PUNE: The Satyashodhak movement, founded by Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, was one of the most influential social reform movements in the country and the State. Its influence can be seen even a century later.
A couple from Sangli’s Wangi village belonging to a Satyashodhak family has decided to get married bypassing traditional rituals. They will exchange books instead.
Parshuram Mali has been a Satyashodhak all his life. For over 10 years, he was an activist with the Shetkari Sanghatana and has followed Phule’s teachings of rationalism and anti-Vedic thought. When it came to his son Vikram, he thought of it as a good opportunity to underline his commitment to the thought. “I immediately put this idea before my family. They happily agreed to it,” said Mali.
Vikram, a farmer by occupation, will marry Supriya Chougule from Manerajuri in Sangli district. She is a graduate from the Arts stream. “After my family agreed, I spoke to the girl’s family. Her father, relatives and the extended family met us. When we explained to them the purpose and rationale behind our decision, they agreed,” Mali said, adding, “Both families are committed to the thoughts of Phule.”
The marriage will take place on June 26 in Sangli. It will be the first Satyashodhak marriage in southern Maharashtra in the recent past. “The couple will exchange books instead of garlands. There will be no vedic rituals. The books will be of progressive thoughts,” Mali says, adding, “The guests too, will be given a copy each of Mahatma Phule’s Shetkaryacha Asud (Farmer’s Whip), the seminal book on how farmers are oppressed.”
When asked why he chose ‘Shetkaryacha Asud’, Mali said, “Farmers in the State are facing an unprecedented crisis. Families with daughters refuse to marry them off in farming families. Instead of spending thousands on unnecessary rituals, we wanted to give farmers a message through the wedding,” Mali said, and added, “Farmers need to know how they are exploited and Phule’s book explains it in the best possible manner.”