Born: 11 April, 1827
Passed Away: 28 November, 1890
Jyotiba Phule was one of the prominent social reformers of the nineteenth century in India. He led the movement against the prevailing caste-restrictions in India. He revolted against the domination of the Brahmins and for the rights of peasants and other low-caste fellow. Jyotiba Phule was believed to be the first Hindu to start an orphanage for the unfortunate children.
• Phule had read biographies of George Washington and Chhatrapti Shivaji. They were source of inspiration for him. Phule was influenced by Thomas Paine’s ideas and his book “The Rights of Man”. Phule himself has recorded that he was influenced by the ideas of Paine. In place of exploitative Indian social order, Phule wanted to establish a society founded on principles of Individual liberty and equality and in place of Hinduism he would have like to put universal religion.
• Mahatma Phule was the first defender of human equality and rights. We should understand and appreciate the profound significance of his unflinching espousal of the rights of man which remained till the end of his life a major theme of his writings and a goal of his actions.
• He was First revolutionary and leader of downtrodens, peasants and supporter of women’s education. He paved the way for the new era of social activism. He established many institutions and tried to remove manmade inequality. He was the first active leader of downtroddens and introduced us to humanity. He was propagator of Human unity and national progress.
• Dr. B.R. Ambedkar said “Mahatma Phule the greatest Shudra of modern India who made the lower classes of Hindus conscious of their slavery to the higher classes who preached the gospel that for India social democracy was more vital than independence from foreign rule.”
• Phule’s views and philosophy was based on facts, reality, experiences and observation. In that sense his philosophy was not utopiean but realistic. He was a source of inspiration for Maharshi Shinde, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, Gadgebaba and Sahu Maharaj.
• He was a Founder of many movements – 1) Movement against discrimination (2) Movement of Dalit (3) Movement of women’s education. (4) peasant’s movement (5) movement against blind faith.