Mahatma Jyotirao Phule and Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule founded the Satyashodhak Samaj in 1873 to unite all oppressed, Sthree-Shudra-Atishudra, Adivasis, Muslims and other minorities under one banner of Bahujans to fight against discrimination based on birth. The highly successful Satyashodhak Samaj was, however, after the death of Phule and Savitribai Phule, disintegrated. Most Shudras joined the Congress, Atishudras joined the Indian Labour Party of Ambedkar, while workers and economically oppressed joined the Communist parties. This vacuum created by the disintegration of the Satyashodhak Samaj has never been filled in the era of post-independence India, though contemporary social and political scenario calls for the involvement of precisely a Bahujan organisation like the Satyashodhak Samaj. Even today, Shudras constitute the largest chunk of the population but their presence in places of power, income and authority are negligibly low. Shudras have made the largest contribution to the building of India through their toil in the fields of agriculture and artisanship; they were the producers. The contribution of all other caste-groups pales in comparison with theirs. In terms of caste, the Indian society is divided into three broad sections – upper castes, Shudras and Dalit-Tribal communities. Identifiers of these communities are domination, contribution and pain, respectively. Shudras have complaints against the domination of the upper castes; they also have complaints against their contribution not getting due recognition. In addition, they have the complaint that almost nobody after Phule created an actual movement rather than mere reactions.
Towards the cause of spreading the ideology of Mahatma Jyotirao Phule and Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule and so as to take forward their struggles & legacy, I founded the Mahatma Jyothirao Phule and Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule Educational Circle on 10th October 2015 after six years of observation, reading, discussion with friends and contemplation. Since then, the Educational Circle has been concentrating on the following in its past one year of existence:
- Creating awareness about the ideology, struggles and thoughts of Mahatma Jyotirao Phule & Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule.
- Learning and imbibing from the life histories of Mahatma Jyotirao Phule & Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule
- Ways and means through which we can contribute to the contemporary society by imbibing the thoughts and ideas of Mahatma Jyotirao Phule & Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule.
In the course of the past one year, under my Presidentship, the Educational Circle has managed to create its own name in the minds of people by its strategy of bringing together Bahujan leaders and their struggles from all strata of the society and from all nook and corners of the country. As the first and founding President, I have tried to use the dual tools of the information era through the usage of social media as well as reaching out to the masses through veteran Bahujan leaders. My activities have so far been centred especially among students in higher education institutes like my own alma mater, the Central University of Hyderabad, where I have been meticulously involved in Bahujan struggles and student problems. At the same time, I and the Circle have also carefully managed to keep well away from chamchas who for their selfish motives, work for casteist communalist forces like Sangha Parivar. Devoted to the cause of spreading the ideology of Mahatma Jyothirao Phule and Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule, we strive to take forward their thoughts, legacies and idea to rural and urban areas and work towards social, gender, political and economic justice.
The Educational Circle is committed to analysing and understanding the universal views and thoughts of Mahatma Jyotirao Phule and Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule. Both these leaders are our fore parents as well as inspirators and motivators in all walks of life. Their vision and mission are the guiding sources for the upliftment and betterment of depressed and oppressed sections of Indian society. Their guidelines and works have thrown light upon millions of Bahujans to overcome the chains and slavery from the discriminatory caste system. All the Bahujan leaders have taken inspiration from the life and struggles of both Mahatma Jyotirao Phule and Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule.
The Educational Circle aspires to generate awareness and spread the ideology of Mahatma Jyotirao Phule & Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule among the masses. The ideas, thoughts and works of these great leaders have become the foundation stones for the cause of Bahujans. Their writings, speeches, and recommendations have strengthened the process of empowerment of downtrodden sections. Their life history, struggles, beliefs, and convictions are to be imbibed and upheld. Further, all the Bahujan leaders have worked towards generating awareness and spreading the ideology of Mahatma Jyotirao Phule & Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule.
The Educational Circle pledges to take forward the legacy of Mahatma Jyotirao Phule and Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule by following their footsteps and prescribed ways and means. We shall strive to put forth the struggles and fights towards the emancipation and empowerment of Bahujans in both word and spirit. We have borrowed the term Bahujan which in turn was first brought to light by Buddha, then Mahatma Jyotirao Phule and then Saheb Kanshi Ram. Thus, the Educational Circle in its whole will transform itself as an ideological, intellectual, cultural, and political platform for the struggle towards the upliftment of the downtrodden and depressed sections of society. In addition, it will uphold the universal argument pertaining to free, fair and open access to education for all as it is one of the tool for emancipation and upliftment for the excluded sections of the society.
