Focus: GS I- Personalities in News
Why in News?
The Prime Minister, has paid tribute to the great social reformer, philosopher and writer Mahatma Jyotiba Phule on his birth anniversary.
About Jyotirao Phule:
- Born in 1827 in Satara district of Maharashtra.
- Phule was given the title of Mahatma on May 11, 1888, by Vithalrao Krishnaji Vandekar, a Maharashtrian social activist.
- His famous works:
- Tritiya Ratna (1855), Gulamgiri (1873), Shetkarayacha Aasud, or Cultivator’s Whipcord (1881), Satyashodhak Samajokt Mangalashtakasah Sarva Puja-vidhi (1887).
- Death: 28th November, 1890. His memorial is built in Phule Wada, Pune, Maharashtra.
The Phules’ endeavours and legacy
- Jyotirao, the revolutionary that he was, observed the lack of opportunities for education for young girls and women.
- He started to educate his wife (Savithribai phule) at home and trained her to become a teacher.
- Together, by 1848, the Phules started a school for girls, Shudras and Ati-Shudras in Poona.
- The historic work was started by Jyotirao when he was just 21 years old, ably supported by his 18-year-old wife.
- In 1853, Jyotirao-Savitribai opened a care centre for pregnant widows to have safe deliveries and to end the practice of infanticide owing to social norms.
- The Balhatya Pratibandhak Griha (Home for the Prevention of Infanticide) started in their own house .
- Jyotirao and Savitri did not have biological children, and adopted the child of a widow.
- Yashwantrao grew up to be a doctor, rendering his services in the 1897 Bubonic plague.
- The Satyashodhak Samaj (The Truth-Seeker’s Society) was established on September 24, 1873 by Jyotirao-Savitribai and other like-minded people.
- The Samaj advocated for social changes that went against prevalent traditions, including economical weddings, inter-caste marriages, eradication of child marriages, and widow remarriage.
- The Phules also had far-sighted goals — popularising female education, establishing an institutional structure of schools in India, and to have a society where women worked in tandem with men.