Jyotirao Govindrao Phule from Maharashtra worked to attain equal rights for peasants and the lower caste. He and his wife, Savitribai Phule, are most known for their efforts to educate women and the lower castes as well as the masses. He first educated his wife, after which both of them opened a school for girls in India in August 1848.

He took up the cause of women and started a girls’ school in Poona (Pune) in 1851. He is also remembered for his efforts towards promoting widow remarriage. In September 1873, Jyotirao along with his followers formed the Satya Shodhak Samaj (Society of Seekers of Truth) with the main objective of liberating the lower castes and protecting them from exploitation and atrocities. He was popularly known as Jyotiba.