Nagpur: A grand all-religion Shobhayatra depicting life and work of Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, an activist, thinker, social reformer, writer and theologist from Maharashtra, was taken out in city to mark his birth anniversary today (April). The Convener of Shobhayatra and Trustee of Nagpur Improvement Trust Avinash Thakre said that a large number of office-bearers and activists of several organizations such as Akhil Bharatiya Mali Mahasangh, Mahatma Phule Shikshan Sanstha, Mourya-Kachhi-Kushwaha Sangh, Mahatma Phule Samata Parishad, Unman Vanshiya Vikas Sanstha, Shri Sant Sawta Bahuuddyeshiya Seva Mandal, Vidarbha Mali Kalyankari Mandal, Sawta Sahakari Pratyay Sanstha, Sawta Mitra Mandal, Akhil Bharatiya Kshatriya Lonare Mali Mahasangh, Mali Vikas Sanstha, Rashtranirman Sanghatan and Kshatriya Kosre Mali Sanghatan participated in the Shobhayatra.
The Shobhayatra commenced from Reshimbagh-based Mahatma Phule Sabhagruha and culminated at Cotton Market-based Mahatma Phule Market.
At the outset, Mayor Pravin Datke garlanded the portrait of Mahatma Phule and performed ‘Puja’ marking the commencement of the Shobhayatra. The Shobhaytra passed through Mahal area where Union Surface Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari welcomed it by performing ‘Puja’ of the participants depicting Mahatma Phule and Savitribai Phule. Interestingly, the Shobhayatra was so large the Minister had to traverse a long distance to welcome it.
Others who participated in the Shobhayatra include Arun Pawar, Govind Vairagade, Ravindra Ambadkar, Mahadeo Shrikhande, Ramesh Giradkar, Onkarnath Kushwaha, Mahadeo Harde, Dr Ramdas Waghey, Devrao Chopde, Suresh Arya, Prof S S Patil, Corporator Swati Akhatkar, Madhu Kamde, Sarika Nandurkar, Prakash Bobde, Dnyaneshwar Lokhande, Milind Pachpore, Hingna Sarpanch Nandu Kanhere, Rajendra Patil and others.
Avinash Thakre, elaborating on the life of Mahatma Jyotirao Govindrao Phule, said the activist, thinker, social reformer, writer and theologist and his wife Savitribai were pioneers of women’s education in India. His work extended to many fields including education, agriculture, caste system, women and widow upliftment and removal of untouchability. Mahatma Phule created a movement to achieve his objectives. He vociferously fought against superstitions prevalent at that time in large proportions.
Water conservation was accorded colossal importance. “Farmers happy the nation happy” was his pet statement. Mahatma Phule fought against liquor and strived hard to keep people away from the addiction. In September 1873, Jyotirao, along with his followers, formed the Satyashodhak Samaj (Society of Seekers of Truth) to attain equal rights for peasants and the lower caste and his contributions to the field of education. Phule is regarded as an important figure of the Social Reform Movement in Maharashtra, said Avinash Thakre.