Opened the first indigenous school for girls at the age of 21 . He worked all his life against evils like child marriage, suppression of women's education, casteism, prohibition of widow remarriage, and infanticide. Babasaheb Ambedkar called him his guru and intellectual father.
Who are we talking about?
We are talking about 'Mahatma Jyotiba Phule' . Today is his death anniversary. Let's meet them:
➖ Jyotirao Govindrao Phule, born in 1827, was born in a so-called lower caste family. People of the 'Phule' family worked as flower sellers, hence adopting the surname Phule.
➖ Jyotiba was a brilliant student. It was not common for children of the Mali community to study much. So Jyotiba was expelled from school and started working in the fields. But seeing his intelligence, a neighbor convinced his father to let him complete his studies.
➖ Once Jyotiba went to the wedding of one of his friends from the 'upper' caste. The groom's relatives insulted Jyotiba about her caste. Then he vowed to challenge the caste system and left from there.
➖ Jyotiba was influenced by Thomas Paine's book 'The Rights of Man'. He believed that the only solution to fight social evils was the enlightenment of women and the oppressed classes.
➖ In 1848 he taught his wife Savitribai to read and write. After this, he opened the first indigenous school for girls in Pune. At this time he was 21 years old and Savitribai was only 18 years old. The school welcomed female students from all religions and social and economic backgrounds.
➖ Seeing this, Jyotiba and Savitribai were ostracized from society. However, his friend Usman Shaikh welcomed him at his home. From where the girls' school continued to operate. By 1852, Jyotiba had established three schools. However, due to lack of funds after the rebellion of 1857, they all closed by 1858.
➖ Jyotiba strongly opposed child marriage and raised his voice in support of widow remarriage. He was also fighting the evil of 'infanticide'. In 1863, along with his friend and wife, he also opened an infanticide prevention center.
➖ Along with being a social reformer, Jyotiba was also a businessman, writer, and member of the Municipal Council. He was appointed Commissioner of Poona Municipality and served in this post till 1883.
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