What are the aims and objectives of Satyashodhak Samaj?

Mahatma Jyotibha Phule founded the Satya Shodhak Samaj on 24 September, 1873, which was the society of seekers of truth. He aimed to liberate the down trodden people from the social and religious bondages imposed by the upper caste. He treated all human beings as children of God and advised the people to worship the creator without the help of any mediator. Mahatma Phule had kept the membership of the samaj open to all people across the caste community & creed. He opposed to the caste system and idol worship. Mahatma Phule was in favaour of the British social legislation till the uprising of 1857, but the British followed very caustious social legislation after that incident, then there was a change in the approach of Phule. He began to establish associations to create awareness among the less privileged people to fight for equality and justice.

Mahatma Phule never discriminated between men and women on the basis of sex and wanted to give them equal rights in all matters. He opposed to religious severity and Ultra nationalism because they were against the unity and progress of humankind. He envisaged a society based on liberty, equality and fraternity. In order to profess and spread his message he started Din Bandhu, a weekly journal with the help of Narayan Meghaji Lokhande, who was his close associate and a trade union leader. Narayan Meghaji Lokhande became the editor of Din Bandhu and used the weekly for airing problems of workers and suggesting various practical solutions to solve them. In the same way, the other members of the Satya Shodhak Samaj used Din Bandhu to bring forth the problems of peasantis and workers and began to organize them.

Mahatma Phule founded a branch of Satya Shodhak Samaj in Mumbai. This samaj also led to establish the Victoria Orphanage, as the title suggests, it worked for housing orphans in the vicinity. Phule criticized the leaders of Brahmo Samaj, Prarthana Samaj, Sarvajanik Sabha and the Indian national Congress for their inability of solving the problems and improving the conditions of common people in India. He was also critical about the Government policy of exploiting Indians and not procuring measures for redressing their problems. Phule was a champion of individual justice and dignity for which he was not only against the Brahminism but also against the Maratha aristocracy. He accused the Maratha aristocracy for exploiting the peasants or Kunbis in society.

Phule used his whole energy and intellect to emancipate the down trodden and suppressed people from their age old bondages of tyrannical upper caste people. He tried to create awareness among the suppressed people against the unnatural and unreasonable claims of the upper caste people and professed individual dignity and equality in socio-religious matters. He emphasized on the solidarity of Hindu Social organisation, which was ramified into various castes and groups. This was the noble objective of this great visionary behind the foundation of the Satya Shodhak Samaj. He was the person, who began the new age for the common man and woman. He was the first man to start school for untouchables and girls in Maharashtra.

Although, Mahatma Phule was anti-Brahminism and had good relations with Brahmans like justice Ranade, there were many Brahmins, who criticized Phule the most, considering the ideology of Satyashodhak Samaj was against Brahmins. Among such Brahmins, Vishnu Shastri Chiplunkar was ahead in his Nibandmala a journal criticized Phule ever. This great son of Modern Maharashtra died on 28 November, 1890. Jdith Brown says that the Satya Shodhak Samaj founded by Mahatma Jyotiba Govindrao Phule was the direct reaction to high caste access to education and its fruits, which sharpened the longstanding strains in provincial society.

The Maharastrian society had a cultural tradition of anti- Brahmin feeling and lower castes attempt to free themselves from Brahmin ritual dominance. The economic and educational changes intensified the trend tremendously. Phule encouraged non- Brahmins to improve their educational standard through the medium of Satya Shodhak Samaj and called for an end to Brahmin employment by Government until the non-Brahmins equaled them in their share of provincial administration. Sumit Sarkar says that the anti-Brahmin tocsin was first sounded in Maharashtra by Jyotiba Phule with his Gulamgiri and his organisation, the Satya Shodhak Samaj, which proclaimed the need to save the lower castes from the hypocritical Brahmins and their opportunistic scriptures.

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