Posts Tagged ‘Lokmanya Tilak’

23th July, Remembaring Bal Gangadhar Tilak (Lokmanya Tilak)

Posted by: Vande India   
July 22nd,

Bal Gangadhar Tilak, born July 23, 1856, was universally recognized as the Father of Indian Unrest. He was one of the prime architects of modern India and heralded Asian nationalism. His philosophy could not survive after his death as India came under sway of Mahatma Gandhi.


Tilak was a brilliant politician as well as a profound scholar who believed that independence is the foremost necessity for the well being of a nation and that to win it through extreme measures should not be dispensed with. He was the first intellectual leader to understand the importance of mass support and subsequently became the first mass leader of India. He realized that the constitutional agitation in itself was futile against the British and that, moreover, India was ill prepared for an armed revolt.


Posted by: Vande India   
July 23rd,


Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak (Marathi: बाळ गंगाधर टिळक) (July 23, 1856 – August 1, 1920), was an Indian nationalist, social reformer and independence fighter who was the first popular leader of the Indian Independence Movement and is known as “Father of the Indian unrest.”

Tilak was one of the first and strongest proponents for Swaraj ( complete independence) in Indian consciousness, and is considered the father of Hindu nationalism as well. His famous quote, “Swaraj is my birthright, and I will have it!” is well-remembered in India even today.

Early life:

Tilak was born in Madhali Alee (Middle Lane) in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra, into a middle class family. He graduated from Deccan College, Pune in 1877. [1]

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 demeaned the Indian students and disrespected 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

Political career:

Tilak founded the Marathi daily Kesari (newspaper) (Lion) in 1880. In just two years ‘Kesari’ attracted more readers than any language news papers in India. The editorials gave a vivid picture of the people’s sufferings and of actual happenings. They called upon every Indian to fight for his right.

Tilak used to say to his colleagues: “You are not writing for the university students. Imagine you are talking to a villager. Be sure of your facts. Let your words be clear as day light.” Tilak strongly criticized the government for its brutality in suppressing 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 that the British immediately give Indians the right to self-government.

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.In 1891 Tilak opposed the Age of Consent bill introduced after the death of a child bride from sexual injuries. The act raised the marriageable age of a child bride from 10 to 12 which was already 16 in Britain since 1885. This was one of the first significant reforms introduced by the British since Indian rebellion of 1857. The Congress and other liberals whole-heartedly supported it but Tilak raised a battle-cry terming it as ‘Interference in Hindu Religion’. However, he personally opposed child marriage, and his own daughters married at 16.

When in 1897, bubonic plague spread from Bombay to Pune the Government became jittery. The Assistant Collector of Pune, Mr. Rand, and his associates employed extremely severe and brutal methods to stop the spread of the disease by destroying even “clean homes.” Even people who were not infected were carried away and in some cases, the carriers even looted property of the affected people. When the authorities turned a blind eye to all these excesses, furious Tilak took up the people’s cause by publishing inflammatory articles in his paper Kesari, quoting the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, to say that no blame could be attached to anyone who killed an oppressor without any thought of reward. Following this, on 27 June, Rand and his assistant were killed. Tilak was charged with incitement to murder and sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment. When he emerged from prison, he had become a national hero and adopted a new slogan, “Swaraj (Self-Rule) is my birth right and I will have it.”

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. They were referred to as the Lal-Bal-Pal triumvirate. In 1907,the annual session of the Congress Party was held at Surat (Gujarat). Trouble broke out between the moderate and the extremist factions of the party over the selection of the new president of the Congress and the party split into the Garam Dal (“Hot Faction,” or extremists), led by Tilak, Pal and Lajpat Rai, and the Naram Dal (“Soft Faction,” or moderates).

On 30 April 1908 two Bengali youths, Prafulla Chaki and Kudiram Bose, threw a bomb on a carriage at Muzzafurpur in order to kill a District Judge Douglass Kenford but erroneously killed some women travelling in it. While Chaki committed suicide when caught, Bose was tried and hanged. British papers screamed for vengeance and their shrill cries became even more insistent when Police raided and found a cache of arms at Calcutta. But Tilak in his paper Kesari defended the revolutionaries and called for immediate Swaraj or Self-rule. The Government swiftly arrested him for sedition. He 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.

Much has been said of his trial of 1908, it being the most historic trial. His last words on the verdict of the Jury were such: “In spite of the verdict of the Jury, I maintain that I am innocent. There are higher powers that rule the destiny of men and nations and it may be the will of providence that the cause which I represent may prosper more by my suffering than my remaining free”. These words now can be seen imprinted on the wall of Room. No. 46 at Bombay High Court.

Upon his release from Mandalay, 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. Tilak was impressed by the Russian Revolution, and expressed his admiration for Lenin.[2]

Tilak, who started his political life as a Maratha Protagonist, during his later part of life progressed into a prominent nationalist after his close association with Bengal nationalists following the partition of Bengal. When asked in Calcutta whether he envisioned a Maratha type of government for Free India, Tilak replied that the Maratha dominated Governments of 16th and 17th centuries were outmoded in 20th century and he wanted a genuine federal system for Free India where every religion and race were equal partners. Only such a form of Government would be able to safe-guard India’s freedom he added

Source :wikipedia


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