The Maharashtra government has recommended to the Centre to confer the coveted Bharat Ratna — the highest civilian award — to renowned 19th-century social reformer Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and his wife Savitribai Phule.
The announcement came from Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. "The Maharashtra government has recommended to the Centre to bestow the honour of Bharat Ratna to Mahatma Phule and Savitribai Phule," said Fadnavis.
Jotirao Govindrao Phule, popularly known as Mahatma Phule, (April 11, 1827 – November 28, 1890) was a social activist, a thinker, anti-caste social reformer and a writer.
His wife, Savitribai Phule (January 3, 1831 – March 10, 1897) was a social reformer, educationalist and poet.
The Phule couple played a leading role in the social reforms and were pioneers of women’s education in India.