Jyotiba Phule : A Modern Indian Philosopher

Darshan: International Refereed Quarterly Research Journal for Philosophy and Yoga 1 (3-4):28-36 (2013)
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JOTIRAO GOVINDRAO PHULE occupies a unique position among the social reformers of Maharashtra in the nineteenth century. While other reformers concentrated more on reforming the social institutions of family and marriage with special emphasis on the status and right of women, Jotirao Phule revolted against the unjust caste system under which millions of people had suffered for centuries and developed a critique of Indian social order and Hinduism. During this period, number of social and political thinkers started movement against such systems and methods. These thinkers aimed at upliftment of the status of women socially, economically, educationally and politically. Of these socio-political thinkers Mahatma Phule, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, and such other have organized movement for striving equality for dalits, backward classes and women. As such, Mahatma Phule was an earliest leader, who strongly opposed gender inequality. He was in the real sense a great thinker finder of truth. He was of the view that every individual should search for the truth and mould accordingly, only then the human society can remain happy. He said that British rule provided an opportunity for the masses to get themselves liberated from the slavery of the Brahmins. But at the same time, he also criticized the British bureaucracy for its policy of supporting higher education and for its tendency to rely upon Brahmin subordinates. Interestingly, Mahatma Phule nurtured a favourable perspective of the British Rule in India because he thought it at least introduced the modern notions of justice and equality into the Indian society. He also criticized the economic policy of the British rule in many respects it was unfavorable to the poor peasants. He suggested a number of solutions to improve the conditions of the agriculture sector. In place of exploitative Indian social order, Phule wanted to establish a society founded on principles of individual liberty and equality and in place of Hinduism he would have liked to put universal religion. In this paper my attempt is to give an analysis of ideas of Mahatma Phule with his core philosophical outlook.

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Desh Raj Sirswal
Panjab University


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