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Savitribai Phule
Savitribai Phule

Prabhakar Waghodekar
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The Indina youth both girls and boys need to to be exposed to the great deeds of Savitribai Phule and Jyotiba. It is a call of the day. It is vital to inculcate values amongst our youths.

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Posted On : 12/21/2008 2:48:27 AM

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Abhi Tripathi
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Indeed Righty said.

Posted On : 2/23/2009 8:44:19 PM

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Niran Kumar
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Savitribai Phule, wife of Jyotiba Phule, was a true social worker. He tried hard to educate the girls. Her sacrifice for the cause of betterment of the People make her popular among the people.

Posted On : 3/20/2009 12:18:13 AM

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Riya Sen
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Savitribai Jotiba Phule, a social reformer was born on January 3, 1831. She along with her husband, Mahatma Jotiba Phule played an important role in improving women s rights in India during the British Raj. Savitribai was the first female teacher of the first women s school in India and also considered as the pioneer of modern Marathi poetry. In 1852 she opened a school for Untouchable girls. Savitribai Phule was born in a well to do farmer s family at Naigon, Tal. Khandala, Dist. Satara. When she was nine, she got married to Jyotirao Phule, who was 12-year-old then. This early marriage was pretty much common practice of those times. She was encouraged by her husband to get educated and thus started her journey in the emancipation of the women-folk of her village. She started her education in 1841 and passed third and fourth year examination from normal school in 1846-47. She was the first female to get school education in Modern India. Jyotirao, then called as Jyotiba was Savitribai s mentor and supporter. Under his influence Savitribai had taken women s education and their liberation from the cultural patterns of the male-dominated society as mission of her life. She worked towards tackling some of the then major social problems including women s liberation, widow remarriages and removal of untouchability. Savitribai and Jyotiba faced fierce resistance from the orthodox elements of society for this. They had to separate from their in-laws family under this pressure. Jyotiba sent her to a to a training school from where she passed out with flying colours along with a Muslim lady Fatima Sheikh. When Savitribai completed her studies, she along, with her husband, started a school for girls in Pune in 1848. Nine girls, belonging to different castes enrolled themselves as students. Leaving the house in the morning and going to the school was an ordeal for Savitribai. Orthodox society was not prepared for this misadventure as women s education was frowned upon then. It was believed that if a woman starts writing she would write letters to all. People claimed that the food, her husband ate would turn into worms and she would lose him by his untimely death. However, apart from all these oppositions, Savitribai yet continued to teach the girls. Whenever Savitribai went out of her house, groups of orthodox men would follow her and abuse her in obscene language. They would throw rotten eggs, cow dung, tomatoes and stones at her. She would walk meekly and arrive at her school. Fed up with the treatment meted out to her, she even decided to give up. But it was because of her husband that she continued with her efforts. Jyotiba purposely gave her two saris. He told Savitribai to wear the coarse sari on her way to the school to receive all the filth that society heaped on her, whereas the other one was to change before her classes. She would then, again wear the same dirty sari while returning home. The ordeal continued for a long time till Savitribai had to slap a person who tried to molest her. That slap brought to an end her ordeal and she continued her job of teaching. Slowly and steadily, she established herself. Jyotiba and Savitribai managed to open 5 more schools in the year 1848 itself. She was ultimately honoured by the British for her educational work. In 1852 Jyotiba and Savitribai were felicitated and presented with a shawl each by the government for their commendable efforts in Vishrambag Wada. Savitribai and Jyotiba were moved by the plight of such widows and castigated the barbers. They organised a strike of barbers and persuaded them not to shave the heads of widows. This was the first strike of its kind. They also fought against all forms of social prejudices. They were moved to see the untouchables who were refused drinking water meant for the upper caste. Both Jyotiba and Savitribai opened up their reservoir of water to the untouchables in the precincts of their house. Savitribai was not only involved in educational activities of Jyotirao but also in every social struggle that he launched. Once Jyotiba stopped a pregnant lady from committing suicide, promising her to give her child his name after it was born. Savitribai readily accepted the lady in her house and willingly assured to help her deliver the child. Savitribai and Jyotiba later on adopted this child who then grew up to become a doctor and after Jyotiba s death, lit his pyre and completed his duties as a rightful son. This incident opened new horizons for the couple. They thought of the plight of widows in Hindu society. Many women were driven to commit suicide by men who had exploited them to satisfy their lust and then deserted them. Therefore, Savitribai and Jyotiba put boards on streets about the Delivery Home for women on whom pregnancy had been forced. The delivery home was called Balhatya Pratibandhak Griha . Jyotiba and Savitribai were also opposed to idolatry and championed the cause of peasants and workers. They faced social isolation and vicious attacks from people whom they questioned. After his demise, Savitribai took over the responsibility of Satya Shodhak Samaj, founded by Jyotiba. She presided over meetings and guided workers. In 1868 she welcomed untouchables to take water from her well. She worked relentlessly for the victims of plague, where she organized camps for poor children. It is said that she used to feed two thousand children every day during the epidemic. By a strange irony, she herself was struck by the disease while nursing a sick child and died on 10 March 1897. Savitribai s poems and other writings are still an inspiration to others. Two books of her poems were published, Kavya Phule in 1934 and Bavan Kashi Subodh Ratnakar in 1982. Recently the Maharashtra government started an award in her name for Women Who Work Social Causes. Jotiba and Savitribai opposed idolatry and championed the cause of peasants and workers. Both faced social isolation and vicious attacks from the people whom they questioned. Savitribai s letters give us a good idea about the experiences of women during this social movement. On her death anniversary, a postage stamp was released by the Department of Post and Telegraph. On March 10, 1998 a stamp was released by Indian post to honour Savitribai s contribution.

