Category Archives: Savitribai Phule

10th July (1887) in Dalit History – Infanticide Prevention Home was started by Phule couple

10th July 1887 in Dalit History – Mahatma Jyotiba Phule’s letter reveals Savitribai Phule’s initiative to start Home for the Prevention of Infanticide for Brahmin widows.

Mahatma Jyotiba Phule’s wrote a letter to Under Secretary, Government of Mumbai. The letter significantly reveals that Home for the Prevention of Infanticide started by Savitribai-Jyotiba in 1863 was only for Brahmin widows and Savitribai had taken the initiative for it.

A young Brahmin widow named Kashibai used to work as a cook at the home of Jyotiba’s Brahmin friend, Govande. Kashibai was a poor, young, beautiful, honourable Brahmin widow from a good family. A scheming Shastri from the neighbourhood took advantage of this illiterate widow and as a result, she became pregnant. When all efforts at abortion failed, she gave birth to a beautiful baby. Since the Shastri refused to take up any responsibility, Kashibai was in a quandary. Fearing that society will not let her live, she killed the innocent baby by slitting its throat. She threw the body in the well in Govande’s compound, where it was later discovered. The Police filed a case against Kashibai and she was sentenced for life imprisonment in the Andamans. The incident took place in 1863. It was the first time a woman had been sentenced to such severe punishment.

10th july

Savitribai and Jyotiba were very upset and saddened by this trial and the turn of events. During that time, their own income was very limited. They were having trouble surviving but their heart was full of compassion and generosity. They immediately started a shelter home for such Brahman widows in their own house at 395, Ganj Peth, Pune. Others merely kept discussing this trial, which resonated throughout   the country but Jyotiba and Savitribai actually started work for these exploited widows.

This brings out the difference between them and others of their times. They put up advertisements all over the city and at places of pilgrimage announcing it as a way to avoid kalapani (life imprisonment in the Andamans) and thus, the information about the shelter home spread. By 1884, 35 Brahmin widows had come to them from different places. Savitribai would herself help in the delivery of their children and take care of them

In 1874, another exploited Brahmin ‘Kashibai’ came to them and they adopted her son. They brought up this child and educated him to become a medical doctor. Later, he grew up to continue the work started by them.

On the same day i.e 10 July 1887, Jyotiba made his will and got it registered at the office of the Upanibandhak (Deputy Registrar). In that, he notes with pride that Savitribai would take care of all these women as if they were her own daughters.

10th July 2


On 10th July, 1887, Mahatma Jotiba Phule made his will and noted that after his death Savitribai Phule would take care of all these women as if they were her own daughters. It was unusual at that time to appoint wife so but Mahatma Jotiba Phule always challenged the Brahmins’ ideology of discrimination.



Filed under Dalit History, Dr B R Ambedkar, Latest, Mahatma Jotiba Phule, Savitribai Phule, Today in Dalit History

3rd July (1851) in Dalit History – Mahatma Jyotiba Phule founded a girls school in Chipplunkarwada, Pune

3 July 1851: Mahatma Jyotiba Phule founded a girls school in Chipplunkarwada, Pune in which eight girls were admitted on the first day. This was India’s second formal school for girls. The first one was also founded by the Phule couple.

Today, thousands of young Indian girls study to be doctors, engineers and architects. But in the 19th century, the idea of girls being taught to read and write was scandalous.[1] Jyotiba Phule started a girls’ school in Anna Chiplunkar’s mansion at Budhwar Peth, where he taught for four hours daily without taking any salary. He set up an acting committee and handed over the management of the school to the committee, which comprised of Keshav Shivram Bhavalkar, Anna Sahastrabuddhe, Bapuraoji Mande, Vishnu Bhide, Krishnashastri Chiplunkar and Vishnushastri Pandit. Vishnushastri Pandit later became famous as the supporter of widow remarriage. The school first began with merely eight girls on the roll; soon their number rose to forty-eight. Since the financial position of the school was not very sound, Jyotirba’s wife Savitribai Phule began teaching on an honorary basis; she also became its principal.[2]

Penniless and on the street, Jyotiba, in an article published in an Ahmednagar newspaper (Dyanodaya), wrote, “I had to take up a job and Savitri Phule went in for a teacher-training course, so the school (first school at Bhidewada in Pune) was shut down for some time. We later re-started the school in Chipplunkarwada in 1851″

3rd July

3 July 1946: Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel wrote a letter to Mavlankar (who was supposed to be elected as Chair of Consituent Assembly in framing the constitution of India after Dr. Ambedkar ceased to be the member of constituent assembly after partition) where he reiterated this position in which he noted that “everybody wants [Dr. Ambedkar] now” in the constituent assembly for framing the constitution of India.[3]

3 July 2007: Mayawati joined as member of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council after elected unopposed in the by-election for the upper house of the state legislature. [5]

Mayawati declared that she chose to become MLC as she wishes to concentrate on the development of all the 403 assembly constituencies of state assembly rather than my constituency only.

