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How did Jyotirao the Reformers Justify their Criticism of Caste Inequality in Society?

Last Updated : 16 May, 2023
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In the nineteenth century, Jyotirao Phule was a social crusader and reformer in India. He is regarded as a prominent figure in India’s social and political history, particularly in the state of Maharashtra. Phule was raised by people of low caste, and he was subjected to bigotry and social exclusion his entire life. 

He ardently believed that women and others from lower castes should have access to education, and he worked to make this a reality by founding schools and other educational institutions. He was a vocal opponent of the caste system and the treatment of women and people from lower castes, in addition to striving for their freedom and development.

Mahatma Jyotirao Phule

Mahatma Jyotirao Phule

Jyotirao Phule Reforms

Education for all

Jyotirao Phule was a fierce advocate for universal access to education, especially for lower-caste populations and girls who were at the time shut out of the educational system.

Jyotirao Phule, who worked to eliminate the caste system in India, criticized it. The caste system, which was a hierarchical social framework, disadvantageously and subordinated lower castes and Dalits (formerly known as “Untouchables”) in society.

Women Empowerment

He believed that education was essential for the empowerment of women because they faced major social and economic challenges, especially those from lower-caste and underprivileged areas.

Land Reforms

By seeking to open up land ownership to members of lower castes, Phule helped break down caste and class barriers in Indian culture. His work on land reform significantly aided India’s larger social reform movement and continues to act as an example for modern social justice and equality projects.

Criticism of Caste Inequality in Society

A 19th-century social reformer from India named Jyotirao Phule fought the caste system in that country. He advocated for the rights of Dalits, women, and other underprivileged groups because he believed the caste system to be oppressive and unfair. According to Phule, the upper-caste Brahmins took advantage of the caste system to maintain their dominance over the rest of society.

  • Jyotirao Phule thought that the caste system was an unfair and repressive kind of birth-based stratification. He claimed that it impeded society’s advancement and development by upholding prejudice and inequity.
  • Phule believed that this stratification based on birth was a significant barrier to society’s growth. He believed that discrimination and inequality persisted because the lower castes were denied opportunities and were taken advantage of. The caste system also encouraged the idea that certain castes should exclusively engage in specific types of employment, which inhibited people from following their personal interests and skills.

According to Phule, upper-caste Brahmins used the caste system as a weapon to maintain control over the rest of society. He believed that the caste system in India must be abolished in order to progress as a society which hinders this, ending the cycle of oppression and promoting social equality. To that end, he sought to promote education and self-determination as well as the legal rights of disadvantaged communities.

Jyotirao Phule criticized the caste system, believing it to be unjust, oppressive, and an obstacle to social development. He championed the rights of minority groups and believed that the only way to promote social equality was through education. Jyotirao Phule believed that the caste system, which determines a person’s social and economic class based on birth, is the main cause of oppression by lower castes and should be eliminated. Phule also opposed discrimination and exploitation of the lower castes and advocated for their education and empowerment. He believed education was the key to breaking the cycle of oppression and promoting social equality. He founded India’s first girls’ school and also worked to spread awareness of the rights of marginalized communities. 

  • Phule advocated for the education and empowerment of the lower castes, recognizing that education was key to breaking the cycle of oppression. He started the first school for girls in India and worked towards spreading awareness about the rights of marginalized communities. He believed that education would give these communities the tools they needed to fight against discrimination and exploitation and to demand their rights.
  • Phule was also a strong advocate for women’s rights and fought against the discrimination faced by women in India. He believed that women’s education and empowerment were crucial for the development of Indian society. He spoke out against the practice of child marriage and advocated for the right of women to marry at a later age and to have control over their own lives.
  • With his efforts to promote education and empower the lower castes, Phule was also involved in other social and political movements. He was a strong opponent of British rule in India and was actively involved in the Indian independence movement. He was also a member of the Satyashodhak Samaj, an organization that aimed to promote social equality and justice.

The Issue With Aryan Race

Phule had extremely negative opinions of the Aryan race and rejected the idea that they were superior. The highest caste in India, the Brahmins, he claimed, established the caste system in order to preserve their dominance over the lower castes, and it was thus a means of tyranny.

Phule held that the British colonial authorities divided the Indian people and utilized the concept of the Aryan race to justify their control. He asserted that the lower castes, who were considered to be of non-Aryan heritage, were oppressed by the Brahmins who claimed to be of Aryan descent. Phule view is regarded as the Dalit (formerly known as “untouchable”) agitation and had a significant impact on India with his ideas regarding the Aryan race and the caste system.

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FAQs On Jyotirao Phule on Caste Inequality in Society

Q 1. What were the main criticisms of caste inequality made by Jyotirao Phule?


Jyotirao Phule criticized the caste system as unjust and oppressive and blamed brahminical texts for perpetuating caste inequality.

Q 2. How did Jyotirao Phule challenge the Hindu religious justification of the caste system?


Jyotirao Phule rejected the Hindu religious basis of the caste system and argued that it was a political and economic tool used by the upper castes.

Q 3. What were some of the specific actions or programs that Jyotirao Phule initiated to address caste inequality in society?


Jyotirao Phule started schools for girls and lower castes, worked towards the abolition of untouchability, and established the first school for lower-caste children in India.

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