Education of women and the lower caste, he believed, deserved priority. Hence at home he began educating his wife Savitribai and opened girl's school in August 1848. The orthodox opponents of Mahatma Phule were furious and they started a vicious campaign against him. He refused to be unnerved by their malicious propaganda. As no teacher dared to work in a school in which untouchables were admitted as students, Mahatma Phule asked his wife to teach the girls in his school. Stones and brickbats were thrown at her when she was on her way to the school. The reactionaries threatened Mahatma Phule's father with dire consequences if he did not dissociate himself from his son's activities. Yielding to the pressure, Mahatma Phule's father asked his son and his daughter-in-law to leave his house as both of them refused to give up their noble endeavor.
Mahatma Phule opened two more girl's schools during 1851-52. In a memorial addressed to the Education Commission (Popularly known as the Hunter Commission ) in 1882, he described his activities in the field of education – 'A year after in the institution of the female school I also established as indigenous mixed school for the lower classes'.
Mahatma Phule established an orphanage, Mahatma phul, gave protection to pregnant widows and assured them that the orphanage would take care of their children. Widow remarriages were banned and child-marriage was very common and not all of them could live in a manner in which the orthodox people expected them to live.
Equal Rights to Untouchables in Society
In 1868, Mahatma Phule decided to give access to the untouchables to a small water hole near his house. In his controversial book called 'Slavery' published in June, 1873 Mahatma Phule included a manifesto which declared that he was willing to dine with all regardless of their caste, creed or country of origin. It is significant that several newspapers refused to give publicity to the manifesto because of its contents. The main object in fabricating these falsehoods was to dupe the kinds of the ignorant and to rivet firmly on them the chains of perpetual bondage and slavery which their selfishness and cunning had forged. He also claimed that what he had described in his book was 'not one hundredth part of the rogueries' that were generally practiced on his 'poor, illiterate and ignorant Shudra brethren.'
Satya Shodhak Samaj Formed
On 24th September, 1873, Mahatma Phule convened a meeting of his followers and admirers and it was decided to form the 'Satya Shodhak Samaj' (Society of Seekers of Truth) with Jyotirao as its first president and treasurer. Every member had to take a pledge of loyalty to the British Empire. The main objectives of the organization were to liberate the Shudras and Ati Shudras and to prevent their exploitation by the Brahmins. All the members of the Satya Shodhak Samaj were expected to treat all human beings as children of Good and worship the Creator without the help of any mediator. The membership was open to all and the available evidence proves that some Jews admitted as members. In 1876 there were 316 members of the 'Satya Shodhak Samaj'.