Mahatma Jotirao Phule and Peasants Movement

Mahatma Jotirao Phule was a symbol of revolt against all oppressed classes in the India. He had dedicated his entire life in the service of the neglected and exploited classes. Jotirao decided to create on awakening among the farmers. To study the problem of farmers, he traveled on foot through many villages and went place to place. He held meetings of the farmers to create on awakening among them. He explained to them the ideas how to improve agricultural production. Through his writing, he brought to the notice of the general public, the miserable condition in which the farmers lived.

He shed light on the exploitation at the farmers by revenue department police official and irrigation authorities like Talathi, Kulkarni and Mamledar. In the year 1885 the moneylender and landlords near Junnar were found to be harassing the farmers with high rate of interest. The farmers field a petition with about five thousand signature and sent it to the government. Jotirao went to the Junnar and actively participated in the movement. He explained the misery of the farmers to the government. At the end the moneylenders and landlords decided to reduce the rates of interest. The farmers again went to work.

Jotirao also exposed the exploitative nature of Brahmanism which led to the exploitation of peasants. He wrote a book entitled ‘cultivators whipcord’ in which he narrated the sorrows of the cultivators. He came to conclusion that the intellect, moral progress and wealth, vanished due to the lack of education. So he urged the peasants to take education. The book was written with a view to discuss some of these reasons behind the problems of the peasant. According to Jotirao, all white European officials are absorbed in indulgence in pleasure and all government departments have a majority of Brahmin officials. These people had nothing to do with the problems of the peasants.

Jotirao established ‘Satyashodhak Samaj’ to free the exploited elements in the societies like peasants, shudratishadras and women. Satyashodhak Samaj started weekly journal ‘Deenbandhu’. Krishnrao Bhalekar became the editor in chief of Deenbandhu. The problems of the peasants were highlighted in Deenbandhu. Jotirao Phule made demand to the government regarding establishment of hostels for the children of peasants. He also made appeal to government to fix a reasonable assessment of land and to free farmers from ignorance and superstition. He addressed the sorrows of the peasants to the Duke of Canaught when he visited Pune in 1888.

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