Timeline History

Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Bal Gangadhar Tilak (1856 - 1920), was an Indian nationalist, social reformer and freedom fighter who was the first popular leader of the Indian Independence Movement. Tilak sparked the fire for complete independence in Indian consciousness, and is considered the father of Hindu nationalism as well.
Swaraj is my birthright, and I shall have it! - Swaraj means self rule
This famous quote of his is very popular and well-remembered in India even today. Reverently addressed as Lokmanya (meaning "Beloved of the people" or "Revered by the world"), Tilak was a scholar of Indian history, Sanskrit, Hinduism, mathematics and astronomy.

He was born on July 23 1856, in a village chikhali, near Ratnagiri, Maharashtra, into a middle class Chitpavan Brahmin family. Tilak was an avid student with a special aptitude for mathematics. He was among India's first generation of youth to receive a modern, college education.
After graduation, Tilak began teaching mathematics in a private school in Pune and later became a journalist. He became a strong critic of the Western education system, feeling it demeaning to Indian students and disrespectful to India's heritage. He organized the Deccan Education Society to improve the quality of education for India's youth. He taught Mathematics at Fergusson College in Pune

Tilak founded the Marathi daily Kesari which fast became a popular reading for the common people of India. Tilak strongly criticized the government for its brutalism in suppression of free expression, especially in face of protests against the division of Bengal in 1905, and for denigrating India's culture, its people and heritage. He demanded the British immediately give the right to self-government to India's people.
Tilak joined the Indian National Congress in the 1890s, but soon fell into opposition of its liberal-moderate attitude towards the fight for self-government. Tilak opposed the moderate views of Gopal Krishna Gokhale, and was supported by fellow Indian nationalists Bipin Chandra Pal in Bengal and Lala Lajpat Rai in Punjab. In 1907, the Congress Party split into the Garam Dal (literally, "Hot Faction"), led by Tilak, Pal and Lajpat Rai, and the Naram Dal (literally, "Soft Faction") led by Gokhale during its convention at Surat in Gujarat.
When arrested on charges of sedition in 1906, Tilak asked a young Muhammad Ali Jinnah to represent him. But the British judge convicted him and he was imprisoned from 1908 to 1914 in Mandalay, Burma.
Upon his release, Tilak re-united with his fellow nationalists and re-joined the Indian National Congress in 1916. He also helped found the All India Home Rule League in 1916-18 with Annie Besant and Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Although he was basically a proponent of Advaita Vedanta, he differed from the classical Advaitin view that jnana (knowledge) alone brings release. Tilak added a measure of karma yoga (the yoga of activity) to this, not as subordinate to jnana yoga , but as equal and complementary to it. Tilak proposed various social reforms, such as a minimum age for marriage, and was especially keen to see a prohibition placed on the sale of alcohol. His thoughts on education and Indian political life have remained highly influential he was the first Congress leader to suggest that Hindi, written in the devanagari script, should be accepted as the sole national language of India, a policy that was later strongly endorsed by Mahatma Gandhi. However, English, which (Anant) Chaturdashi (in Aug/Sept span), which contributed for people to get together and celebrate the festival and provided a good platform for leaders to inspire masses. His call for boycott of foreign goods also served to inspire patriotism among Indian masses.


Deepthi.com, 2003-2005. All Rights Reserved.
Contact webmaster@deepthi.com for comments and suggestions.