Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Mahatma Jyotirao Phule

(Tribute on the eve of his 188th birthday falling on 11th APRIL 2015)             

  Ever since the Aryan invaded Indian soil  and Hindu religion got divided into castes rigidities and Hindu society got divided into low and upper castes This regularly  increased the miseries of the low caste people termed as untouchables or Dalits, Shudras, Ati Shudras. All doors of progress, social, economical, educational, property rights including cultural were closed for the Dalits. They were denied the normal human dignities by their own brothers and sisters, who always looked towards them for all comforts of life but denied the same to them. The Hindus offered milk to snakes; rice with sugar to ants; worshipped tress like Tulsi, Pipal, and animals like cows but got polluted by the shadow of a Dalit, who are non-else but the creation of the same God for whose realization Hindus observe extreme austere like living in lonely forests, undertake long journeys to 68 places of pilgrimage, observe fasts etc. All this was done under Hindu Laws which was claimed by Hindu priest having divine sanctions. How could the acts of man could be divine. But if any body challenged these inhuman acts of a few he was given severe punishments. But the Universal Creator descended from time to time some men of vision, convictions and strength to show the masses the just path of love for all and hate to none. Lord Budha, Lord Mahaveera, Mohammad Sahib, Jesus Christ, Kabir, Guru Nanak ,Guru Ravidas and many more who  rose above pretty  caste prejudices. Some . After  2390 years of Mahatama Budha’s birth another friend to deprived section of Indians was born. He was Mahatama Phule. Mahatma Phule, a contemporary of KARL MARX(1818-1883), of the Indian social revolution and the first leader of peasants. In his time there was a conflict between the rationalist and the orthodox. His period can, therefore, be a aptly described as the dawn of revolution in the history not only of Maharashtra but of the country as a whole in the various fields like Education, Caste Systems, Agriculture, Economics, Women and widow upliftment , Human Rights, Untouchbility ,Social Equality.
           He was Mahatama Jyotirao Gobindrao Phule was born  on 11th April,1827 to revered couple Gobindrao and Chimnabai in village Khanbari of Poona. He earned the title of Mahatma and title of Bukar T.Washington (American President and a great leader against acts of slavery & apartheid).Since Gobindarao and his two brothers served as florists under the Pashwas, so they were called Phules. Chimnabai died when Jyotiba was 9 months old.  So the childhood of Jyotirao was not very pleasant. He was brought up in the care of Sagunabai ( Daughter of Gondabai maternal aunt  of Jyotiba’s). Gobindrao wanted his son to get a higher education so as to spread the Gyan Jyoti for the humanity at large and Dalits in particular. But all relatives of Gobindrao were against the education of Jyotiba pleading that his son would get spoiled by studying English and could lend no help to him in his job as florist.  So  Jyotiba was taken out of school after he passed his primary school at the age of 9 years. Despite this Jyotiba continued working in fields during day and reading at night by lighting kerosene lamp. Good hearted Goffar Beig Munshi ( A Muslim )and Latiz Sahib(A Christian) had good influence on Gobindarao so they insisted Gobindrao to get his son readmitted in school to complete his education .On their persuasion Gobindrao  got
 re- admitted his son in Scottish Mission High School at Poona in  January, 1841. It was in this school that he met Sadashiv Ballal Govande, a Brahmin, who remained a close friend throughout his life. Both Jotirao and Govande were greatly influenced by Thomas Paine's ideas and they read with great interest Paine's famous book ' The Rights of Man'.  Jyotirao completed his secondary education in 1847 and decided not to accept any government job but work for the upliftment of downtrodden and deprived section of society and to spread education among them.
 Jyotiba got spine shivering experience of caste hate, when he was invited by his Brahmin friend to join Barat( Marriage party procession) of his brother. But in the Barat Jyotiba although wearing good dress was noticed by the other Brahmin Baratis.  Jyotiba was abused,insulted and finally turned out of the party for his low caste. Jyotiba  discussed this with his father who advised his son to avoid such invitations in future as the high caste Hindus shall not compromise on their superiority complex.
This incident changed the life concept  of  Jyotiba,who made up his mind to defy the caste system and decided to serve the shudras and women who were deprived of all of their human rights under the caste system. When Jyotiba met at Ahmadnagar Miss  Farar,a teacher  in Girls Missionary School. Miss Farar explained Jyotiba and his friend Sahashiv Govande the importance of women education. Jyotiba was impressed greatly by advice of the Missionary teacher. He decided to work for women upliftment.
