Modern History Simplified: Mahatma Jyotirao Phule

Mahatma Jyotirao Phule
  1. He belonged to the mali (gardener) community.
  2. After reading Thomas Paine’s famous book ‘The Rights of Man’, Jyotirao was greatly influenced by his ideas. He believed that enlightenment of the women and lower caste people was the only solution to combat the social evils.
  3. Organised a powerful movement against upper caste domination and brahminical supremacy and founded the Satyashodhak Samaj (Truth Seekers’ Society) in 1873.
  4. Jyotirao Phule was the first person to coin the term ‘Dalits’ to apply to all people considered lower caste and untouchables by the Brahmins.
  5. The main objective was social service and spread of education among lower caste and women
  6. Phule’s works, Sarvajanik Satyadharma and Gulamgiri, became sources of inspiration for the common masses.
  7. Phule aimed at the complete abolition of the caste system and socio-economic inequalities.
  8. He was against Sanskritic Hinduism. For instance, Phule used the symbol of Rajah Bali as opposed to the brahmins’ symbol of Rama.
  9. Phule, a firm believer in gender equality, was a pioneer in women’s education. For instance, with the help of his wife, Savitribai, opened a girls’ school at Poona.
  10. He was a pioneer of the widow remarriage movement in Maharashtra and also opened a home for widows in 1854.
  11. Phule was awarded the title ‘Mahatma’ for his social reform work. The title of Mahatma was given by social reformer Vithalrao Krishnaji Vandekar to Jyotirao Phule

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