orphanage for the unfortunate children.
Personal Life: Born in Satara district of Maharashtra in 1827, he
belonged to the "mali" caste. His mother passed away when he was nine
months old. He was intelligent but due to poor financial conditions at
home, he had to stop his studies at an early age. He started helping his
father by working on the family"s farm. Recognising the talent of the child
prodigy, few months later, a neighbour persuaded his father to send him to
school. In 1841, Jyotirao got admission in the Scottish Mission"s High
School, Poona. He was married to Savitribai, when he was 13 years old.
He devoted his entire life for the liberation of untouchables from the
exploitation of Brahmins. He revolted against the tyranny of the upper
castes. On 28 November, 1890, this great reformer passed away.
Reform Movement: In 1848, an incident took place in his life that later
sparked off the dalit revolution in the Indian society. Jyotirao made up his
mind to defy the prevailing caste system and social restrictions. He then
started his campaign of serving the people of lower castes who were
deprived of all their rights as human beings. After reading Thomas Paine"s
famous book "The Rights of Man", Jyotirao was greatly influenced by his
ideas. He believed that enlightenment of the women and lower caste
people was the only solution to combat the social evils.
Jyotirao attacked the orthodox Brahmins and other upper castes and
termed them as ‘hypocrites’. He campaigned against the authoritarianism
of the upper caste people. In 1851, he established a girls" school and asked
his wife to teach the girls in the school. Later, he opened two more schools
for the girls and a separate school for the lower castes. To protect the
widows and their children, he established an orphanage in 1854.
Satya Shodhak Samaj: After tracing the history of the Brahmin
domination in India, Jyotirao blamed the Brahmins for framing the
inhuman laws. He concluded that the laws were made to suppress the
shudras and rule over them. In 1873, Jyotiba Phule formed the Satya
Shodhak Samaj (Society of Seekers of Truth). The purpose of the
organization was to liberate the people of lower-castes from the
suppression of the Brahmins.