Jyotiba was married in 1840 to Savitribai.Savitribai Phule worked as the true disciple and co-missionary of her husband. They changed the history by opening a school on 1-1-1848 for girls in Poona where Savitirbai was admitted as first Student along with four Brahmin girls, one Maratha girl and sixth a shepherd family girl. Jyotirao Phule continued this school despite opposition form orthodox Hindus, who considered this act against their religion, as Hindu scriptures considered educating girls & Dalits as a great sin. Savitirbai received more education at home from his husband, and was appointed as Headmistress of one of his schools by Jyotiba. Even parents of Jyotiba did not co-operated & they turned him along with Savitribai out of their parental house. It was said by committing sin of educating women and Dalits forty generations of sinner shall be put into  Narak (hell) fire. when the couple did not agree to desist from their chosen path. They opened 18 such schools including some having co-education.
          Feeling pity on the condition of orphans Jyotiba Phule opened   orphanage, perhaps first such
 Institution by a Hindu. Jyotiba Phule gave protection to widows & assured them that orphanage shall take care of their children.  It was in this orphanage that a Brahmin widow gave birth to a male child in1873 and Jyotirao Phule adopted him as his son naming him Jaswant Phule & educated him to become a qualified doctor. To earn his livelihood & to run his schools & other institutions he worked as contractor in PWD. Some of the structures including  a bridge are still standing in Pune and in its surrounding.  He termed PWD department as hotbed of corruption.
                      He published his controversial book “Slavery,” in 1873, in which he declared his manifesto that he was willing to dine with all irrespective of their caste, creed, or country of origin.The opening words of Slavery  are” Since the advent of rule of Brahmins for centuries( In India), the Shudras and Ati Shudras are suffering hardships and are leading miserable lives.------ Shudras  should think over their misfortune and they should eventually set themselves free from this tyranny of Bhats( Brahmins)”. Jotirao dedicated this book 'to the good people of the Unites States as a token of admiration for their sublime, disinterested and self-sacrificing devotion in the cause of Negro Slavery'. The book is written in the form of a dialogue.
 Jyotirao Phule  formed “ Satya Shodhak Samaj(Society of Seekers of Truth)  on 24 th September 1873 with Jotirao as its first president and treasurer. In 1876 this Samaj had 316 members. The main objectives of this organization were to liberate the Shudras, Ati Shudras & to prevent their exploitation by the Upper caste Hindus. He refused to regard Vedas as sacrosanct & denounced Chaturverna & instead published his book “Satya Dharma Pustak in 1891.  According to him all men & women were equal & entitled to enjoy equal rights & it was a sin to discriminate between human beings on the basis of sex or caste & creed Wodow remarriages werw banned and child marriage was very common amongthe Hindus Society Jyotirao opposed both & worked to benefit them and  got re married one Shayani caste widow on 8th march 1890 against  strong protests. From the beginning of the year 1879 Krishnarao Bhalekar, one of his colleagues, edited a weekly called Deenbandhu which was the organ of the Satya Shodhak Samaj. The weekly articulated the grievances of the peasants sand workers. Deenbandhu defended Jotirao when Vishnushastri Chiplunkar, a powerful spokesman of the conservative nationalists, attacked Jotirao's writing in the most vitriolic style. Friends to core Lokhandeand  Jyotirao addressed the meetings of the textile workers in Bombay. It is significant that before Jyotirao and his colleagues Bhalekar and Lokhande tried to organise the peasants and the workers, no such attempt was made by any organization to redress their grievances.
Mahatama Phule opposed the evil customs so on the death of his father he did not call his caste people for meal instead he distributed meals in beggars, distributed pencils, writing wooden planks ( Patties )  & books to children which became annual function to remember his father.  He opposed the tyranny of landlords & money lenders , so he organized a protest Dharna in Poona District where  farmers joined in large number & burnt the records of the money lenders. He got a marriage ceremonised on 25 th December 1873 without the participation ob any Prohit. In the marriage feast the was only Pan & Supary nothing else. He edited  a weekly news paper “ DEEN BANDU ,” from 1st January 1877. Jyotirao Phule helper getting released in1881 from jail Lok Manaiya Ganga Dhar Tilk &Goda Adkar who were sentenced for writing in their papers “ The Kesri & the  Maratha ,”  against the policies of the British Govt.
               For the life long service to the Dalits & other deprived section of the society Jyotirao Phule was awarded the Title Of MAHATAMA.  On 19 th May 1888. The function was attended by dignitaries like Justice Ranade, Dr. Bhandarkar , Tukaram Tatiya , Lokhande, Dholey & Bharkar besides . Jyotirao Phule was addressed by  Saya Ji Rao Gaikwardas Bukar T Washington in his letter to the president of the function.
