In 1848, Jyotiba visited the first girl’s school in Ahmadnagar, run by Christian missionaries. It was also in 1848 that Young Jyotiba read Thomas Paine’s book Rights of Man (1791), and developed a keen sense of social justice. He realised that lower castes and women were at a disadvantage in Indian society, and also that education of these sections was vital to their emancipation.
To this end, Jyotirao at the age of 22 first taught reading and writing to his wife, Savitribai, and then the couple started the first indigenously run school for girls in Pune in 1848, for which he was forced to leave his parental home. When they were ostracised by their family and community, their friend Usman Sheikh and his sister Fatima Sheikh provided them their home to stay and helped them to start the very first girl’s school in their premises.