Keshav Gangadhar Tilak knew as Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
He was a leader of nationalism, a teacher, and an Independence activist in British-ruled India. He was also conferred with the title of “Lokmanya“, which means “accepted by the people (as their leader)“.Mahatma Gandhi called him “The Maker of Modern India“
Bal Gangadhar Tilak was the Indian Independence Movement’s first leader. He was one of the Lal Bal Pal triumvirate’s three members. He was dubbed “The Father of Indian Unrest” by British colonial authorities.
Early Life of Bal Gangadhar Tilak
- He was born on dated 23 July 1856 to a Marathi Hindu Chitpavan Brahmin family in Ratnagiri district, Bombay State, British India which is present-day Maharashtra, India.
- Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s father’s name was Shri Gangadhar Tilak and his mother’s name was Parvati Bai Gangadhar. Chikhali was Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s ancestral village.
- Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s father was a school teacher and a Sanskrit scholar who died when Tilak was sixteen years old.
- In 1877, he graduated from Deccan College in Pune with a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics with honors.
- He dropped out of his M.A. programme in the middle of the semester to enroll in the LL.B programme, earning his LL.B degree from Government Law College in 1879.
- Bal Gangadhar Tilak was married at the young age of 16 to Satyabhama Tilak in the year 1871. He had three sons Rambhau Balwant Tilak, Vishwanath Balwant Tilak and Sridhar Balwant Tilak.
Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s Involvement in Independence Movement
- In 1890, Tilak became a member of the Indian National Congress. He was opposed to its moderate stance, especially in the battle for self-government. At the moment, he was one of the most prominent revolutionaries.
- The bubonic plague spread from Bombay to Pune in late 1896, and by January 1897, it had reached epidemic proportions.
- Forced entry into private homes, an inspection of residents, relocation to hospitals and segregated camps, removal and destruction of personal belongings, and prohibiting patients from entering or leaving the city were among the harsh steps used to deal with the emergency.
- The outbreak had been brought under control by the end of May. They were generally seen as acts of injustice and dictatorship.
- Tilak took up the cause by publishing provocative articles in his newspaper Kesari, citing the Hindu scripture Bhagavad Gita to claim that no one should be held responsible for killing an oppressor without expecting a reward.
- The Chapekar brothers and their associates then shot and killed Commissioner Rand and another British officer, Lt. Ayerst, on June 22, 1897.
- Tilak was charged with murder incitement and received an 18-month sentence. He was respected as a martyr and a national hero when he was released from jail in modern-day Mumbai.
- After this, he declared “Swaraj is my birthright, and I shall have it.”
- Tilak encouraged the Swadeshi and Boycott movements after the Partition of Bengal, which was a policy devised by Lord Curzon in order to undermine the nationalist movement.
- The boycott of foreign products, as well as a social boycott of every Indian who used foreign goods, were also part of the campaign.
- Swadeshi was a movement that promoted the use of locally made products. When foreign products were boycotted, a void had to be filled by domestic demand.
- Swadeshi and Boycott campaigns, according to Tilak, are two sides of the same coin.
- Tilak opposed Gopal Krishna Gokhale’s moderate views and was backed by fellow Indian nationalists such as Bipin Chandra Pal in Bengal and Lala Lajpat Rai in Punjab. The “Lal-Bal-Pal triumvirate” was their nickname.
- The Congress Party’s annual meeting was held in Surat, Gujarat, in 1907. The selection of the new president of Congress sparked a battle between the party’s moderate and extreme wings.
- The party was divided into two factions: the extremists and the moderates. The extremists were led by Tilak, Pal, and Lajpat Rai. Tilak was supported by nationalists such as Aurobindo Ghose and V. O. Chidambaram Pillai.
- Tilak was tried for sedition three times by the British India Government during his lifetime, among other political cases, in 1897, 1909, and 1916.
- Tilak was sentenced to 18 months in prison in 1897 for preaching anti-Raj discontent.
- He was charged with sedition and inflaming ethnic tensions between Indians and the British again in 1909.
