Mahatma Jyotirao Phule is considered as the ‘father of Social Revolution’ in India.Many great personalities have paid glowing tributes to his noble work. His greatness as a social reformer has been duly acknowledged by them.
Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar at the inauguration ceremony (Muhurta) of the Marathi movie, ‘Mahatma Phule’ said,”Mahatma Phule is one of the greatest reformers of our times.” He regarded Mahatma Phule as his dear teacher next to Lord Buddha and Kabir (a saint poet in India).
Mahatma Gandhi showered praises on Mahatma Phule and said, “Mahatma Phule is really a great soul. (Real Mahatma)”.
Mr.V.D.Sawarkar,a freedom fighter and revolutionary paid homage to Mahatma Phule in the following words: “Mahatma Phule was a great social Revolutionary.”
Rajarshee Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj admired him as the ‘Martin Luther’ of Maharashtra.
Maharaj Sayajirao Gaikwad described him as ‘Booker T.Washigton’of India.
Mr.Vithhal Ramji Shinde, a great social reformer himself in India acknowledged the importance of Mahatma Phule’s social work.
The handwritten record (of Mr.shinde) reveals: “Mahatma Jyotirao Phule was a man of extra –ordinary talent and abilities. The movement called Satyashodhak Samaj, started by Mahatma Phule had done more social work than the Brahmo Samaj (Which was one of the organizations devoted to social causes). The book ‘Sarvajanik satyadharma Pustak’ is the Bible of Satyashodhak Samaj (Truth finding mission). This book is referred, to while the prayers are being sung by the people of Brahmo Samaj. The real history of Maharashtra is unfolded through the character of Jyotirao. He was a patriot of high calibre,”
Vitthal Ramji Shinde aptly described him in the following couplet: “The genuine follower of truth, achieved his goal. genuine protector of the oppressed, become a noble soul.“
Prabodhankar(teacher) Thakre praised Mahatma Jyotirao Phule and said that he was one of the greatest souls amongst social reformers.
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (the first prime minister of India), at the inauguration ceremony of the ‘Phule Technical High School in Mumbai, said, ”In spite of adversities, Mahatma Phule fought for the rights of education for women and eradication of untouchablity.”
While talking charge of chief minister ship of new-Maharashtra-Yashvantrao Chavan paid a glowing tribute of the great soul and said that like St Dnyaneshwar,Chattrapati Shivaji and Lokmanya Tilak, Mahatma Phule is a symbol of Maharashtra.
Considering his noble work of social change, enlightenment and empowerment of masses, the people bestowed on Jyotirao Phule the title of ‘Mahatma’ on May 11, 1888.
1)Mahatma Jyotitrao Phule by Dhananjay Keer, 4th edition, 1992/1913,Populer Pakistan, Mumbai.
2)Amhi Pahilele Phule edited by Hari Narke, Mahatma Phule Charitra Sadhane Prakashan Samiti, Govt.of Maharashtra, Mumbai, article by P.S.Patil.
3)ibid, article by V.R.Shinde.
4)Mahatma Jyotirao Phule aani Vishnushatsri Chiplunkar by Prin. Gajmal Mali,1st edition, Jan 1997, Rajmudra Prakashan Pvt.Ltd.Aurangabad.
5)Mahatma Jyotirao Phule by Dhananjay Keer.
6)Ha Dhannya Mahatma Zaalaa, article by Satish Shirsath, University of Pune, Pune.