Liberation Ideology of Phule,Periyar and Ambedkar:a Study of Dalit Feminist Understanding
The history of social reform movement and women’s movement are well known as the struggle for liberation and upliftment of women. In these movements, the social reformers and feminists have focused on issues of caste-Hindu women or women in general. The issues of Dalit women did not come to the forefront in these movements. Similarly, in the century long Dalit movement also the substantive issues of Dalit women were not addressed sufficiently and their plight remained the same. The issues of Dalit women have not been seriously taken up neither by the political leaders nor by the intellectuals of today. However, in the liberation of Dalit women, few social revolutionaries like Phule. Periyar and Ambedkar remained in the forefront in analyzing issues related to Dalit women and advocating for their liberation as during their times, women were enslaved to many social evils of the Hindu society. In their endeavors, these thinkers have provided both ideological and material basis for the betterment of social, economic and political status of Dalit women.
Until then, Dalit women were voiceless for centuries together; these thinkers for the first time provided a space for analysis and articulation of Dalit women’s issues that emboldened them to fight for their rights. The establishment of Dalit women’s own autonomous and separate organizations during 1990s to fight for their own issues is the consequence of the ideological contribution made by these thinkers. The purpose of the study is to analyze the liberation ideology of Phule, Periyar and Ambedkar. The broad objective of this study is to see how Dalit women have perceived the ideology of Phule, Periyar and Ambedkar to mobilize themselves. It will further focus on the emergence of Dalit women’s movement and the challenges which they are facing in contemporary society.