Bal Gangadhar Tilak was a social reformer who believed in the importance of self-rule for India's better future. He helped lead the country on its path to independence, and his famous quote "Swaraj is my right, and I shall have it" became a sort of battle cry for future revolutionaries against British rule. The British considered Tilak as the "Father of Indian Unrest," nicknaming him Lokmanya, meaning he who is revered by the people. As a politician and scholar, Tilak was adept at both domestic and foreign affairs.
Keshav Gangadhar Tilak was born on July 22, 1856, in a middle-class Chitpavan Brahmin family in Ratnagiri, a small coastal town in southwestern Maharashtra. As a bachelor, Tilak's father was a Sanskrit scholar and school teacher at Ratnagiri. Once Keshav got married to Tapibai who was later rechristened as Satyabhamabai, the family moved to Poona (now Pune). In 1871,
When it comes to education, Tilak was a brilliant student. As a child, he was willing and able to share his opinions with others without holding back anything. He studied at Deccan College in Pune and after graduation went on to study law. These studies paid off as he joined the Government Law College in Bombay in 1879 where he graduated with an L.L.B degree 1879.
In 1880, he left teaching and founded the National School that provided nationalist education for students who were struggling under the British educational system due to its lack of emphasis on India's cultural heritage. After becoming disillusioned with teaching, he started publishing two newspapers: Kesari Marathi and Land of Mahratta English.
Indian National Congress
One of the most well-known Indian National Congress members was Gangadhar Tilak. Ten years after joining the party, he began vehemently voicing his opposition to what he considered to be an ineffective way in which the Indian National Congress was trying to gain self-rule. After Gopal Krishna Gokhale was one of the leaders in India that Tilak opposed, he went on to steer the Swadeshi movement and its ultimate intent—boycotting British goods. This ultimately made him a controversial figure within the organization.
Due to the fundamental difference in outlook, Tilak and his supporters were known as the extremist wing of India's Congress Party. Supporters like Bipin Chandra Pal from Bengal, Lala Lajpat Rai from Punjab, and Bal Gangadhar Tilak from Maharashtra helped Tilak succeed. They became popularly known as Lal-Bal-Pal (conservative revolutionaries). In 1907, a massive conflict broke out between these two factions of the Indian National Congress and resulted in the Congress splitting into two groups.
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In 1896, an epidemic of bubonic plague erupted in Pune and the nearby regions and the British employed extremely rigorous measures to contain it. Under guidance from Commissioner W. C. Rand, the police and the army invaded private residences, violated personal sanctity, burned personal possessions, and prevented individuals from moving in and out of the city. Tilak protested against these moving-in-and-out measures imposed on him by writing provocative articles in his newspapers.
On June 22nd, 1897, Tilak was imprisoned for 18 months after inciting the assassination of Commissioner Rand and Lt. Ayerst. This article influenced the Chapekar brothers, and they carried out the assassinations.
From 1908 to 1914, Bal Gangadhar Tilak was imprisoned for six years in Mandalay Jail in Burma. After which, he openly supported revolutionaries Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki’s efforts to assassinate Chief Presidency Magistrate Douglas Kingsford. He continued to write during his imprisonment and the most prominent of which is Gita Rahasya.
Trapped and forced to work with no money, a lack of supplies and a high temperature surrounded him. There were riots in his jail and he was denied food and water. Pune became his location while his wife died there after the government tried to stop the publication of his newspaper.
Tilak and All India Home Rule League
When Tilak returned to India in 1915, he knew that there was going to be a great change. He then decided to reunite with his fellow nationalists. In 1916, he founded the All India Home Rule League with Joseph Baptista, Annie Besant, and Muhammad Ali Jinnah with the intention of fighting for self-government. By April 1916, membership had increased to 32,000.
In order to heal the rifts between groups, he rejoined the Indian National Congress but was unable to unite conflicting factions.
Bal Gangadhar Tilak published two different newspapers that he created. One was called "Mahratta" and the other newspaper was called "Kesari."
Aside from being prolific, Tilak was heavily patriotic towards his country and cared deeply about differentiating and desensitizing Indian opinions on their history with regard to British colonizers.
In 1896, when the entire nation was gripped by famine, the British Government defended its inaction. The government also rejected the need to establish a 'Famine Relief Fund'. In retaliation, Tilak published reports about the problems caused by famine and plague in which he challenged the Government's incompetency towards their citizens.
Tilak's revolutionary ideas influenced many of his contemporaries. He advocated for education reform and held a strong belief that women should have the same opportunities as men. He refused to marry until his daughters were over 16 and he strongly urged his daughters to attend college, so they wouldn't miss their chance at education. Tilak formulated plans for visionary, national gatherings like Ganesh Chaturthi and Shivaji Jayanti celebrations. His idea was to inspire unity and nationalism in his people as a way to bring about positive change in society but unfortunately died before seeing this goal accomplished.
With this key content, the customer gets an overview of how much Tilak suffered as a consequence of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. He passed away in August and was disappointed by the Indian movement not stopping considering how sick he was at the time. Despite his illness, Tilak was still willing to lead the movement and encouraged Indians not to cease the struggle. With these changes and additions, Tilak's story is relevant and impactful.
It was a sad day for the people of India, as their beloved leader passed away. The Indian people were in disbelief and tried to have a last glimpse at the man who led them to such a great nation. Millions of people had gathered at his home from far-flung corners of the country.
Despite being raised Hindu by his parents, Tilak became a fervent nationalist during his youth. When he was just fourteen, he started learning about ancient scriptures and began writing about them for different newspapers. He also spoke at anti-British meetings and inspired millions of Indians to his cause through his everlasting speeches. His public life took an interesting turn when he started the Ganesh Chaturthi festival in 1890. Although he died young, popular biographies have been written about him to recount the impact that he's had on India today.
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