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Jyotirao Phule

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Jyotirao Phule

November 28, 1890, Pune

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11 April 1827 (

Other names
Mahatma Phule. Jyotiba Phule / Jyotirao Phule

19th century philosophy

Main interests
Ethics, religion, humanism

Savitribai Phule (m. 1840–1890)

Shetkaryaca Asud, Selected Writings of Jotirao Phule, Slavery

Chimana Phule, Govindrao Phule.

Influenced by
Gautama Buddha, Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, Tukaram, Kabir, Thomas Paine

Similar People

Jyotirao phule social reformer and writer

Jyotirao Govindrao Phule (11 April 1827 – 28 November 1890) was an Indian social activist for the dalit people, a thinker, anti-caste social reformer and writer from Maharashtra.


Jyotirao Phule Epoch Making Revolutionary India39s greatest Social

His work extended to many fields including eradication of untouchability and the caste system, women's emancipation and the reform of Hindu family life. In September 1873, Phule, along with his followers, formed the Satyashodhak Samaj (Society of Seekers of Truth) to attain equal rights for people from lower castes. Phule is regarded as an important figure. of the social reform movement in Maharashtra. He and his wife, Savitribai Phule, were pioneers of women's Education in India. He is most known for his efforts to educate women and the lower castes. Together, they were among the first native Indians to open a school for girls in India, which they did in August 1848.

Jyotirao Phule ContributionofJyotiraoPhuleonHigherEducationjpg

Jyotiba Govindrao Phule Biography | Jyotiba Phule Achievements | Freedom Fighters of India

Early life

Jyotirao Phule Jyotirao Phule Social Reformer And Writer YouTube

Jotirao Govindrao Phule was born into a virtually illiterate family that belonged to the Mali caste of gardeners and vegetable farmers. The original surname of the family had been Gorhay(गोऱ्हे), and their family originally hailed from Katgun, a village in Khatav taluka of Satara District (now in Maharashtra state). Phule's great grandfather was worked as chaugula, a village servant. The family of his great grand father belongs tu Kshatriya Mali caste. Mahatma Jyotiba's great granddfather had settled in Khanwadi Taluka Saswad Dist Pune. There a son was born, Shetiba, a grandfather of Jyotiba Phule and his grandfather prospered after starting a business of selling flowers, garlands and flower arrangements for religious and social events like weddings. The family owned some farmland as well as a shop in the city. Since Phule's father and two uncles served as florists under the last of the Peshwas, whose patronage they enjoyed, the family came to be known as 'Phule' (flower-man).

Jyotirao Phule Remembering Jyotiba Phule on His 189th Birth Anniversary April 11

Phule's father, Govindrao, carried on the family business along with his brothers. His mother, Chimnabai, died when he was only nine months old, and he had one elder brother. The Mali community did not set much store by education, and after attending primary school to learn the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic, Phule was withdrawn from school. He joined the menfolk of his family at work, both in the shop and the farm. However, a Christian convert from the same Mali caste as Phule, recognised his intelligence and persuaded Phule's father to allow Phule to attend the local Scottish Mission's High School run by Murray Mitchell. Phule completed his English schooling in 1847. As per custom, he was married young, at the age of 13, to a girl of his own community, chosen by his father.

Jyotirao Phule Jyotirao Govindrao Phule Essay In English For School Students

The turning point in his life was in 1848, when he attended the wedding of a friend, who was a Brahmin. Phule participated in the customary marriage procession, but was later rebuked and insulted by his friend's parents for doing that. They told him that he being from a lower caste should have had the sense to keep away from that ceremony. This incident profoundly affected Phule on the injustice of the caste system.

Social activism

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.

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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. Later they started schools for children from Dalit castes of Mahar and Mang. In 1852, three schools established by Jyotirao were running. Unfortunately, by 1858, they had all stopped. Eleanor Zelliott blames the closure on private European donations drying up due to the Mutiny of 1857, withdrawal of government support, and Jyotirao resigning from the school management committee because of disagreement on the school curriculum. He championed widow remarriage and started a home for lower and upper caste widows in 1854, as well as a home for new-born infants to prevent female infanticide. Phule tried to eliminate the stigma of social untouchability surrounding the lower castes by opening his house and the use of his water-well to the members of the lower castes.

