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Bal Gangadhar Tilak Biography, Achievements and Legacy

Bal Gangadhar Tilak Biography: Bal Gangadhar Tilak, also known as Lokmanya Tilak, was a prominent figure in the Indian Independence Movement. Born on July 23, 1856, Tilak was a journalist, teacher, and activist who played a crucial role in India’s struggle for freedom from British colonial rule. He was one of the key leaders of the Lal Bal Pal trio, along with Lala Lajpat Rai and Bipin Chandra Pal, who advocated for the independence of the nation. Bal Gangadhar Tilak earned the epithet “The Father of Indian Unrest” from British colonial officials due to his relentless efforts in mobilizing the masses and instilling a sense of nationalism and resistance against British rule. Mahatma Gandhi also referred to him as “The Maker of Modern India,” acknowledging Tilak’s significant contributions to the nation’s progress.

Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s Personal Life

  • Bal Gangadhar Tilak, originally named Keshav Gangadhar Tilak, was born in 1856 in Ratnagiri, present-day Maharashtra, India.
  • He hailed from a middle-class Hindu family and received his bachelor’s degree from Pune.
  • Tilak began his professional career as a Mathematics teacher before venturing into journalism and actively participating in the freedom movement.
  • He was one of the founders of Fergusson College, a renowned educational institution located in Pune, Maharashtra.
  • Bal Gangadhar Tilak passed away in 1920 at the age of 64, leaving behind a significant legacy in the Indian independence struggle.

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Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s Political Life

  • In 1890, Bal Gangadhar Tilak joined the Indian National Congress (INC).
  • Tilak held a more radical and aggressive stance against British rule, differing from the moderate approaches of his contemporaries.
  • He was one of the early proponents of Swaraj (self-rule) and coined the famous slogan, “Swaraj is my birthright and I shall have it,” emphasizing the necessity of self-rule for progress.
  • Tilak belonged to the extremist faction of the INC and actively supported boycott and Swadeshi movements.
  • He established and published two influential newspapers, Kesari in Marathi and Mahratta in English, fearlessly criticizing the government’s policies.
  • Tilak faced legal repercussions and was sentenced to 18 months in prison on charges of “incitement to murder” for writing about the killers of oppressors, citing the Bhagavad Gita. This incident led to retaliation by two Indians against British officials during the bubonic plague episode in Bombay.
  • Along with Bipin Chandra Pal and Lala Lajpat Rai, Tilak formed the “Lal-Bal-Pal” trio of extremist leaders.
  • Tilak was repeatedly tried for sedition and spent six years in Mandalay prison from 1908 to 1914 for writing articles defending revolutionaries Prafulla Chaki and Khudiram Bose.
  • In 1916, Tilak reunited with the INC after a previous split.
  • He co-founded the All India Home Rule League with Annie Besant and G.S. Khaparde.
  • Tilak drew inspiration from ancient Hindu scriptures for his political ideals, emphasizing pride in Indian heritage and opposing excessive westernization.
  • He transformed the Ganesh Puja into a public and social festival, popularizing the Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav since 1894.
  • Tilak also used the Shiv Jayanti festival, commemorating the birth anniversary of Shivaji, to foster unity and a national spirit among the people, although it led to some alienation among non-Hindus.
  • The Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav, promoted by Tilak, continues to be one of the grandest festivals in Maharashtra.

Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s Social Views

  • Bal Gangadhar Tilak held conservative social views despite being a nationalist radical leader.
  • He expressed opposition to Hindu women receiving modern education, indicating a conservative stance on women’s education.
  • Initially, Tilak opposed the age of consent bill, which proposed raising the age of marriage for girls from 10 to 12.
  • Although Tilak eventually accepted the idea of raising the age of marriage, he viewed the bill as interference in the social and religious lives of Indians by the British.
  • His opposition to the age of consent bill suggests his conservative perspective on social and religious matters, even as he fought for Indian independence.

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Bal Gangadhar Tilak Indian Independence Movement

  • Bal Gangadhar Tilak played a significant role in the Indian freedom struggle and was one of the most prominent politicians in India before Mahatma Gandhi emerged as a leader.
  • He initiated a large-scale campaign for independence by focusing on religious and cultural revivalism, aiming to unite the Indian population against British domination.
  • Tilak was both a social conservative and a radical nationalist, reflecting his blend of traditional values and progressive political views.
  • Following the Partition of Bengal, Tilak supported the Boycott and Swadeshi movements, which were in response to Lord Curzon’s strategy to undermine the nationalist cause.
  • The Boycott movement involved social boycotts against Indians who used foreign items, while the Swadeshi movement promoted the use of locally-made goods and the boycotting of foreign products.
  • Tilak emphasized that the campaigns for swadeshi and boycott were interconnected and complementary, as they aimed to reduce reliance on foreign goods and promote self-sufficiency.
  • He disagreed with Gopal Krishna Gokhale’s moderate viewpoints and found support from other Indian nationalists, including Bipin Chandra Pal, particularly in Bengal and Punjab.
  • Tilak’s approach of combining cultural revivalism with political resistance had a significant impact on shaping the early phase of the Indian independence movement.

Bal Gangadhar Tilak Death

Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s health began to decline as a result of his profound dissatisfaction with the appalling Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Despite his deteriorating condition, Tilak fervently encouraged Indians to persist in their march for independence. He was eager to lead the movement himself, but his failing health hindered his active involvement. At this point, Tilak’s diabetes had considerably weakened him. In the middle of July 1920, his illness took a turn for the worse, and on August 1 of the same year, he passed away suddenly, leaving behind a legacy of unwavering dedication to the cause of Indian freedom.

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Bal Gangadhar Tilak Legacy

Bal Gangadhar Tilak, despite being a fervent nationalist, held conservative social views and had a strong affinity for his Hindu faith. He extensively wrote about religion and philosophy, drawing inspiration from Hindu scriptures. His charismatic oratory skills made him one of the most influential figures of his time, rallying millions of people to support his cause. One of Tilak’s enduring legacies is the establishment of Ganesh Chaturthi, which has evolved into the most significant festival in Maharashtra and neighboring states. His role as an iconic representative of the Indian freedom struggle has resulted in numerous books profiling his life and contributions. While the Marathi newspaper he founded continues to be published, it has transitioned from a weekly publication to a daily one, maintaining its relevance and impact in contemporary times.

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Who is the father of Indian revolution?

Bal Gangadhar Tilak, called “Maker of Modern India” by Mahatma Gandhi and “Father of the Indian Revolution” by Jawaharlal Nehru, helped lay the foundation for Indian swaraj

What is Bal Gangadhar Tilak slogan?

With his electrifying slogan, “Swaraj is my birth-right and I shall have it” Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak stirred the Indian people and breathed new life into our struggle of freedom.

Which is a famous quote by Bal Gangadhar Tilak?

Swaraj is my birthright, and I shall have it is a famous quote by Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Who gave Tilak the title of Lokmanya?

Rand and his assistant were killed and Tilak was charged with incitement to murder and sentenced to eighteen months’ imprisonment.

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