Jotirao Phule: The Mahatma who identified with the exploited farmer

In 1882, Jotirao Phule began touring the rural areas outside Pune, getting to know firsthand the plight of the kunbi cultivators, addressing large gatherings and organizing a boycott of Brahmins and moneylenders. The speeches that he wrote for these gatherings later became ‘Cultivator’s Whipcord’

If Mahatma Jotirao Phule were alive today, he would wholeheartedly support the farmers’ protest and tell the Supreme Court, hearing the petitions challenging the validity of reservations for Marathas, “Well, all Marathi-speaking people from Mahars to Brahmans are known as Marathas. It is not possible to locate anybody’s caste if only the term Maratha is used.” That was Phule’s reply when a Maratha-kunbi introduced himself as a Maratha.

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