Early Life of Jyotirao Phule
Jyotirao Phule was born on 11th April, 1827 in Katgun, a village in Satara district of Maharashtra. 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 presidentand 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. After Jyotirao Phules death his followers continued the Samaj campaign to the remotest parts of Maharashtra.
Contribution of Jyotirao Phule for Women
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.
Occupation of Jyotirao Phule
Apart from being a social activist, Phule was a businessman by profession. In 1882, he was doing business as a merchant, cultivator and municipal contractor. Jyotirao Phule also worked as a contractor for government where he supplied materials for the construction of a dam near Mula-Mutha River. He had 60 acres of farmland at Manjri near Pune. In the year 1876, he was appointed as municipal council member and he served in this position till the year 1883.
Published Works of Jyotirao Phule
The notable works of Jyotirao Phule, which have been published, are:
Tritiya Ratna, 1855
Powada : Chatrapati Shivajiraje Bhosle Yancha, June 1869
Powada: Vidyakhatyatil Brahman Pantoji, June 1869
Manav Mahammand (Muhammad) (Abhang)
Shetkarayacha Aasud (Cultivator's Whipcord), July 1881
Satsar Ank 1, June 1885
Satsar Ank 2, October 1885
Ishara, October 1885
Gramjoshya sambhandi jahir kabhar, (1886)
Satyashodhak Samajokt Mangalashtakasah Sarva Puja-vidhi, 1887
Sarvajanik Satya Dharma Poostak, April 1889
Sarvajanic Satya Dharmapustak, 1891
Recognitions to 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. Some biographical books have also been written on Jyotirao Phules life. Some statues have been constructed and some places have been named after him to commemorate his contributions towards Indian society. In 1977, government of India introduced postal stamp in the name of Jyotirao Phule.
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Jyotirao Phule, Indian Social Reformer