- In Tilak’s defence, Bombay lawyer Muhammad Ali Jinnah appeared, but he was sentenced to six years in prison in Burma in a contentious ruling.
- When Tilak was charged with sedition for the third time in 1916 over his self-rule lectures, Jinnah was his counsel again, and this time he was acquitted.
- When World War I broke out in August 1914, Tilak notified King-Emperor George V of his support and used his oratory to recruit new soldiers for the war effort.
- He applauded the British Parliament’s passage of the Indian Councils Act, also known as the Minto-Morley Reforms, in May 1909, describing it as “a significant increase in trust between the Rulers and the Ruled.”
- During the Lucknow Pact of 1916, Tilak reunited with his fellow nationalists and rejoined the Indian National Congress.
- Tilak tried to persuade Mahatma Gandhi to abandon the concept of total nonviolence in favor of achieving Swarajya by any means necessary.
- Though Gandhi disagreed with Tilak on the methods for achieving self-rule and was a staunch supporter of satyagraha, he admired Tilak’s contributions to the nation and his courage of conviction.
- After Tilak lost a civil suit against Valentine Chirol and suffered financial loss, Gandhi urged Indians to donate to the Tilak Purse Fund, which was established to cover Tilak’s expenses.
- Bal Gangadhar Tilak, along with G. S. Khaparde and Annie Besant helped found the All India Home Rule League in 1916–18.
- He gave up after years of trying to get the moderate and conservative groups together and concentrated on the Home Rule League, which advocated for self-rule.
- Tilak went from village to village seeking help from farmers and locals to join the self-rule movement.
- In April 1916, the league had 1400 members, and by 1917, it had risen to about 32,000.
Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s Social Views
- Bal Gangadhar Tilak was a strong opponent of liberal movements in Pune, such as women’s rights and anti-untouchability reforms.
- Bal Gangadhar Tilak used his newspapers, the Mahratta and Kesari, to vigorously oppose the establishment of the first Native girl’s High school in Pune in 1885 and its curriculum.
- Bal Gangadhar Tilak was also opposed to intercaste marriages, especially those in which a woman from a higher caste married a man from a lower caste.
- Bal Gangadhar Tilak opposed the age of consent bill, which increased the age of marriage for girls from ten to twelve years old, but he was able to sign a circular that raised the age of marriage for girls to sixteen years old and for boys to twenty years old.
- When it came to gender relations, Tilak was not a feminist.
- He did not accept that Hindu women should be educated in the modern world. He was more religious, claiming that women were supposed to be homemakers who had to submit themselves to their husbands and children’s needs.
- In 1918, Tilak declined to sign a petition calling for the abolition of untouchability, despite previously speaking out against it in a meeting.
Lal Bal Pal
The group was named after the three important leaders of the nationalist movement during British rule in the 20th century. Lal Bal Pal stands for lala Lajpat Rai. Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Bipin Chandra Pal. The main aim of the political group was to make the country “Self reliant” and “Self Sufficient”. To advocate this thought they launched the “Swadeshi movement” which trailblazer the way for the Indian movement for Independence. During that time India had lost its way and succumbed to the rule of british. While the Britishers were dividing India and leading movements like ‘Bengal Partition” they wanted to weaken India by dividing it following their motto of Divide and conquer. Lal Bal pal were the primitive forces to mobilize the country against the Bengal partition. They demonstrated their revolt through strikes, and boycott of forgein goods. The protest spread from Bengal and became a nation wide protest.
The Britisher played their trick and arrested Bal Gangadhar Tilak for sedition, while Bipin Chandra pal retired from active politics Lala Lajpat rai was weakened due to the injuries he suffered in the lathi charge. Their hands were tied leading to the slow fading of the nationalist movement.
The Bal Gangadhar Tilak biography teaches us about the life history of the first political leader in modern India. Bal Gangadhar Tilak was a philosopher-politician, which is a rare breed. His concepts of swaraj and swadeshi were based on making every Indian aware of the British insults and injustices. Through his home-rule campaign, he prepared a fertile ground for swaraj. The goal of the home rule movement was crystal clear to him. His demand was politically conciliatory in tone and tenor.
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