Jotirao Phule (1827-90), full name Jyotiram Govindrao Phule, popularly known as ‘Mahatma Phule’ was an Indian-Marathi social activist, thinker and writer. He was born at Katgun, Maharashtra, India in 1827 to an agricultural Mali ( a law) caste family. His father’s name was Govindrao and mother’s name was Chimnabai. Jyotirao took his primary education in a local school and then attended local Scottish Mission High School. As customary, he married Savitribai Phule at an early age of thirteen. From his childhood, he experienced Brahmin supremacy over the so-called low castes. One day at the age of twenty-one, he attended a wedding of a Brahmin friend and participated in the customary marriage procession, but he was badly rebuked and insulted by his friend’s parents for his participation. Joytirao was badly affected by this insult. It brought a turning point to his life, to his philosophy and activities. He though got the chance of taking a government job, yet he did not like to work under the British Government. Instead, he established himself as a successful cultivator and merchant. He was sensitive to the injustice done to the lower castes of society by the Brahmin. Jotirao Phule, as a revolt took up the pen to his hand and began writing articles and books on the themes of social injustice, caste discrimination etc.
His published works include Tritiya Ratna (1855), Brahmananche Kasab (1869), Powada: Chatrapati Shivajiraje Bhosle Yancha (1869), Manav Muhammad, Gulamgiri (1873) etc. Among his creations ‘Gulamgiri’ is considered to be his masterpiece.
He died in 1890 at the age of sixty-three.