Prime Minister Narendra Modi has paid tributes to Mahatma Phule on his birth anniversary and said that the latter’s selfless efforts towards social reform, women empowerment and education had transformative impacts.
“I bow to Mahatma Phule on his jayanti. His selfless efforts towards social reform, women empowerment and education had transformative impacts,” he said.
Jyotirao Govindrao Phule, also known as Mahatma Phule, was an activist, thinker, social reformer and writer from Maharashtra.
His work extended in 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 peasants and 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. He opened the first school for girls in India in August 1848.
Later, he started schools for the children from Dalit castes of Mahar and Mang.
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.