Views on religion and caste

Untouchable castes in Pune during Jyotiba's time were kept segregated from the rest of the society. Jyotiba did not like this kind of discrimination. He also saw Rama, the hero of the Indian epic Ramayana as a symbol of oppression stemming from the Aryan conquest. Phule's critique of the caste system began with his attack on the Vedas, the most fundamental texts of upper caste Hindus. He considered them to be a form of false consciousness.. He criticised the role of Brahmins in Hindu society and blamed the Brahmins as conspiring to keep the lower castes oppressed and suppressed. In his book, Gulamgiri, He openly thanks Christian missionaries and the British colonists for making the lower castes realise that they are worthy of all human rights too

Phule believed in overthrowing the social system in which people had been deliberately made dependent on others, illiterate, ignorant and poor, with a view to exploiting them. To him blind faith eradication formed part of a broad socio-economic transformation. This was his strategy for ending exploitation of human beings. Mere advice, education and alternative ways of living are not enough, unless the economic framework of exploitation comes to an end. His most famous poem reads: “Lack of education leads to lack of wisdom, / Which leads to lack of morals, / Which leads to lack of progress, / Which leads to lack of money, / Which leads to the oppression of the lower classes, / See what state of the society one lack of education can cause!”

Notably he dedicated his book Gulamgiri ( slavery), a seminal on women, Caste and reform, to the African American movement to end slavery. His akhandas were organically linked to the abhangs of Marathi Varkari saint Tukaram

He is credited with introducing the Marathi word dalit (broken, crushed) as a descriptor for those people who were outside the traditional varna system. The terminology was later popularised in the 1970s by the Dalit Panthers.

At an education commission hearing in 1884, Phule also called for help in providing education for lower castes. To implement it, he advocated making primary education compulsory in villages. He also asked for special incentives to get more lower caste people in high schools and colleges

Satyashodhak Samaj

On 24 September 1873, Phule formed Satyashodhak Samaj (Society of the seekers of truth), to focus on rights of depressed classes. As the first president and treasurer, he opposed idolatry and denounced the caste system. Satyashodhak Samaj campaigned for the spread of rational thinking and rejected the need for priests. Savitribai became the head of the women's section, which included ninety female members. After Phule's death in 1890 his followers continued the Samaj campaign in the remote parts of Maharashtra..After Jyotiba and Savitribai, the activities of the samaj were supported by Chhatrapati Shahu, the Maratha ruler of Kolhapur State.


Apart from his role as a social activist, Phule was a businessman too. In 1882 memorial, he styled himself as a merchant, cultivator and Municipal Contractor.

Jyotirao owned 60 acres of farmland at Manjri near Pune. For period of time, he worked as a contractor for the government and supplied building materials required for the construction of a dam on the Mula-Mutha river near Pune in the 1870s..Apart from the dam, he also got contracts to provide labor for the construction of the Katraj Tunnel and the Yerawda Jail near Pune One of Phule's businesses, established in 1863, was to supply metal-casting equipment.

Phule was appointed Commissioner (Municipal Council Member) to the then Poona municipality in 1876 and served in this unelected position until 1883.


According to Keer, Phule was bestowed with the title of Mahatma on 11 May 1888 by another social reformer from Bombay, Vithalrao Krishnaji Vandekar.

Phule has been commemorated numerous times in Maharashtra as well as other parts of India. Universities (such as in Jaipur), museums (Pune), vegetable markets (Pune, Mumbai) have been named after him.

Court of Directors, London had acknowledged his work among so-called lower castes.

Published works

Among Phule's notable published works are:

  • Tritiya Ratna, 1855
  • Brahmananche Kasab,1869
  • Powada : Chatrapati Shivajiraje Bhosle Yancha, [English: Life Of Shivaji, In Poetical Metre], June 1869
  • Powada: Vidyakhatyatil Brahman Pantoji, June 1869
  • Manav Mahammand (Muhammad) (Abhang)
  • Gulamgiri, 1873
  • 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
  • Akhandadi Kavyarachana
  • Asprashyanchi Kaifiyat
  • Commemoration

    An early biography of Phule was the Marathi-language Mahatma Jotirao Phule yanche charitra (P. S. Patil, Chikali: 1927). Two others are Mahatma Phule. Caritra Va Kriya (Mahatma Phule. Life and Work) (A. K. Ghorpade, Poona: 1953), which is also in Marathi, and Mahatma Jyotibha Phule: Father of Our Social Revolution (Dhananjay Keer, Bombay: 1974). Unpublished material relating to him is held by the Bombay State Committee on the History of the Freedom Movement.

    There are many structures and places commemorating Phule. These include:

  • The full-length statue inaugurated at the premises of Vidhan Bhavan (Assembly Building of Maharashtra State)
  • Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Mandai, also known as Crawford Market, in Mumbai
  • Mahatma Phule Museum in Pune
  • Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth (Agricultural University) in Rahuri, Ahmednagar District, Maharashtra.
  • Mahathma Phule Mandai, the biggest vegetable market in Pune
  • M. J. P. Rohilkhand University
  • Subharti College of Physiotherapy was formerly named after him
  • G. P. Deshpande's biographical play Satyashodhak (The Truth Seeker) was first performed by Jan Natya Manch in 1992.
  • Mahatma Phule inspired Babasaheb Ambedkar, the first minister of law of Republic India and the architect of Indian Constitution.


    Jyotirao Phule Wikipedia