argument about whether she was the first teacher in India or not is not really irrelevant.

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for the past 21 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. Vaidehi has three books in her name, "Sikhism vs Sickism", "Life Beyond Complications" and "Vedanti". She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs.
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