[1] Hemali Chhapia and Anahita Mukerji, Educating Sita article in The Times of Indianewspaper, 9 October 2010

[2] Tarkateertha Laxmanshastri Joshi, Traslated by Daya Agarwal, Jotirao Phule essay

[3] Vallabhbhai Patel, Manibahen Patel, Sardar’s Letters, Mostly Unknown: , pt.1-2. Years 1947-’48 (2 v.) book

[5] accessed on 3 July 2013

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Jotiba Phule and Tilak and question of education for women and non brahmins

–Anoop Kumar

I am posting a few extracts from a paper written by Parimala V. Rao (“Educating Women and Non-Brahmins as ‘Loss of Nationality’: Bal Gangadhar Tilak and the Nationalist Agenda in Maharashtra”).

This was published as an ocassional paper by the Centre for Women’s Development Studies, New Delhi. She is also the author of ‘Foundations Of Tilak’s Nationalism’, published by Orient Blackswan in 2010.

I have placed the extracts point-wise for easy reading; the references given below have also been quoted from the same paper.


The nationalists, led by Bal Gangadhar Tilak, during 1881-1920, consistently opposed the establishment of girls’ schools, the imparting of education to non-Brahmins, and implementing compulsory education. They were also instrumental in defeating the proposals to implement compulsory education in nine out of eleven municipalities.The important source for this paper is Tilak’s own writings in his paper, the ‘Mahratta’.

  • The battle of Kirki in 1818 ended the Peshwa’s rule in Maharashtra. Within a decade of the fall of Brahmanical Peshwai, many intellectuals of Maharashtra began to work towards ending gender and caste inequalities. The revolt against caste disability was taken up more forcefully by Jotirao Phule.

  • He judged Hindu culture ruthlessly by applying two values – rationality and equality. The application of these two principles called for a total rejection of the unequal aspects of culture like the caste system, the authoritarian family structure, subordination of women, the ban on their education, and the enforcement of life-long widowhood and child marriages upon girls/women.

  • Jotirao Phule was the first reformer to articulate the importance of educating women and Shudras as a means of empowering them. Phule had the most radical ideas on educating women. He considered that men had kept women in an unenlightened state in order to preserve their own superiority.

  • He argued that had a holy woman written any scripture, men would not have been able to ignore the rights due to women, and would also not have waxed so eloquent about their own rights. If women were learned enough, men would never have been able to be so partial and deceitful.

  • Phule started a school for girls in 1848 and undertook the task of teaching there. He opened two more schools in 1851-52. The difficulty in obtaining teachers for his school encouraged him to teach his wife Savitri Bai who in turn began to teach in these schools. Both faced intense hostility from their society.

Jotiba Phule Vs Tilak and others

  • A small group of anti-reformists led by Vishnushastri Chiplunkar emerged in the 1870s. They were soon joined by V.N. Mandalik and Bal Gangadhar Tilak. This group called themselves Nationalists and began to analyse every reform as ‘loss of nationality or rashriyata.’ They termed the loss of caste as the loss of nationality.

  • They declared that ‘the institution of caste had been the basis of the Hindu society and undermining the caste would undermine the Hindu society’. Phule, who advocated the abolition of caste-based inequalities, was called ‘as traitors to the nation-rashtra’ by Chiplunkar and Tilak, who claimed that they represented the real Hindus.[1]

  • The campaign led by Phule and reformers for the implementation of compulsory education was opposed by Tilak . He devised various arguments against compulsory primary education. Tilak explained that teaching reading, writing, and the rudiments of history, geography and mathematics to Kunbi (peasant) children would actually harm them. This was the most definite way the elite had of avoiding competition in higher education and jobs. He also emphasised that the peasant’s children should be taught traditional occupations, and that the curriculum meant for other children was ‘unsuitable for them’. [2]

  • Criticising the reformers who pressed for compulsory education and argued that since the municipal schools were supported by public funds, they should be open to all, Tilak countered that ‘it was not public money as the entire population did not pay taxes and it was taxpayer’s money and only the taxpayers had a right to decide how this money was spent’.[3]

  • He suggested that if the government was bent upon providing education for all, then only ‘the education befitting their rank and station in life’ should be provided to the peasant’s children, while general education should be given to those who had a ‘natural inclination’ for it.[4]