               Jyotirao Phule’s  his right hand got  incapacitated in an illness, so he stated writing with his left hand & wrote a book titled as “ SARIVJANIK SATYA DHARAM , “ After ceaselessly working for over 63 years Jyotirao Phule passed away on 28 th November 1890 about 138 days before the birth  of Dr. BR Ambedkar another luminary, Father of free India’s Constitution , & worked lifelong for the emancipation of Dalits , depressed, week  & women Jyotirao Phule shall be remembered for the centuries to come for the  good work he did for the Dalits & Depressed peoples of society including women.

Words 1800

Many Firsts to the Credit of Bharat Ratana Baba Sahib Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.

It is  said that some are born great others are made great and still others become great by surmounting hurdles to tred their paths.   Bharat Ratana Baba Sahib Bhimrao Ambedkar belonged to the last category. There was not even a singly favourable hurdle free step in his life. There was not even a single act of his life which he earned through favour or courtesy of others. All throughout his life he had to row against the currents. He was born in rags and died with rupees Forty thousand debt, bore loincloth in school , sat alone on the  corner of  classroom floor, remained  thirsty for hours  for a drop  of  water, hated as untouchable by  his students, teachers, classmates, follow politicians including his office Brahmin peon. He slept on floor; lived night through on single loaf of bread, still was first to reach the entry gate of London Museum and last to leave it. He was termed as poor man’s lawyer,  he was called traitor by his opponents for his caring to those to  whom even God never cared, he over worked at the cost of his life and comforts of his family. He lost his poise and caring wife and four children ( Three sons  Romesh,Gangadhar,Rajratana and one daughter named Indu) for want of money to buy medicines. On the death of his loving son his wife had to tear out a part of her sari to cover the dead child before giving burial. But   he never deviated from the cause of his people whom he loved even dearly to his life and those who stood by his in thick and thin. He often said he was born to safe guard interests of untouchable and he was prepared to offer any sacrifice. He remained awake even during nights to see that their interests were not sabotaged. He never acted against the interests of his country. He said in clear terms in Bombay Legislative Council as its member in 1927 “Whenever there is a conflict between my personnel interests and the interests of country as a whole, I have always placed the claims of the country above my personnel claims --- when there is a conflict in interests between country and the Untouchables, the untouchable’s interests will take precedence over the interests of the country”.  In another statement he said that he was Indian in the beginning, in the middle and in the end.  He said he was not like those who are the Hindu, the Muslim, the Sikh, the Christian and alike first then Indian. Against all odds he did what he thought fit for his peoples. He struck to words and fulfilled promises with his people. When Dr. Ambedkar was convinced that Hindus shall never accommodate the human rights of Depressed classes people except using them for their numbers and unpaid services then he declared in 1935 that he shall not die as a Hindu and he full filled this promise in 1956 only 52 days before his death. He was opponent to religious superstitions and rigidity. He was against none but suppression, hate and denial of political, social, educational and economic rights of Dalits. He was Mahar Dalit but adopted his surname “Ambedkar” from his soft hearted Brahmin teacher and  he re- married Dr. Sharda Kabir a Maharashtrian Brahmin Saraswati  bride. Had he not born at the right hour of history, the present history of poor, women, unprivileged, hated Dalit untouchables and working class people would have been completely different with their slavery chains intact and  the Constitutional rights for untouchables millions would have been buried deep in the free Indian soil. Whatever he did during his life he did with conviction, whatever he spoke it was historic truth backed by deep studied. He remained loyal to his people and his country, the Bharat.  He never said a word against any religion, but challenged religion based in human norms, “ isms”  in them of hate to wards humanity more so their own religious fellows, who did not toe their wrong convictions. He was Masiha or saviour of poor, deprived, hated and neglected humanity. He was the only highest qualified academician, who entered the Indian politics. Politicians of his times proved dwarfs to his qualifications, qualities, character, labour and steadfastness to commitments.   Despite all odds Bharat Ratana Baba Sahib Bhimrao Ambedkar was credited with such unique qualities that whatever field he touched, he left on it indelible marks of his scholarly intellect. He was born on 14th April,1891 in a poor Dalit Mahar family carrying history of military service. Bhimrao Ambedkar’s grandfather Maloji Sakhpal was a Havaldar in the British Army and his father Ramji Sakhpal was Subedar Major in Bombay Army of the East India Company. Dr. Ambedkar too joined service as the Military Secretary to the   Maharaja of Baroda, who had granted scholarship to Bhim for his higher studies abroad. Later Dr. Ambedkar was to be appointed as Finance Minister of the Baroda state but the unbearable caste based hate and prejudices forced him to soon resign. He never compromised with his self honour and honour of his people. He preached to his fellowmen to live with dignity keeping spine erect.
