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What Are Rajshri Shahu Maharaj's Thoughts On Women's Education?

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This article gave all of you about women's right. This article is based on Indian history.


A Great Social Reformer

We look at the period of Mahatma Phule, Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj and Babasaheb Ambedkar as the period of enlightenment of modern Maharashtra. Modern Maharashtra has inherited progress from reformers like him and followers of his ideas. This created an awareness of social reformers in Maharashtra, India.

Among all these social reformers, Rajshri Shahu Maharaj's uniqueness is felt with intensity. Despite being a Chhatrapati, he became a social revolutionary and used his power for the social and economic upliftment of the people. There are many aspects of Shahu Maharaj's work that he uses to uplift his society, his Chhatrapati position, his authority, his uniqueness and his revolutionary ideas. From every aspect of them, there seemed to be a longing for the poor and the exploited. So whether the component of the society is backward class, nomadic destitute or feminist.

Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj's concept of transformational thought was full of awareness of broad social equality. With this in mind, he undertook the task of women's liberation. Shahu Maharaj, like Mahatma Phule, was aware that if the chain of female slaves was to be broken, the female class must first be educated. After that, women's education became a part of his reformist administration.

As soon as he took charge of Kolhapur Court, he took a vow to spread education and made primary education compulsory for all. He was spending one lakh rupees every year from the income of the institute on this primary education. Later, the cost went up to Rs. 3 lakh. For this, he asked Shri. Paranjape was appointed Minister of Education. All these activities of Rajshri Shahu's education spread included women's education.


His Great Work For Women

Shahu Maharaj started schools for girls in hilly, rural and backward areas. In the first 4 to 5 years of her career, he established girls' schools in backward areas like Bhudargad near Sahyadri. In places where there are no separate schools for girls, he encouraged girls to come to school and study together with boys.

He did not wait for the caste system to be loosened to educate the girls, but opened separate schools for the girls. In order to make the teacher more interested in the education of girls, Shahu Maharaj implemented an innovative idea of ​​rewarding the teachers for the number of girls who pass the school.

Shahu Maharaj also paid special attention to the education of adult women. In 1919, a special decree was issued declaring that all accommodation and meals for adult women from backward castes would be provided free of cost by the royal court. In order for intelligent girls to pursue further education, the Maharaja placed scholarships for such girls on behalf of the royal court.

Maharaj also started 5 scholarships of Rs. 40 each for the marriage of his daughter Akkasaheb Maharaj for the student who got the highest marks in the fourth annual examination. He started such scholarships not only in Maharashtra but also for girls in Gujarat.

Shahu Maharaj did not focus on the primary and secondary education of girls, but on giving them higher education. He sent Atrikabai Daniyal Baker, a Christian girl, to Pune. He also sent five girls, including Radhabai Suryavanshi and Tarabai Khanolkar, to Mumbai for higher studies. Krishnabai Kelvakar was sent to Grant Medical College, Mumbai and made a doctor. Later, Maharaj sent Krishnabai to England for higher medical studies.

These are representative examples of women who have received higher education with the encouragement of Shahu, known throughout history.

Shahu Maharaj's approach to the advancement of women was the sky's the limit. He started a female training school in Kolhapur and appointed Rakhmabai Kelvakar, an intelligent woman, as his teacher. Rakhmabai made her choice meaningful and gave impetus to the work of women's education in Kolhapur Sansthan. After the retirement of Miss Lital, who was the education officer, Maharaj appointed Rakhmabai in her place.

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Shahu Maharaj not only opened the doors of education to women at all levels, but also felt the need for women's political participation. So he sent two scholarly sisters, Krishnabai and Rakhmabai Kelvakar, from Kolhapur as volunteers to the National Congress convention held in Mumbai in 1895.


His Thoughts On Women's Education

The scope of Shahu Maharaj's female education cannot be complete without the mention of his Snusha Indumati Devi. Indumati became a widow in the year 11. Then, she outraged by the whole family, Shanu Maharaj decided to educate her.

Like Shahu Maharaj, a Social Reformer and steel-minded father-in-law stood behind Indumatidevi. He facilitated Indumati's education at Sontali (village). Along with her, education was also provided to girls of four different castes. Interestingly, there was also a Christian girl in it. Maharaj not only imparted book knowledge to Indumati, but also taught her many things like riding, hunting, horse riding, and motor driving so that she could face endless challenges in life.

Indumati's life was a perfect laboratory for Shahu Maharaj's ideas on women's education. Maharaj wanted to make Indumati a doctor. For this, he had also admitted Indumati in Lady Hardings Zanana Medical College, Delhi. Unfortunately, the Maharaja died before this resolution could be fulfilled.

Shahu Maharaj knew that the wheel of transformation of a woman's life would not turn without lubricating education in this way. But he also realize that radical social change is needed to revolutionize women's lives. If we want to give women the right to live as human beings, we must not only educate women, but also use our power to legislate for the emancipation of women. So he set foot in the precincts of social revolution by enacting five laws of women's liberation.

In 1917, Shahu Maharaj enacted the Widow Remarriage Act in his state. Widowhood was forbidden by Hindu theology and social restrictions. By legally lifting the ban, the Maharajah paved the way for remarriage of women. Not only did Maharaj pass this law, but he had put the option of remarriage before his Snusha Indumati.

His Thoughts On Women's Liberation

Shahu Maharaj enacted the Inter-caste, Inter-Religious Marriage Act in 1919, which confirmed the unity of the nation along with the emancipation of women. At that time, inter-caste marriages were considered illegal and procreation was considered illegitimate. Even so, owning one is still beyond the reach of the average person.

Therefore, by making this law, the Maharaja gave legal recognition to both the marriage and the offspring of those who performed such marriages. One of the special features of this law is that in one of these sections, the Maharajah says that the permission of the parents is not required for a girl above the age of 18 to choose a spouse.

This is the clause that determines women's freedom. Here too the Maharaja started the reform from his own family. He married his sister Chandraprabhabai from the Janak family to the Dhangar family. It is better to imagine the effort that Maharaj had to go through to overcome such a society 100 years ago and bring about such a marriage.

The third law that gave women the right to live as human beings was enacted by Shahu Maharaj, it is the law which prohibits the harassment of women. It took 2005 years for independent India to enact this law. In this law, the Maharaja has given rules for stopping the cruel treatment of women. In this cruel treatment, they have punished not only the physical abuse of the woman but also the mental torture.

Shahu Maharaj gave a woman the freedom to choose a partner, as well as the freedom to be free from the bond she did not want. In 1919, by enacting the Kadimod Act, the Maharajah abolished the Kadimod system, which was based on the whims of the caste panchayats, and gave women the right to divorce.

By enacting many such laws, Shahu Maharaj gave women a weapon of protection. A native king enacted advanced laws from the British government in his kingdom. This is a revolutionary event in the history of India. He issued orders to stop methods that hurt women's self-esteem. In 1921, he issued an order banning obscene language about women at the Shimga (Holi) festival. Protesting against the veil system of women in the Maratha community, he says, "This veil system destroys the virtues of heroism in women." Shahu Maharaj's approach to women's issues touched all the progress of women's identity and it was from this perspective that he took up the resolution of women's liberation.

© 2021 Jaya

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