  • Tilak argued that by supporting the extension of ‘liberal education for the masses the reformers were committing a grave error’ as ‘English education encouraged the people to defy the caste restrictions and the spread of English education among the natives will bring down their caste system’. Tilak argued that caste was the basis of the Hindu nation, and that it was extremely essential to preserve it to assist the process of nation-building. [5]

The Hunter Commission

  • The appointment of the Hunter Commission in 1881 to look into the issues concerning both the medium of instruction and the role of the government in maintaining educational institutions

  • Phule, in his representation, demonstrated the neglect of the primary education of the Shudras, Mahars, Mangs and Muslims in the Bombay presidency. Arguing for the cause of compulsory education, he suggested that the government should give more importance to primary education. [6]

  • Tilak opposed the admission of Mahars and Mangs to the schools. He criticised ‘the emotional British officers and impractical native reformers for encouraging the Mahar boys to seek admission into government schools’. [7]

  • Tilak also stressed that the nationalists ‘would not tolerate the alien government and anglicised reformers who in their zeal for the doctrine of the equality of mankind were interfering in the internal affairs of the Hindu society’.

  • The colonial government’s support to such an endeavour was, according to Tilak, ‘against the spirit of Queen’s proclamation, which guaranteed that the government would abstain from all interference with religious belief’.[8]

  • Tilak stated that the attempts made by ‘the indiscreet officers to force association of Mahars and Dhades on Brahmin boys was against the guarantee of religious neutrality.’ [9]

Tilak on Women’s Education

Let me stop my note here by saying that according to Tilak ‘education would make women immoral’.

[ For rest of his views on education for SC/ST/OBC and women you can directly read this excellent paper entirely at]

We have been told about Tilak that he gave the slogan ‘Swaraj is my birth right’. I want you to ponder on just two questions.

  1. What did the ‘swaraj’ he was fighting for mean for Tilak?

  2. Did Tilak’s ‘swaraj’ include SC/ST/OBC and women?



  1. Mahratta, 24 August 1884, p. 1.

  2. Mahratta, 22 March 1891, pp. 2, 3: ‘What shall we do next?’ Editorial; Mahratta, 12 April 1891, p. 3: Editorial; Mahratta, 26 April 1891, p. 2: ‘How Shall We Do It?’ Editorial.

  3. Mahratta, 15 May 1881, pp. 3-4

  4. Ibid., p. 3.

  5. Mahratta, 15 May 1881, p. 3.

  6. S. Bhattacharya, et al. (eds), Educating the Nation (New Delhi, 2003), Document no. 1, p. 1.

  7. S. Bhattacharya, Educating the Nation, Document no. 49, p. 125.

  8. Mahratta, 26 March 1882, pp. 5-6: ‘Admission of Mahar boys into Government Schools’.

  9. Ibid. p. 5.

Courtesy ― Round Table India

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Slavery/Gulamgiri book by Mahatma Jotiba Phule in Hindi and English

Download Slavery/Gulamgiri book by Mahatma Jotiba Phule in Hindi from following link – 


Download Slavery/Gulamgiri book by Mahatma Jotiba Phule in English from following links –

Mahatma Jotiba Phule

Mahatma Jotiba Phule

Check Also  – 

Mahatma Jotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule’s contribution towards women empowerment

What Mahatma Jotiba Phule Said

Books by Mahatma Jotiba Phule


Filed under Books, Dr B R Ambedkar, Mahatma Jotiba Phule, Savitribai Phule

Books/work by Mahatma Jotiba Phule

Mahatma Jyotiba Phule

Mahatma Jotiba Phule

Drama: Trutiya Ratna (1855)

Powada: Chatrapati Shivaji Raje Bhonsle Yancha (1869)

Powada: Vidyakhathatil Bramhan Pantoji (1869)

Brahmananche Kasab (1869)

Gulamgiri (1873)

Pune Satya Shodhak Samaj Report (1877)

Request letter regarding Famine (1877)

Memorial Addressed to The Hunter Education commission (1882)

Shetkarayacha Asude (1883)

Letter to Marathi Granthkar Sabha (1885)

Gramjoshya sambhandi jahir kabhar (1886)

Letter to Mama Parmanand (1886)

Sataya Shodhak Samaj-sarva puja vidhi.

Sarvajanik Satya Dharma Poostak (1891)

Letters of Mahatma Phule

Will of Mahatma Phule

Check also –

Mahatma Jotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule’s contribution towards women empowerment

What Mahatma Jotiba Phule Said


Filed under Dalit History, Dr B R Ambedkar, Mahatma Jotiba Phule, Savitribai Phule