 Dr .Ambedkar was the first in his community to pass Matriculation Examination in 1907 .He was first Dalit to get education in foreign lands in one of most prestigious world Universities like Columbia University USA, Londom School Of Economics U.K, Bonn University in Germany,  Bar at the Gray’s Inn. He was rare of rarest Indian who obtained M.A; PhD ; DSc.; Barrister –at- Law; LL.D; D.Litt and many more Honorary Degrees from many Universities. It is also a hard fact that despite being a world class supper human, he was not given any befitting honour by his Alma Mater the University Of Bombay.  He was a reputed scholar in Economics, Political Sciences, Law, Constitutional Law, Anthropology, and Religion Philosophy.  He was a great teacher also, backed by his deep studies of the subjects he taught.  Perhaps he was  first among Dalits  to be appointed professor ( June 1928 to March 1929) and  to  occupy the chair of the  Principal of the Government Law College Bombay( Now Mumbai) June 1,1935 to May 1938.
 Dr. Ambedkar observed that the journalism which was a earlier a profession had turned into a business exploitation in the hands of capitalists. Dr Ambedkar sensed the need of a news paper of his own and said a leader without a news paper was like a bird without wings. He was perhaps the first Dalit to enter the  world of journalism  when launched on   the Mook Nayak ( Leader of dumb)  on January 31st,1920 ,on 3rd April,1927 the Bahiskrit Bharat( Excluded India), the Samta
( Equality) the  Janta ( People) on 24th November,1930,The Prubh Bharat( Awakened Bharat ).  His writings in  these news papers spread his message very quickly among the Depressed masses.  He stated his news papers much earlier than Mahatama Ganfdhi’s the Harijan, started in Feburary 1933.
Baba Sahib Dr. Ambedkar was first Dalit to be awarded Bharat Ratana in 1990 posthumously after a lapse of 34 years after his death. This shows apathy of the ruling parties towards their National celebrities.
 Hardly anybody could imagine that a Mahar Subedar Major’s 14th child Bhiva  ( Bhimrao’s first name) could one day divert the world attention towards the deplorable  condition of Indian Untouchable millions, seeking constitutional rights for them  in  Round Table conferences called by the mighty British Crown’s Government  in their heartland . Dr. Ambedkar was one of the two Untouchables who were first to be nominated to represent the slaves to the British Indian Slaves. Dr. Ambedkar’s  courage , convections  backed by  world’s highest degrees  forced the  British Crown’s Government along with Indian monarchs, politicians  to listen the woes  of half feed, half naked, illiterates socially lowest of the low through their own representative who had studied world history in foreign lands. He also warned the British to leave India soon as they have failed to make any improvement in the, social, religious, political, political, educations and economic conditions of poor particularly untouchable millions during their rule.   In the three Round Table conference in London Dr. Ambedkar’s narrations were so logical and force full that  all eye brows were raised to listen the plight of those who had never been represented before, in history in any such official forum.  About his narrations news items  were  carried by news papers world over with editorials written in praise of the  new found leaders of Indian untouchables.  Not only Dr. Ambedkar’s views were highly acclaimed in all world spheres but they brought dividends for Untouchable in the future governments Of India.  The problems of untouchable were brought on world forum for finding their solutions speedily. This way the British were made to realise their folly.
 The British were made to find space for Indian untouchable in the future government. To give political representation to untouchables Simon Commission was established. Dr. Ambedkar’s plea before Simon Commission with other organisations and leaders  of Depressed classes was so forceful that the British India government announced  Communal Award   outlining the method  of reserving seats in representative bodies with a right  of  duel  votes to untouchables to use in the future election. This established the existence of untouchables as a definite and separate identity and equal stake holders in the  future constitution.
On this Mahatama Gandhi backed by Hindu reactionary forces under took fast unto death in Yarwada Jail Poona ( Now Pune). Mahatama Gandhi was against granting any political rights to untouchables,saying theirs was a social problems to be solved with the frame work of Hindu  Verna system. The Poona pact was signed by Dr. Ambedkar under duress to save Gandhi’s life but standing on equal pedestal with those who had denied  evening touch shadow of untouchable but to talk of  human rights to them for centuries. Reservation in the provincial and central legislatures, appointments in public services and local bodies with removal of disabilities of the depressed classes were the direct result of the  Poona Pact. Denial of  double election and duel voting as per Communal Award or separate electorates, gave  a chance to upper caste political body heads to select dummy candidates from scheduled castes and scheduled Tribes  to contest the reserved seats and be a party to denial of Constitutional Rights to the Dalit communities.
