In India, Maharashtra a state with cultural heritage and is also land of social thinkers, social reforms and social revolutionaries who have not only molded and enriched all facets of life of Maharashtra but have also made singular contribution to growth and development of India .In this website of the great social reformer – Mahatma Phule, contempory of KARL MARX, we have the “patria protesta” of the Indian social revolution and the first leader of peasants.
In those days there was a conflict between the rationalist and the orthodox. His period can, therefore, be a aptly described as the dawn of revolution in the history not only of Maharashtra but of the country as a whole in the various fields like Education, Caste Systems, Agriculture, Economics, Women and widow upliftment , Human Rights, Untouchability ,Social Equality.
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MAHATMA JYOTIRAO GOVINDRAO PHULE occupies a unique position among the social reformers of Maharashtra in the nineteenth century. While other reformers concentrated more on reforming the social institutions of family and marriage with special emphasis on the status and rights of women, Jotirao Phule revolted against the unjust caste system under which million of people had suffered for centuries. In particular, he courageously upheld the cause of the untouchables and took up the cudgels for the poorer peasants. He was a militant advocate of their rights. The story of his stormy life is an inspiring saga of a continuous struggle, which he waged relentlessly against the forces of reaction. What was remarkable was his ability to stand up against all kinds of pressure without faltering even once and act always according to his convictions. Though some keen observers of the social scene in Maharashtra like Narayan Mahadeo Parmanand did acknowledge his greatness in his lifetime, it is only in recent decades that there is increasing appreciation of his service and sacrifice in uplifting the masses.
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Jotirao Phule was born in 1827. His father, Govindrao was a vegetable vendor at Poona. Originally Jotirao’s family, known as Gorhays, came from Katugan, a village in the Satara district of Maharashtra. His grandfather Shetiba Gorhay settled down in Poona. Since Jotirao’s father and two uncles served as florists under the last of the Peshwas, they came to be known as ‘Phules’. Jotirao’s mother passed away when he was hardly one year old. After completing his primary education, Jotirao had to leave the school and help his father by working on the family’s farm. Jotirao’s marriage was celebrated when he was not even thirteen.