On January 9, this year Google Doodle celebrates the country’s first Muslim woman educator, Fatima Sheikh, on her 191st Birthday.
Google celebrates renowned personalities on their birthdays dedicating a special doodle to honour them.
Sheikh, born on January 9, 1831, in Pune, was a feminist and an icon who co-founded one of India’s first schools for girls, the Indigenous Library in 1848, alongside social reformers Jyotirao Phule and Savitribai Phule.
Sheikh reportedly met Savitribai Phule at a teacher training institution run by an American missionary, Cynthia Farrar. She also took part in the founding of two schools in Bombay in 1851.
Phule and Sheikh taught the marginalised communities of Dalit, Muslim – women and children, who were discriminated against, based on religion, caste, or gender and denied education.
Sheikh actively took part in the equality movement, ‘Satyashodhak Samaj’ (Truthseekers’ Society), to provide educational opportunities to the downtrodden communities. She went door-to-door to invite people to the Indigenous Library, seek education and break through the rigid Indian caste system.
The movement faced backlash and resistance from the dominant classes, who attempted to humiliate all those involved, but miserably failed.
The Indian government has recognised her work for society by featuring her profiles in Undu textbooks alongside other prominent educators.