Pune, Dec 6 – The iconic Bhide Wada, where Mahatma Phule and Savitribai Phule established the first girls’ school in the country, has now been officially handed over to the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) following a directive from the Supreme Court. The apex court’s decision to reject the tenants’ petition has cleared the path for the PMC to take control of the historic site and initiate plans for its transformation into a national-level memorial.
The transfer of ownership took place at midnight on Tuesday, with a significant police presence ensuring a smooth transition. NCP spokesperson Deepak Mankar expressed optimism about the future of Bhide Wada, emphasizing that a national-level memorial would be developed at the site in the near future.
The legal battle over Bhide Wada has been ongoing since 2006, with 24 tenants of the property, owned by a cooperative bank, filing a case against the PMC. After 80 hearings in the Bombay High Court, the verdict favored the PMC. Subsequently, the tenants appealed to the Supreme Court, prompting the civic body to file a caveat in the top court.
In a recent hearing, the Supreme Court rejected the tenants’ petition and ordered them to vacate the premises within one month. The court warned that failure to comply would result in the PMC forcibly acquiring the land.
Mahatma Phule and Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule had initiated the establishment of the first girls’ school in the country at Tatya Rao Bhide Wada in Budhwar Peth of Pune in 1848. Despite numerous challenges, including the legal hurdles faced in recent years, efforts are now underway to honor this historical site with the development of a national-level monument.
The handover of Bhide Wada to the PMC marks a significant milestone in preserving and celebrating the rich educational legacy associated with the Phule couple.