Born: July 23, 1856
Died: August 1, 1920
Achievements: Considered as Father of Indian National Movement;
Founded Deccan Education Society to impart quality education
to India's youth; was a member of the Municipal Council of Pune, Bombay
Legislature, and an elected 'Fellow' of the Bombay University; formed
Home Rule League in 1916 to attain the goal of Swaraj.
Bal Gangadhar Tilak is considered as Father of Indian National
Movement. Bal Gangadhar Tilak was a multifaceted personality. He was a
social reformer, freedom fighter, national leader, and a scholar of
Indian history, sanskrit, hinduism, mathematics and astronomy. Bal
Gangadhar Tilak was popularly called as Lokmanya (Beloved of the
people). During freedom struggle, his slogan Swaraj is my
birthright and I shall have it inspired millions of Indians.
Bal Gangadhar Tilak was born on July 23, 1856 in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra. He
was a Chitpavan Brahmin by caste. His father Gangadhar Ramachandra Tilak
was a Sanskrit scholar and a famous teacher. Tilak was a brilliant
student and he was very good in mathematics. Since childhood Tilak had
an intolerant attitude towards injustice and he was truthful and
straightforward in nature. He was among India's first generation of
youth to receive a modern, college education.
When Tilak was ten his father was transferred to Pune from Ratnagiri.
This brought sea change in Tilaks life. He joined the
Anglo-Vernacular School in Pune and got education from some of the well
known teachers. Soon after coming to Pune Tilak lost his mother and by
the time he was sixteen he lost his father too. While Tilak was studying
in Matriculation he was married to a 10-year-old girl called Satyabhama.
After passing the Matriculation Examination Tilak joined the Deccan
College. In 1877, Bal Gangadhar Tilak got his B.A. degree with a first
class in mathematics. He continued his studies and got the LL.B. degree
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 came to the conclusion that good
citizens can be moulded only through good education. He believed that
every Indian had to be taught about Indian culture and national ideals.
Along with his classmate Agarkar and great social reformer Vishnushastry
Chiplunkar, Bal Gangadhar Tilak founded Deccan Education Society
to impart quality education to India's youth.
The very next year after the Deccan Education Society was founded,
Tilak started two weeklies, 'Kesari' and 'Mahratta'. 'Kesari' was
Marathi weekly while 'Mahratta' was English weekly. Soon both the
newspapers became very popular. In his newspapers, Tilak highlighted the
plight of Indians. He gave a vivid picture of the people's sufferings
and of actual happenings. Tilak called upon every Indian to fight for
his right. Bal Gangadhar Tilak used fiery language to arouse the
Bal Gangadhar Tilak joined the Indian National
Congress in 1890. He was a member of the Municipal Council of Pune, Bombay
Legislature, and an elected 'Fellow' of the Bombay University. Tilak was
a great social reformer. He issued a call for the banning of child
marriage and welcomed widow remarriage. Through the celebrations of
Ganapati Festival and the birthday of the Shivaji he organized people.
In 1897, Bal Gangadhar Tilak was charged with writing articles
instigating people to rise against the government and to break the laws
and disturb the peace. He was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for one
and a half year. Tilak was released in 1898. After his release, Tilak
launched Swadeshi Movement. Through newspapers and lectures, Tilak
spread the message to each and every village in Maharashtra. A big
'Swadeshi Market' was opened in front of Tilak's house. Meanwhile,
Congress was split into two camps-Moderates and Extremists. Extremists
led by Bal Gangadhar Tilak opposed the moderate faction led by Gopal
Krishna. Extremists were in the favour of self rule while the moderates
thought that time is not yet ripe for such an eventuality. This rift
finally led to a split in the Congress.
Tilak was arrested on the charges of sedition in 1906. After the trial,
Tilak was sentenced to six years of imprisonment in Mandalay (Burma).
Tilak spent his time in prison by reading and writing. He wrote the book
'Gita-Rahasya' while he was in prison. Tilak was released on June 8,
1914. After his release, Bal Gangadhar Tilak tried to bring the two
factions of Congress together. But his efforts did not bear much fruit.
In 1916, Tilak decided to build a separate organization called the 'Home
Rule League'. Its goal was swaraj. Tilak went from village to village,
and explained the aim of his league to the farmers and won their hearts.
He traveled constantly in order to organize the people. While fighting
for peoples cause Bal Gangadhar Tilak died on August 1, 1920.