(Last Updated on : 16/09/2017)
Jyotirao Govindrao Phule, more popular as Jyotirao Phule, was a thinker, activist
, social reformer
, theologist, scholar and editor. He was also called Mahatma Jyotiba Phule. Phule and his wife, Savitribai Phule
were pioneers of womens education in India
. His great contribution was prominent in the field of education
, caste system
, women and widow upliftment and removal of untouchability. He is very popular for his efforts to educate women of the lower caste as well as the masses.
Early Life of Jyotirao Phule
Jyotirao Phule was born on 11th April, 1827 in Katgun, a village
in Satara district
. His father Govindrao worked as a vegetable
vendor and his family belonged to the "Mali" caste, considered inferior to the Brahmins. He attended primary school but left his studies to work in the farms. However, his neighbours who recognized the childs intelligence convinced his father to let him continue his education. He got married to Savitribai at an early age of 13. Jyotirao Phule went to the local Scottish Missions High School and passed out in 1847.
Satya Shodhak Samaj by Jyotirao Phule
On 24th September 1873, Jyotirao Phule formed Satya Shodhak Samaj (Society of Seekers of Truth) with the objective of liberating the Sudras
to prevent their "exploitation" by Brahmins
. He was the first president
and treasurer of Satya Shodhak Samaj.
Phule, through the organization refused to regard the Vedas
as sacrosanct. He also opposed the idea and even rejected the Caste system. This organization also propounded the spread of rational thinking and refused the need for Brahmin priestly class as educational and religious leaders. He was also against those particular Brahmins who were using religion and blind faith of masses for their own monetary gains.
Contribution of Jyotirao Phule on Education
After educating his wife, Jyotirao Phule opened a school for girls in India in August 1948. This was actually the second school for girls in India. He supported widow remarriage
and started a home for upper caste widows in 1854. In the same year, he also started a home for new-born infants to prevent female infanticide.
Achievements of Jyotirao Phule
Jyotirao Phule had devoted his 40 years of life to social service fighting for the rights of the bahujans. To mark this accomplishment, the bahujans, Satyashodhak leaders and workers decided to felicitate Jyotirao Phule. Hence on 11th May 1888, he was honoured with the title of Mahatma by another social reformer from Mumbai
, Rao Bahadur Vithalrao Krishnaji Vandekar.
Bibliography of Jyotirao Phule
Some of the notable published works of Jyotirao Phule include;
Gramjoshya sambhandi jahir kabhar
Akhandadi Kavyarachana, etc.
After Jyotirao Phules death on 28th November, 1890 his followers continued the Samaj campaign to the remotest parts of Maharashtra.