Posted On : 4/15/2009 1:42:03 AM

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subramanya s
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When Phule established the SatyaShodhak Samaj, Savitribai became the head of the women s section which included ninety female members citation needed . Moreover, she worked tirelessly as a school teacher for girls. Deenbandhu publication, the mouthpiece of the Satya Shodhak Samaj, played an important role in SatyaShodhak Samaj s movement. After Jotiba s death in 1890 his spirited followers went on spreading the movement to the remotest parts of Maharashtra. Shahu Maharaj, the ruler of Kolhapur princely state, gave a lot of financial and moral support to Satya Shodhak Samaj. In its new incarnation party carried on the work of superstition removal vigorously. Jotiba firmly believed that if you want to create a new social system based on freedom, equality, brotherhood, human dignity, economic justice and value devoid of exploitation, you will have to overthrow the old, unequal and exploitative social system and the values on which it is based. Knowing this well, Jotiba attacked blind faith and faith in what is given in religious books and the so-called god s words. He tore to pieces the misleading myths that were ruling over the minds of women, shudras and ati-shudras. Yielding to god or fate, astrology and other such rituals, sacredness, god-men, etc. was deemed irrational and absurd. citation needed He also led campaigns to remove the economic and social handicaps that breed blind faith among women, shudras and ati-shudras. Jotiba subjected religious texts and religious behavior to the tests of rationalism. He characterised this faith as outwardly religious but in essence politically motivated movements. He accused them of upholding the teachings of religion and refusing to rationally analyse religious teachings. He maintained that at the root of all calamities was the blind faith that religious books were created or inspired by god. Therefore, Phule wanted to abolish this blind faith in the first instance. All established religious and priestly classes find this blind faith useful for their purposes and they try their best to defend it. He questions if there is only one God, who created the whole mankind, why did he write the Vedas only in Sanskrit language despite his anxiety for the welfare of the whole mankind? What about the welfare of those who do not understand this language? Phule concludes that it is untenable to say that religious texts were God-created. To believe so is only ignorance and prejudice. All religions and their religious texts are man-made and they represent the selfish interest of the classes, which are trying to pursue and protect their selfish ends by constructing such books. Phule was the only sociologist and humanist in his time that could put forth such bold ideas. In his view, every religious book is a product of its time and the truths it contains have no permanent and universal validity. Again these texts can never be free from the prejudices and the selfishness of the authors of such books. citation needed Phule believed in overthrowing the social system in which man has been deliberately made dependent on others, illiterate, ignorant and poor, with a view to exploiting him. To him blind faith eradication formed part of a broad socioeconomic transformation. This was his strategy for ending exploitation of human beings. Mere advice, education and alternative ways of living are not enough, unless the economic framework of exploitation comes to an end. citation needed edit Religion Jotirao Phule was a Hindu. His akhandas were based on the abhangs of Hindu saint Tukaram 3 a Moray Shudra . He believed in and followed the the Bhakti tradition. 4 His own hero was Chhatrapati Shivaji. He called Shivaji a ...destroyer of the Muslims . 5 He believed that they were a degenerative force 6 He was a subscriber to Maharishi Vitthal Ramji Shinde s magazine, Dnyanodaya. 6 Maharishi Shinde was a Harijan or untouchable and a member of the reform Prarthana Samaj. He did not like the castists of Tamil Nadu using Rama as a symbol of oppression of Aryan conquest. 7 Attack on the sanctity of Vedas Jyotirao Phule s critique of the caste system began with his attack on the Vedas. He considered Vedas a form of false consciousness . 8 He believed that the true inhabitants of Bharat are the Astik. 9 This was also the view spoken by Keshavarao Jehde. 10 edit Merger into Congress party After Jotiba s death in 1890, there was a period of lull, when the flame lit by Jotiba waned. The Satya Shodhak Samaj movement was totally a social movement and nothing to do with the politics, but the members of Satya Shodhak Samaj dissolved Satya Shodhak Samaj and merged it with Congress party in 1930. Phule had a favourable opinion about the British Rule in India at least from the point of view of introducing modern notions of justice and equality in Indian society and taking India into the future. edit Social activism He was assisted in his work by his wife, Savitribai Phule, and together they started the first school for girls in India in 1848, for which he was forced to leave his home. He initiated widow-remarriage and started a home for 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. He formed Satya Shodhak Samaj Society of Seekers of Truth on September 24, 1873, a group whose main aim was to liberate the social Shudra and Untouchables castes from exploitation and oppression. Phule was a member of Pune municipality from 1876 to 1882. edit Connection with women activists Savitribai Phule on a stamp-posterSome of India s first modern feminists were closely associated with Phule, including his wife Savitribai Phule Pandita Ramabai, a Brahmin woman who made waves in the atmosphere of liberal reformism Tarabai Shinde, the non-brahmin author of a fiery tract on gender inequality which was largely ignored at the time but has recently become well-known and Muktabai, a fourteen-year-old pupil in Phule s school, whose essay on the social oppression of the Mang and Mahar castes is also now justly famous.

Posted On : 11/17/2009 7:26:30 AM

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