About Mali Samaaj
The Mali are an occupational caste found among the Hindus who traditionally worked as gardners. They also call themselves Phul Mali, who derived their names from their occupation of growing flowers. The Mali are found through out North India as well as the Terai region of Nepal. Elements of the Mali community identify as Rajput Mali.
The word Mali is derived from Sanksrit mala (garland). People from the Mali community pursued various occupations and by virtue of this they were known accordingly. Thus, those pursuing gardening are known as Baghban, threshing/husking paddy as Dhankuta or Kuta Mali, doing grass cutting/selling as Sasia Mali, vegetable growers/sellers as Jadon Mali, and those growing flowers to the deity known as Phool Mali. Likewise, there are Mathur Mali, Rohtaki Mali, Dilwali Mali and so on. Besides there are Mahar Mali, Var Mali, Kachchi Mali, Lodh Mali, Jeere Mali and Dhanya Mali. They are known as Mohal, Malaya, Malni, etc.
There are many endogamous groups within Malis. Not all Mali groups have the same origin, culture, history or social standing and there is at least one group from Rajasthan that overlaps with Rajputs and was included under Rajput sub-category in Marwar State Census Report of 1891 AD. This group is called Rajput Mali and has a distinctive character and bloodlines coming from the Rajput tribes they originated from. Adoption of new identity in 1930-1940 A.D.
Long ago, few Mali people (Fulmali, Gase) came from Maharasthra (Pune, Amravati, Bhandara) to Madhya Pradesh at Indore, Jabalpur, Balaghat-Seoni, Chhindwara, Raipur & Bhopal and settled in areas and his/her language is Marathi. Few Mali people at East Nimar, West Nimar and nearby places, especially Burhanpur. These people have grown in these areas and have taken up the native language Nimari. (source:wekipedia )
Mahatma Jotiba Govindrao Phule :-
Born: 11 April, 1827
Passed Away: 28 November, 1890
Jyotiba Phule was one of the prominent social reformers of the nineteenth century India. He led the movement against the prevailing caste-restrictions in India. He revolted against the domination of the Brahmins and for the rights of peasants and other low-caste fellow. Jyotiba Phule was believed to be the first Hindu to start an orphanage for the unfortunate children.
Jyotirao Phule was born in Satara district of Maharastra in 1827. His father, Govindrao was a vegetable-vendor at Poona. Originally Jyotirao's family belonged to 'mali' caste, considered as inferior by the Brahmins. Since, Jyotirao's father and uncles served as florists, the family came to be known as `Phule'. Jyotirao's mother passed away when he was nine months old.
Jyotirao was an intelligent boy but due to the poor financial condition at home, he had to stop his studies at an early age. He started helping his father by working on the family's farm. Recognising the talent of the child prodigy, few months later, a neighbor persuaded his father to send him to school. In 1841, Jyotirao got admission in the Scottish Mission's High School, Poona. There, he met Sadashiv Ballal Govande, a Brahmin, who remained his close friend throughout his life. Jyotirao was married to Savitribai, when he was thirteen years old.
In 1848, an incident took place in his life that later sparked off the dalit-revolution in the Indian society. Jyotirao was invited to attend a wedding of one of his Brahmin friends. Knowing that he belonged to inferior caste, the relatives of the bridegroom insulted and abused him. Jyotirao left the procession and made up his mind to defy the prevailing caste-system and social restrictions. He then started his campaign of serving the people of lower caste who were deprived of all their rights as human beings.
After reading Thomas Paine's famous book 'The Rights of Man', Jyotirao was greatly influenced by his ideas. He believed that enlightenment of the women and lower caste people was the only solution to combat the social evils. Therefore, in 1848, he along with his wife started a school for the girls.
The orthodox Brahmins of the society were furious at the activities of Jyotirao. They blamed him for vitiating the norms and regulations of the society. Many accused him of acting on behalf of the Christian Missionaries. But Jyotirao was firm and decided to continue the movement. Interestingly, Jyotirao had some Brahmin friends who extended their support to make the movement successful.
Jyotirao attacked the orthodox Brahmins and other upper castes and termed them as "hypocrites". He campaigned against the authoritarianism of the upper caste people. He urged the "peasants" and "proletariat" to defy the restrictions imposed upon them.
Jotiba Phule and his wife Savitribai Phule were the pioneer of women's education in India. In 1851, Jyotiba established a girls' school and asked his wife to teach the girls in the school. Jyotirao, later, opened two more schools for the girls and an indigenous school for the lower castes, especially the Mahars and Mangs.
Viewing the pathetic condition of widows and unfortunate children Jyotirao decided the open an orphanage. In order to protect those widows and their children, Jyotiba Phule established an orphanage in 1854. Many young widows, from the upper-caste spent their days in the orphanage.
