Selected Writings of Jotirao Phule
Edited by G.P. Deshpande
‘G.P. Deshpande makes a brilliant attempt to foreground Phule’s system of ideas in a series of tough arguments. . . . [This book] will prompt some of us to liberate Phule from self-serving cultural symbolism and situate him in the tradition of self-criticism, which was one of Phule’s core intellectual projects.’ – Gopal Guru, Economic and Political Weekly
‘This excellent volume is a must-have for anyone interested in the questions relating to caste, class and gender. In his Introduction, G.P. Deshpande speaks of the hope and melancholy of our times; reading Phule embellishes us with the necessary faith and rejuvenation.’ – Meena Kandasamy, Biblio
Jotirao Phule (1827-1890) was India’s first systematic theorist of caste, and the most radical 19th-century opponent of it, who desired nothing less than a complete smashing up of its oppressive structure. This volume makes available all his most important prose writings in English.
At the centre of Phule’s thought and analysis are Gulamgiri (Slavery) and Shetkaryacha Asud (Cultivator’s Whipcord), both included in this volume in their entirety. Also included are Phule’s deposition to the Hunter Commission on Education; his response to the Parsi social reformer Malabari’s notes on ‘Infant Marriage and Enforced Widowhood’; his letter to M.G. Ranade regarding the Marathi Authors’ Conference; his stirring defence of Pandita Ramabai in two numbers of the journal Satsar; and selections from The Book of the True Faith.
All translations have been specially commissioned for this richly annotated volume, and the Editor’s Introduction places Phule’s life, work, and thought, as well as each text included in this volume, in historical perspective. For anyone interested in the question of caste, this volume is an indispensable resource.
This volume is a must for all those to whom the book is dedicated – 'Shudraatishudras of various colours and hues including the organized ones'.
This book will enable serious researchers as well as activists to place Phule in the context from which he was constructing an agenda for Dalit assertion.
. . . this selection provides a fairly comprehensive view of the issue and concerns central to Phule's thought.