Non-Brahman movements that have left a mark: Satyashodhak Samaj and Kisan Andolan

To look at the ongoing farmers’ movement as a Shudra-Atishudra movement – which it is – is to be reminded of the Shudra-Atishudra movement led by Jotirao Phule that swept through rural Maharashtra in the 1870s and the 1880s

Four months after Jotirao Phule published Gulamgiri, he founded the Satyashodhak Samaj (truth-seekers’ society) on 24 September 1873, bringing together mostly upwardly mobile Maharashtrian and Telugu Mali merchants, tradesmen and contractors, along with representatives of the Sali (weaver) caste, the Shimpi tailor caste, Kumhar (potter) caste, Mahar untouchables and Muslims. There were also lawyers, government employees and soldiers among them. Scholars Gail Omvedt and Rosalind O’Hanlon have referred to the Samaj as a “non-Brahman movement”. 

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