  Dr. Ambedkar himself a great  lover of books and himself a writer with millions of readership was the first to burn the Hindu Code book “ Manusmiriti” as Manu, its writer claimed it  contain laws  with Divine sanction. To Dr. Ambedkar it was devised to give sanctions of inhuman suppression of untouchables and women. He was also first in the history of caste struggle to sip water of Choudar Tank (  Water Tank) by organising Satyagraha. Taking water from Choudar Tank was banned from centuries for the untouchable Hindus. He was hurt gravely in the melee but did not lose heart to fight law suit instituted against him and his followers. It took ten years to win the law suit. To register untouchable’s just right to worship in Hindu temples, he organised on 2nd March,1930 with his follow men and women Kalaram Temple entry struggle, and carried it for five long years. But still superstitious Hindus did not allow the Untouchable to enter their temples. Even now  in free India, in many temples entry for Untouchables is banned.
Dr. Ambedkar claimed Mahatama jyotirao Phule as his political guru. When Phule was convinced that illiteracy was main reason of   untouchable slavery he opened 18 schools in and around 1848 some excursively for girl students.  Dr. Ambedkar followed suit and founded People’s Education Society on 8th July, 1945 based  on five principles  namely the ideal of knowledge, the ideals of  compassion, the ideal of democracy, the ideal of equality and the ideal of justice.  The primary aim of this society is to promote higher education among the poorer people in general and Buddhists Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and other backward Classes in particular. The Peoples Education Society founded “The Milind College, Aurangabad Maharashtra” a most backward area of Maharashtra state. Its foundation was laid by Dr. Ambedkar on 9th July,1953. The People’s Education Society is now manning a large chain of quality educational Institutions giving employment to thousands of youth.
 Dr Ambedkar was also first to  challenge discriminatory rules and systems like a Khoti System,  Mahar Vatan, bonded labour, unequal wages to women workers, long hours of labour in factories or houses on nominal wages, non existence of maternity leave for women workers, non entry of depressed classes students into  government funded education institutions,  non employment of depressed class persons in higher posts in government services,  non payment for over time in factories. Dr. Ambedkar was a strong advocate of nationalisation of agriculture, land to be vested in government, paid maternity leave, political rights to depressed classes people,  paid over time in offices and factories at the double rate of normal wages, no religious interference  in government affairs and such other  government progressive measures.
 Thinkins importance of a political party of Dalits, Dr. Ambedkar was first to launch a political party ( I L P ) on 15th August 1936,to protect political rights of Depressed classes. ILP won 11 seats in Bombay Presidency elections held on  17th February 1937.
 Dr. Ambedkar’s high qualifications and mass support earned him the ever prestigious position of Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee to draft Constitution for free India. Besides being First Law Minister Of free India.   The doctor who burnt the Hindu Law Book Manusmiriti in 1927 was called upon to draft new rules for the future Indian generations, based upon the principal of equality before law, adult franchise with special protections for weak and under privileged in free India’s constitution. The constitution he gave is based on the cannons of equality to all, liberty, democracy, secular socialism and fraternity. The Fundamental Principles, the Directive Principles or other unique features of Dr. Ambedkar written Constitution. Discrimination on the basis of caste, colour, creed, place of birth, sex were uprooted by the free Indian Constitution. Untouchbility which had clung to the Hindus and divided them in to over 6743 caste segments  and it observance in any form was abolished  and made punishable offence under Art 17.
 Dr. Ambedkar  drafted  the Hindu Code Bill  on the instance and a solemn  promise of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Lal Nehru that the Bill  shall be passed in the parliament else he shall resign with his cabinet. The Bill was to give  needed rights to women.  But when fundamentalists in and outside the Parliament opposed  it the Prime Minister back tracked and decided to withdraw the Bill. On this Dr. Ambedkar resigned in project from the post of Law Minister Of India. This was perhaps first in the world history that a country’s Law Minister resigned for the rights of women. The Bill was passed in piece meals and granted present day rights to women.
Dr. Ambedkar’s sad demise in his sleep at his residence in  New Delhi on 6th December,1956 witnesses largest funeral procession in the Bombay( Mumbai ) history making enen a record  hard to be broken even in future.
 It was rare historical occasion when over five lacs embraced Buddhism in one go.
 Baba Sahib Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Ambedkar was  a rare jewel and earned uncountable first in his life and after. Many surveys have been carried world over after Baba Sahib’s death which selected him as first among many world personalities.
In Dr.Ambedkar  “ A great man is different from an eminent one in that he is ready to be the servant of the society”.