Bahujan Students’ Front
Go, Get Education
Be self-reliant, be industrious
Work, gather wisdom and riches,
All gets lost without knowledge
We become animal without wisdom,
Sit idle no more, go, get education
End misery of the oppressed and forsaken,
You’ve got a golden chance to learn
So learn and break the chains of caste.
Throw away the Brahman’s scriptures fast.–
~ poem by Savitribai Phule
The Bahujan Samaj is celebrating the 183rd birthday of Kranthi Jyothi Savitribai Phule (January 3rd, 1831 – March 10th, 1897), the first Indian women teacher and radical feminist who challenged the kautilyanic-manuvadi-brahmanical patriarchal domination. Savitribai Phule was a social revolutionary who, with the help of her husband Jotiba Phule (the father of Indian social revolution), took up the challenge of liberating the innocent Bahujan Samaj from the clutches of manuvadi-brahmanical troops.
Education was denied to the Bahujan Samaj under the barbaric brahmanical reign; despite this, Savitribai Phule made radical efforts to enlighten the mulnivasis of India by taking up education as the weapon for emancipation. Savitribai Phule and Jotiba Phule struggled a lot to put an end to the brahmanical patriarchy because they saw women as equals, a view that is contrary to the brahmanical scriptures where women are treated as inferior, which we can observe from following:
By a girl, by a young woman, or even by an aged one, nothing must be done independently, even in her own house. (Part v, 147- Manusmriti) Day and night woman must be kept in dependence by the males (of) their (families), and, if they attach themselves to sensual enjoyments, they must be kept under one’s control. (Part ix, 2- Manusmriti)
Kautilya’s Arthashastra too made women as objects where he described the non-Brahmanic women as the mundas and vrasalis (heretical) who were recruited as secret agents or spies and it repeats the well known dharmasastric view that a wife is only a leather bag for holding the male seed, an object for procuring a male issue.
Apart from this, Savitribai attacked the Brahmanic patriarchic nature of the Vedas, smritis, shastras which contained malicious lies about women. She saw the Bahujan women as doubly oppressed- by Brahmanic troops and by men of their communities and was of the view that the end of patriarchy lies in the end of the brahmanical system.
In the year 1848, Savitribai and Jotiba Phule started a historic school for girls’ in Pune. Through this initiative of running schools she actively participated in the Satyashodhak Samaj activities. With the help of Fatima Sheikh, her friend, Savitribai schooled the Bahujan Samaj and established night schools for farmers and laborers.
Savitribai Phule and Jotiba Phule were the first social revolutionaries in India who organized laborers and farmers and fought against the exploitation by upper caste employers. The Marxists talk of revolution by denying the problems of bahujans. It is shameful on the part of the manuvadi communists to use the term ‘revolution’ all the time. Savitribai and Mahatma Phule took up revolutionary activities much before the Bolshevik Revolution itself.
Both, Savitribai & Jotiba Phule spread awareness about the necessity of modern education and the acquisition of scientific knowledge, emphasizing that education is a weapon which brings about a cultural revolution and this entire practical discourse challenged the brahmanical domination. The arguments for female and low caste education put forth by Savitribai Phule and Mahatma Phule reflect strongly the view that India as a society was materially and intellectually impoverished.
Savitribai started many activities to uplift the Bahujan Samaj like campaigns against child marriages, was involved in girls’ formal education, established Balhatya Pratibandhak Sabha for pregnant women of all castes. And there she adopted Yashwant, who was born to a Brahman woman, as their son. She took up the responsibilities of Satyashodhak Samaj and worked as its president. From 1890-1897 she participated in many activities and helped people at the time of drought and worked relentlessly for the victims of plague and was eventually affected by the same disease and died on March 10, 1897.
Given the legacy of Savitribai Phule, we, the Bahujan Students’ Front (BSF-UoH) observe this (January 3rd) day as National Teachers’ Day and are also appealing to the Bahujan Samaj across the world to take inspiration from the forgotten revolutionary Kranthi Jyothi Savitribai Phule in order to agitate against manuvadi hegemony and annihilate brahminical hierarchy.
~ Bahujan Students’ Front (BSF), University of Hyderabad.
Bahujan Students’ Front (BSF- UoH) is an independent students’ organization which believes and works on the line of the teachings of Gautama Buddha, Mahatma Phule, Ayyankali, Narayana Guru, Sahodaran Ayyapan, Dr. Ambedkar, Kanshiram and many other anti-caste philosophers and also works through the principles of educating, organizing and agitating for the welfare of the student community in general and Bahujan Students (SC, ST, OBC and Religious Minorities) in particular on the campus and outside the campus too. BSF is educating the campus community both ideologically and politically. The organization was established in 2007, on April 14th, on the occasion of Dr. B.R Ambedkar’s birth anniversary.