Celebrate the revolutionary life of Savitri Mai Phule

(Asian Independent)

Greetings to all on revolutionary Savitri Mai Phule Jayanti. Her life is a reminder to all of us to rededicate ourselves the cause of the people on the margin through radical changes particularly through education. That social taboos, gender prejudices are still prevalent even among those who are victims of the brahmanical hierarchical system. It is therefore essential for us not to ignore these issues as merely propaganda but harsh reality to dealt with in all seriousness.

Fatima Sheikh; was an Indian educator, who was a colleague of the social reformers Jyotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule

It is not merely the celebration of Savitri Mai’s started some schools but the challenge to the social system prevailing. When people complain to me to that ‘things’ cant change because it is part of ‘culture’ and they have to ‘swim’ through it, I remind them of the fight Jyotiba and Savitri Mai took nearly 150-160 years ago when you have to reach in person to people and there were not much resources available in terms of communication yet they were determined. Nothing can reduce the power of meeting the people. It is good to use the communication instruments and reach the people but a direct link with people only strengthen our understanding and what people need.

There is a big gap between what people need and what we are offering. Often, we are offering them our ‘knowledge’ and every one think he or she has so much to give that people have to just listen’ them. I have seen such disconnect with those who are habitual of ‘inauguration’ and ‘valedictory’ addresses. Somewhere, in our efforts to look ‘different’, we become artificial and lose connect.

Savitri Mai Phule and Jyoti Ba Phule stood with people. I would call them the most fascinating couples of Indian history. I come across no other couple so much complimenting each other. We are normally wanting to change others without making any efforts in our own domain, families and areas. Savitri Mai and Jyoti ba showed us that ideologies are nothing if the change does not come from with in. To make the impact more powerful, it is essential, that the change start from home.

Savitribai Phule Pune University

It is also necessary to understand that families and partners may play a bigger role and can compliments in our public work if make them understand the issues and give them space and respect. If we keep them isolated and separate from our work, they become burden and an unwanted situation is created. Most of the activists as well as ‘intellectuals’ suffer from this because their public concerns, utterings and work are either resisted in their homes or the family look down upon them as ‘unproductive’. Somewhere, with growing ‘professionalism’ and desire to ‘earn’ ‘big’ , many in the families start questioning the ‘utility’ of such action as for them and all their education they have been guided by one idea that education is not for ‘change’ but for becoming ‘expert’ to mint money. I have no issue with earning money and we should to ensure we are not depended on others but for social growth and change, it is important equally that the two works can not be comparable and that social relationship to help the needy and the process of change are equally important. A society can never enjoy life collectively if we just speak about ‘survival of the fittest’. It means we justify hierarchy and discrimination because most of the time, this absurdity is only spoken by those who feel they are ‘god gifted’ to rule and run over others.

The life of all the legends remind us that they preferred social change over other things and ensured that they are not seen as an ‘expert’ or ‘outsider’ but very much part of the community. Working with in the community is far tougher than speaking about ‘national’, ‘international’ and ‘ideological’ issues. It is this reason we find, most of the people do not have time for those because they think they have acquired ‘knowledge’ and that is the end.

Life of Jyoti Ba Phule, Savitri Mai, Baba Saheb Ambedkar, Periyar show us that they never left people. They were towering intellectuals who exposed the social and cultural aspect yet they felt it is important to be with people in their need of hour. People will not listen to just your speeches and Gyan but also how many of us stand with them on their issues.

Today, when we celebrate the extraordinary life of Savitri Mai Phule, we need to dedicate ourselves for the cause they started for the betterment of society. The issues they raised and fought are still relevant and are the reason of the downfall of our society. Women’s exclusion in all walks of life particularly in the decision making processes have hampered our social and national growth. Savitri Mai’s life showed us that they can bring radical changes. Our salute to revolutionary Savitri Mai Phule.

– Vidya Bhushan Rawat
January 3rd, 2021