History- Important places, persons in news

Legacy of Savitribai and Jyotirao Phule

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Jyotiba Phule

Mains level : NA

Maharashtra Governor has recently received flak for his remarks on the social reformist couple Jyotirao and Savitribai Phule.

Who were the Phules?

  • Mahatma Jyotirao and Savitribai Phule stand out as an extraordinary couple in the social and educational history of India.
  • They spearheaded path-breaking work towards female education and empowerment, and towards ending caste- and gender-based discrimination.
  • In 1840, at a time when child marriages were common, Savitri at the age of ten was married to Jyotirao, who was thirteen years old at the time.
  • The couple later in life strove to oppose child marriage and also organised widow remarriages.

The Phules’ endeavors and legacy

  • Education: Jyotirao, the revolutionary that he was, observed the lack of opportunities for education for young girls and women.
  • Leaders of the masses: He started to educate his wife at home and trained her to become a teacher. Together, by 1848, the Phules started a school for girls, Shudras and Ati-Shudras in Poona.
  • Widow shelter: The historic work was started by Jyotirao when he was just 21 years old, ably supported by his 18-year-old wife. In 1853, Jyotirao-Savitribai opened a care centre for pregnant widows to have safe deliveries and to end the practice of infanticide owing to social norms.
  • Prevention of infanticide: The Balhatya Pratibandhak Griha (Home for the Prevention of Infanticide) started in their own house at 395, Ganj Peth, Pune.

The Satyashodhak Samaj:

  • Literally meaning ‘The Truth-Seeker’s Society’ was established on September 24, 1873 by Jyotirao-Savitribai and other like-minded people.
  • The Samaj advocated for social changes that went against prevalent traditions, including economical weddings, inter-caste marriages, eradication of child marriages, and widow remarriage.
  • The Phules also had far-sighted goals — popularising female education, establishing an institutional structure of schools in India, and to have a society where women worked in tandem with men.

 

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