BALGANGADHAR TILAK

Independence has been a great achievement for our nation. But any great task requires sacrifice and hard work coupled with grit determination. Independence was much needed but this would not have been possible without our respectable freedom fighters.

Freedom fighters worked sweat blood to free the nation from the pangs of invaders. Some believed in peaceful protest and revolution such as the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi while others like Khudiram Bose and Subash Chandra Bose believed in the supremacy of armed rebellion.

Among the many great warriors of India, one name holds a great and respectable position. The name is Bal Gangadhar Tilak, also called Lokmanya Tilak. It is very important that we know about the lives of our leaders and cherish their struggles because of whom we live freely.

Bal Gangadhar Tilak was born of 23rd July,1856. His real name was Keshav Gangadhar Tilak. He was a teacher and also an Indian nationalist and independent activist. He was born in a Marathi Hindu Brahmin family. His father, Gangadhar Tilak was a school teacher and Sanskrit scholar who died when Tilak was sixteen years old. After his father’s death, at the age of sixteen, he was married to Tapibai.

His educational qualifications included a Bachelor of Arts in first class in Mathematics from Deccan College of Pune in 1877 and L.L.B. degree from Government Law College in 1879.

Political Career– He had a long political career. Before the advent of Mahatama Gandhi, he was the most known political leader. Tilak was considered a radical nationalist but a social conservative. He joined the Indian National Congress in 1890. He opposed its moderate attitude, especially towards self-government. Tilak also played a key role in promoting the Swadeshi Movement and the Boycott Movement after the Partition of Bengal. 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. During his lifetime among other political cases, Tilak had been tried for sedition charges three times by the British Indian Government—in 1897, 1909, and 1916. In 1897, Tilak was sentenced to 18 months in prison for preaching disaffection against the Raj. In 1909, he was again charged with sedition and intensifying racial animosity between Indians and the British. The Bombay lawyer Muhammad Ali Jinnah appeared in Tilak’s defense but he was sentenced to six years in prison in Burma in a controversial judgment. In 1916 when for the third time Tilak was charged for sedition over his lectures on self-rule, Jinnah again was his lawyer and this time led him to acquittal in the case.

Tilak strictly opposed trends of liberal nature such as women’s rights, educating girls, and inter-caste marriage. He was particularly opposed to a form of marriage that involved a high caste girl and a boy of lower caste.

Also, Tilak started two weeklies Kesari ( in Marathi) and Mahratta in English. For this, he was recognized as the ‘awakener of India’. He appreciated the importance of identity issues in Modern India and motivated people to join the struggle for independence.

All in all, contributions made by Tilak were of significant importance and he is a leader to be remembered profoundly and a lot needs to be learned from him.

Sources- Wikipedia, Britannica, and Various News Articles

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