Satya Shodhak Samaj
After tracing the history of the Brahmin domination in India, Jyotirao blamed the Brahmins for framing the weird and inhuman laws. He concluded that the laws were made to suppress the "shudras" and rule over them. In 1873, Jyotiba Phule formed the Satya Shodhak Samaj (Society of Seekers of Truth). The purpose of the organization was to liberate the people of lower-castes from the suppression of the Brahmins. The membership was open to all and the available evidence proves that some Jews were admitted as members. In 1876 there were 316 members of the 'Satya Shodhak Samaj'. In 1868, in order to give the lower-caste people more powers Jyotirao decided to construct a common bathing tank outside his house. He also wished to dine with all, regardless of their caste.
Jyotiba Phule devoted his entire life for the liberation of untouchables from the exploitation of Brahmins. He revolted against the tyranny of the upper castes. On 28 November, 1890, the great reformer of India, Mahatma Jyotirao Phule, passed away.
Savitribai Jotiba Phule:-
Savitribai Jotiba Phule (January 3, 1831- March 10, 1897) was a social reformer who along with her husband, Mahatma Jotiba Phule played an important role in improving women's rights in India during the British Rule.
Savitribai was the first female teacher of the first women's school in India and also considered as the pioneer of modern Marathi poetry. In 1852 she opened a school for Untouchable girls.
Mahatma Jyotiba is regarded as one of the most important figures in social reform movement in Maharashtra and India. He is most known for his efforts to educate women and the lower castes. Jyotirao, then called as Jyotiba was Savitribai’s mentor and supporter. Under his influence Savitribai had taken women’s education and their liberation from the cultural patterns of the male-dominated society as mission of her life. She worked towards tackling some of the then major social problems including women’s liberation, widow remarriages and removal of untouchability.
However, apart from all these oppositions, Savitribai yet continued to teach the girls. Whenever Savitribai went out of her house, groups of orthodox men would follow her and abuse her in obscene language. They would throw rotten eggs, cow dung, tomatoes and stones at her. She would walk meekly and arrive at her school. Fed up with the treatment meted out to her, she even decided to give up. But it was because of her husband that she continued with her efforts. He told Savitribai Jyotiba who was working for women's education had started the first girl’s school and required women teachers to assist him. Jyotiba educated and trained Savitribai, his first and ideal candidate for this job of a teacher. Savitribai and Jyotiba faced fierce resistance from the orthodox elements of society for this. Jyotiba sent her to a training school from where she passed out with flying colours along with a Muslim lady Fatima Sheikh. When Savitribai completed her studies, she, along with her husband, started a school for girls in Pune in 1848. Nine girls, belonging to different castes enrolled themselves as students.
Slowly and steadily, she established herself. Jyotiba and Savitribai managed to open 5 more schools in the year 1848 itself. She was ultimately honoured by the British for her educational work. In 1852 Jyotiba and Savitribai were felicitated and presented with a shawl each by the government for their commendable efforts in Vishrambag Wada.
The next step was equally revolutionary. During those days marriages were arranged between young girls and old men. Men used to die of old age or some sickness and the girls they had married were left widows. Thus, widows were not expected to use cosmetics or to look beautiful. Their heads were shaved and the widows were compelled by society to lead an ascetic life.
Savitribai and Jyotiba were moved by the plight of such widows and castigated the barbers. They organized a strike of barbers and persuaded them not to shave the heads of widows. This was the first strike of its kind. They also fought against all forms of social prejudices. They were moved to see the untouchables who were refused drinking water meant for the upper caste. Both Jyotiba and Savitribai opened up their reservoir of water to the untouchables in the precincts of their house.
Savitribai was not only involved in educational activities of Jyotirao but also in every social struggle that he launched. Once Jyotiba stopped a pregnant lady from committing suicide, promising her to give her child his name after it was born. Savitribai readily accepted the lady in her house and willingly assured to help her deliver the child. Savitribai and Jyotiba later on adopted this child who then grew up to become a doctor and after Jyotiba's death, lit his pyre and completed his duties as a rightful son. This incident opened new horizons for the couple. They thought of the plight of widows in Hindu society. Many women were driven to commit suicide by men who had exploited them to satisfy their lust and then deserted them. Therefore, Savitribai and Jyotiba put boards on streets about the "Delivery Home" for women on whom pregnancy had been forced. The delivery home was called "Balhatya Pratibandhak Griha".
Jyotiba and Savitribai were also opposed to idolatry and championed the cause of peasants and workers. They faced social isolation and vicious attacks from people whom they questioned. After his demise, Savitribai took over the responsibility of Satya Shodhak Samaj, founded by Jyotiba. She presided over meetings and guided workers.
In 1868 she welcomed untouchables to take water from her well. She worked relentlessly for the victims of plague, where she organized camps for poor children. It is said that she used to feed two thousand children every day during the epidemic. She herself was struck by the disease while nursing a sick child and died on 10 March 1897.