To uplift women, especially widows who were the most oppressed one that time, she roamed to foreign to raise funding to support the cause.
Born in Mangalore, Karnataka Ramabai was a social reformer and a pioneer in education. She is the first woman who got the title of Pandita as a Sanskrit scholar and Sarasvati after being examined by the faculty of the University of Calcutta.
She was already a known educationist before she turned 20. She, along with her brother, had toured the country in order to spread awareness about female education. After the death of her husband, she moved to Pune and founded the Arya Mahila samaj which showed her determination and commitment for the cause.
Ramabai born on 23rd April in the forest of Ganamal in Maharashtra to Lakshmibai High caste Hindu Brahmin named Anant Shastri, who was a social reformer and was interested in educating girls. Anant was very learned in Sanskrit he used to read the Puranas in temples for livelihood. However, because of his cause to support women education and women upliftment he used to teach Sanskrit and Puranas to her wife for that he was abandoned by the society. The village Brahmans shunned him and he decided to leave the village and built a home in the forest. Soon Ramabai was born. Ramabai was the youngest of the three surviving children. In her early life, the family started moving from forest to forest and town to town.
Being born and brought up in a Hindu family, later in her life she got a lot of fascination towards Christianity and became a staunch believer. In September 1883, Pandita Ramabai converted to Christianity. This was while she was living at Wantage as a guest of the Anglican Community of St Mary the Virgin. Her conversion created shock throughout India. Because of her Brahminical background and from being a highly respected family in India.
She has got an invitation from America to attend her cousins Anandibai Joshi’s graduation ceremony, a very first Indian female doctor. A year later in December 1887, the American Ramabai Association was formed in Boston by her admirers, where she was able to gather financial support for residential schools for Hindu widows. For the same cause, she wrote the book- ‘The High Cast Hindu Women’ and sold 10 thousand copies of it. She highlighted the Brahmanical patriarchy in her book that too, especially in Maharashtra. By 1888, she had collected 30,000 dollars for her association through many sources.
1889 she Returned to India
She returned back to India in 1889 and started Sharada Sadan (or Home for Learning) in Mumbai, with an aim to empower widow women. Her institution was the first of its kind to provide a residential school for Brahman women, especially to the widows and unmarried girls.
Due to her determination for the cause, she got wide support from other social reformers throughout the country. In 1889, famine hit Pune city and to control it, the government placed restrictions on the movement of people also a limit was placed on the number of people who could reside in Sharada Sadan. Ramabai went to Khedgaon near Pune, and purchased 100 acres of land, and set up Mukti Mission, where she provided housing to women and children attending schools.
For more such informative articles stay tuned to OWN Guru.