Finally, Mahatma Jyotirao Phule & Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule Educational Circle will struggle towards achieving social, gender, political, and economic justice through the annihilation of the caste. And it proposes to do so through an actual movement and not just a mere reaction. The agenda of our initiative is bringing together Bahujan intellectuals and transforming them into a consciously capable Bahujan class of intellectuals guided by the immortal principles of Phule and pay back to the society. Our present positions and private standings in our lives are the results of our forefathers’ struggle and their unmatched and untold sacrifices. Whatever we owe personally is in direct proportion to our debt of the community that must be paid back by all of us in whatever form possible. It is our firm resolve to hand over better prospects and viable social environment for our posterity and free them from the historical bondage of servitude in our own lifetime.
We intend to facilitate and intensify the on-going Bahujan movement in its entirety including political empowerment paradigm. The social transformation and economic emancipation remain the immediate ideological contours of our initiative for endurable cultural change in the society. Our initiative further intends to strengthen the socio-economic off-shoots of the society ushering an era of enlightened culture with democratic political institutions guided by the humanitarian ideology of Phule and epitomised by the Indian constitution. Formation of the Bahujan unity and annihilating the graded caste hierarchy manufactured by the privileged castes for their own interest and against the vast Bahujan humanity and transforming it into an egalitarian and enlightened society with outcastes’ stewardship, is the natural and logical course of action and strategical objective of the initiative and permanent themes for the campaign. Autonomous, independent, dynamic and vibrant Bahujan movement is the only righteous course of action for ossifying and consolidating the permanent structure of unity and strength of the Bahujan unity discarding all clutches, treating privileged castes’ pretentions of right, left or centrist orientation with the disdain they deserve.
In this regard, let’s also not fall prey to the tranquilising deception of the politically hyperactive chamchas among ourselves who for their selfish motives work for casteist communalist forces like Sangha Parivar. In order to avoid the above pitfall, we at the moment try to keep away from political or parliamentary aspirations of any sort but continue our work in the ideological realm spreading Phule’s ideology. With no organisational aspirations immediately, the Phule Circle single-mindedly intends to accelerate ideological consolidation of Bahujans with methodological symmetry and conceptual clarity by reinforcing the Bahujan paradigm of social reality in India.
However, it will not shy away from the responsibility of political interference if circumstances demand so in the future. It is our firm conviction that political consciousness determines the social standing of the community. Political indifference had played havoc with Bahujans humanitarian and compassionate propensities in the past. A community bereft of political acumen makes no sense in a democracy and in India, where the numerical preponderance of Bahujans makes it the natural claimant of political power with significant bearing on the overall development of the community.
Hundreds of Bahujan revolutionaries sacrificed their lives to bring this movement of dignity and self-respect where it is seen today, and we remain indebted to them all for their contribution to the social goal. However, to maintain the historical continuity of the movement it is our unbounded conviction to reiterate our profound organic allegiance and commitment to Phule’s ideology. Bahujan intellectuals including academicians, lawyers, doctors, engineers, managers, administrators, writers, artists, researchers, employees, labourers and social activists who wish to make meaningful contributions as scourge and scavengers and building blocks of the society, guided by the social obligation and ready to submerge their individual identity into a collective common, having sufficient strategic resources i.e. time, talent, and technology are welcome to be the organic part of the initiative and shoulder the historical responsibility of bringing greatness and glory to the Bahujan community under the ideology of Phule, lest posterity perceives us as indifferent onlookers at a time when the destiny of the country was being re-written.
Over the past one and half year (10th October 2015 to till today), we have shown our commitment and hard work towards the cause of Bahujan unity. We make a call to all Bahujan organisations and individuals to come forward under the common banner of Phule’s ideology to achieve Bahujan unity.
Jai Phule Jai Bheem Jai Periyar
Author – Tata Sivaiah
Mahatma Jyotirao Phule & Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule Educational Circle
OBC Student Force – Phule’s Caravan
Periyar Self-Respect & Phule, Ambedkar Samajika Nyaya Samithi