Bal Gangadhar Tilak

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While Gandhi referred to Tilak as the “Maker of Modern India,” the British referred to him as the “Father of Indian Unrest.” People in India refer to him as ‘Lokmanya,’ which means ‘widely regarded as the leader.’ Tilak, a teacher and journalist by trade, began his political career as a Maratha propagandist but quickly rose to prominence as a strong nationalist. He was the first leader to argue for ‘Swaraj,’ or ‘Self-Government.’ His strong political viewpoints and revolutionary ideals sparked a national debate in India, highlighting the necessity for a free India where all religions and races are treated fairly. Millions of Indians were motivated by his motto “Swaraj is my birth right and I shall obtain it” during his long career as a social reformer and independence fighter. He is well known for defying British control and promoting the concept of radical nationalism.

Childhood and Adolescence

Bal On July 23, 1856, in Ratnagiri, Gangadhar Tilak was born to a Chitpavan Brahmin family as Keshav Gangadhar Tilak. Tilak’s father, a schoolteacher and Sanskrit scholar, was a significant figure in his early life.
He received a lot of his early education at home. Despite his intelligence, he was a naughty child who was despised by his instructors.

Because of his strong opinions and independent beliefs, he has been marked out since he was a child. He did not compromise his beliefs for anyone, which set him apart from other lads his age.

In 1877, he graduated from Deccan College in Pune, making him one of the first Indians to get a modern college education. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics.

Career of Bal Gangadhar Tilak

He began teaching mathematics in a private school in Pune shortly after finishing his degree. However, due to ideological differences with his colleagues, he decided to pursue journalism as a career.
He resolved to put an end to the unrest by establishing a group that would assist in educating people about Indian culture and national ideas. He was appalled by the western education system and its humiliating character in handling Indian students.

He formed the Deccan Education Society with Gopal Ganesh Agarkar, Mahadev Ballal Namjoshi, and Vishnushastri Chiplunkar. By emphasizing Indian culture, the organisation attempted to teach young Indians about nationalist views. Its goal was to provide Indian youth with a high-quality education.

Deccan Education Society established the New English School for secondary education in 1885, as well as Fergusson College for post-secondary education. In the latter, he was a mathematics professor.

After the Deccan Education Society began educating the public about Indian culture and nationalist beliefs, he founded two periodicals, ‘Kesari’ and ‘Maratha,’ which attempted to raise people’s political awareness. ‘Kesari’ was written in Marathi, but ‘Maratha’ was written in English.

He publicly challenged British control through his weekly publication. He even spoke out against Indians who followed the western way of thinking. He vehemently opposed any sort of political, social, or economic reform that benefited the West.

He joined the Indian National Congress in 1890, but did not remain a member for the rest of his life. He was outspoken in his criticism of the INC’s moderate approach to the fight for self-governance.

By promoting huge celebrations of Hindu holidays, he hoped to increase the appeal of the national movement. He established the Ganesh Utsav in 1894 and made it a public celebration. He established the Shivaji Fund Committee a year later to commemorate Shivaji Maharaj’s birth anniversary.

When the Bubonic Plague struck Bombay in 1896 and quickly spread to other parts of the state, the British took drastic steps to contain the outbreak. He denounced the British attempts through his journal, describing them as acts of authoritarianism and subjection.

He was condemned to 18 months in prison in 1897. When he was released from prison, he became a national hero and a martyr.

He founded the Boycott and Swadeshi campaign in 1905. While the former advocated for a boycott of all things Western, from foreign commodities to foreign clothing, the latter advocated for the usage of Indian-made goods and services.

Two years later, at the Congress’s annual session, disagreements arose between the moderates and the radicals, resulting in the formation of two new factions.

In 1908, he defended Prafulla Chaki and Khudiram Bose, two revolutionaries who attempted to kill the Chief Presidency Magistrate by detonating a bomb on a vehicle in Muzzafarnagar. He was charged with sedition and encouraging terrorism and was sentenced to six years in prison. While imprisoned, he wrote his greatest opus, Srimad Bhagavadgit Rahasya, a reinterpretation of Hinduism’s most sacred scripture.

He did not give up his political activity after being released from prison in 1914, and he promptly founded the All India Home Rule League.

He rejoined the Indian National Congress two years later. Despite several attempts, he was unable to bring the moderate and radical wings of the Congress together, and he later moved to self-rule, campaigning for it among peasants and farmers.

Personal History and Legacy

In 1871, he married Tapibai, whose name was changed to Satyabhamabai after the marriage.
After being freed from prison in 1914 due to diabetes, Tilak, who was usually uncompromising about his opinions and views, mellowed.

On August 1, 1920, he drew his last breath.
Tilak’s legacy lives on in the hearts and imaginations of millions of people even though he is no longer alive. His Marathi newspaper, Kesari, is still published daily rather than weekly.

He established the Deccan Education Society, which still exists today, with prestigious institutions like as Fergusson College as members.

The Swadeshi movement, which he started, became highly popular during the Independence Movement in the twentieth century, and was accepted by prominent leaders such as MK Gandhi.
The Indian government issued a coin in 2007 to mark the 150th anniversary of this renowned freedom fighter’s birth.

Even today, the yearly Ganesh Utsav and Shivaji’s birth anniversary, which he began on a huge scale, are celebrated with much pomp and display.

Estimated Net Worth

The estimated net worth of Bal Gangadhar Tilak is unknown.