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Jyotiba Phule: global philosopher and maker of Modern India

Jyotiba Phule (1827-1890) initiated social change in nineteenth century India especially in Maharashtra through his philosophy. The nineteenth century was an era of social criticism and transformation that focused on nationalism, caste and gender. All major questions taken up by the reformers were connected with women’s issues such as female infanticide, child marriage, ban on women’s education, Sati, tonsuring of widows, ban on widow remarriage etc. At the same time, reformers concentrated more on reforming the social institutions of family & marriage with special emphasis on the status & rights of women. Jyotiba took up the issue of gender and caste. He revolted against the unjust caste-system under which millions of people had suffered for centuries. His revolt against the caste system integrated social and religious reform with equality. He emerged as the unchanged leader of the depressed classes in Maharashtra and was recognized as a leader of downtrodden class in allover India. He was influenced by American thinker Thomas Paine’s ideas of Rights of Man.

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