A radical and liberal thinker who received his early education in a Mission School, Mahatma Phule worked for the uplift of the low castes. He authored the Sarvajanik Satyadharma Pustak that emphasised equality of all men and called for equality before the law and equality of opportunity. He agreed that the British rule had ushered in a general improvement in the condition of the masses. English education had made the depressed classes aware of their rights and inspired thoughts of overcoming domination by the high castes. But he criticised the British administration for its many injustices including diversion of funds meant for higher education purposes.
Phule regarded the Hindu tradition as one dominated by brahmin thought and culture. He condemned the Prarthana Samaj and the Sarvajanik Sabha as organisations concerned with the cause of the brahmins alone. He aimed at replacing the Hindu religion with the 'Sarvajanik Ishwar Pranit Satya'. In 1873, he founded the Satyashodhak Samaj (Truth Seekers' Society), the leadership of which came from the backward classes. The Samaj aimed at spreading education among women and lower caste people.