Bal Gangadhar Tilak Biography for exams

Explore the extensive political career of Bal Gangadhar Tilak, a prominent leader in the Indian struggle for independence against British colonial rule.

Bal Gangadhar Tilak Biography  for exams

"Bal Gangadhar Tilak was born on July 23, 1856, and passed away on August 1, 1920. Bal Gangadhar Tilak was popularly known as Lokmanya. He was an Indian nationalist, educator, and freedom fighter. He was a prominent figure in the Lal Bal Pal trio and a leader in the early Indian independence movement. British colonial authorities referred to him as the 'Father of the Indian Unrest.' He was also honored with the title 'Lokmanya,' meaning 'accepted by the people as their leader.' Mahatma Gandhi called him the 'Maker of Modern India.'

Life Introduction of Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Tilak was one of the strongest advocates for 'Swaraj' (self-rule) and a staunch nationalist in Indian consciousness. He is known for his famous quote in Marathi: 'Swaraj is my birthright, and I shall have it!' He formed close alliances with leaders such as Bipin Chandra Pal, Lala Lajpat Rai, Aurobindo Ghosh, V.O. Chidambaram Pillai, and Muhammad Ali Jinnah, creating a strong coalition within the Indian National Congress.

Early Life: Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Bal Gangadhar Tilak was born to Keshav Gangadhar Tilak on July 23, 1856, in Ratnagiri, which was part of the Bombay Presidency at that time. His ancestral village was Chikhli. His father, Gangadhar Tilak, was a school teacher and a Sanskrit scholar. He passed away when Tilak was just sixteen years old. In 1871, shortly before his father's death, Tilak got married to Tapibai, who was sixteen at the time.

After completing his Bachelor's degree in Mathematics with first-class honors from Deccan College, Pune, in 1877, Tilak left his LL.B. course in the middle to join the Government Law College. In 1879, he obtained his LL.B. degree from the Government Law College. After graduation, Tilak started teaching mathematics in a private school in Pune. Later, due to intellectual disagreements with colleagues on ideological grounds, he left and became a journalist. Tilak actively participated in public affairs. He said, 'Religion and practical life are not different. To work for one's own salvation is nonsense. The first step towards the service of God is the service of humanity.'

Inspired by Vishnushastri Chiplunkar, he, along with some friends from his college, founded the New English School in 1880. The school included Gopal Ganesh Agarkar, Mahadev Ballal Namjoshi, and Vishnushastri Chiplunkar. The success of the school led him to establish the Deccan Education Society in 1884 to bring about improvements in the quality of education for Indian youth. The society laid the foundation for Fergusson College in 1885. In 1890, Tilak left the Deccan Education Society and actively entered politics. He formed strong alliances with several leaders of the Indian National Congress.

Tilak, inspired by the need for cultural and religious revival, initiated a mass movement towards freedom. In 1885, after primary education, the Deccan Education Society was established. In 1894, the society's efforts resulted in the establishment of Fergusson College. Later, with a focus on political activities, he left the Deccan Education Society in 1890. He started a mass movement with an emphasis on the revival of religion and culture, paving the way for a national movement for freedom."

Political Career: Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Tilak had a long political career, marked by his struggle against British colonial rule for Indian independence. Prior to Gandhi, he was the most widely recognized Indian political leader. In contrast to his contemporary Maharashtrian peer, Gokhale, Tilak was considered an extremist nationalist but a conservative socialite. He faced imprisonment on several occasions, including an extended term in Mandalay. In one phase of his political life, he was labeled as the Father of Indian Unrest' by the British author Sir Valentine Chirol."

Bal Gangadhar Tilak Biography in Hindi UPSC

The passage you provided is a detailed description of Bal Gangadhar Tilak's involvement in the Indian National Congress and various movements against British rule in India. Here's the English translation:

Indian National Congress: Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Tilak joined the Indian National Congress in 1890. He opposed its moderate policies, especially regarding the fight for self-governance. He was one of the most prominent extremists of his time. In reality, the Swadeshi Movement of 1905-1907 resulted in a division between moderates and extremists within the Indian National Congress.

During the end of 1896, a bubonic plague spread from Bombay to Pune, reaching epidemic proportions by January 1897. Stringent measures were taken by the British Indian Army to handle the emergency, including forced entry into private homes, examination of residents, clearing hospitals and plague camps, eviction and destruction of property, and preventing the entry or exit of patients in the city. By the end of May, the epidemic was under control. The widespread anger among the Indian public towards the methods used to control the epidemic was reflected in Tilak's fiery articles published in his newspaper "Kesari."

Tilak, in his newspaper Kesari, raised the issue and challenged the measures taken to control the epidemic. He was accused of inciting violence and hatred against the British authorities. Following this, on June 22, 1897, Commissioner Rand and another British officer, Lieutenant Ayerst, were shot dead by the Chapekar brothers and their associates. According to Barbara and Thomas R. Metcalf, Tilak "almost certainly shielded the assassins." Tilak was charged with incitement to murder and sentenced to 18 months in prison. When he was released from the present-day Mumbai jail, he was honored as a martyr and a national hero.

After the partition of Bengal, which was a strategy by Lord Curzon to weaken the nationalist movement, Tilak encouraged the Swadeshi Movement and the Boycott Movement. This movement included the boycott of foreign goods and social ostracism of anyone using foreign-made products. Tilak believed that Swadeshi and Boycott were two sides of the same coin.

Tilak opposed the liberal ideas of Gopal Krishna Gokhale and supported fellow Indian nationalists Bipin Chandra Pal in Bengal and Lala Lajpat Rai in Punjab. Together, they were referred to as "Lal-Bal-Pal triumvirate." In the 1907 annual session of the Congress in Surat, a split occurred between the moderates and extremists within the party over the election of a new president. The party split into factions led by Tilak, Pal, and Lajpat Rai on one side and the moderates on the other. Leaders like Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal, and the nationalist group had the support of extremists like Aurobindo Ghosh and V. O. Chidambaram Pillai.

When asked in Kolkata whether he envisioned a Maratha-style government for independent India after the partition of Bengal, which was a strategy by Lord Curzon to weaken the nationalist movement, Tilak responded that the Maratha-ruled governments of the 17th and 18th centuries had become obsolete by the 20th century. He expressed a desire for a true federal system for independent India, where everyone would have an equal share.

Sedition Cases: Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Throughout his lifetime, the British Indian government charged Tilak with sedition three times - in 1897 and 1916. In 1897, Tilak was sentenced to 18 months in prison for spreading dissatisfaction against the government. In 1909, he was again charged with sedition and accused of exacerbating racial animosity between Indians and the British. Bombay lawyer Muhammad Ali Jinnah represented Tilak in his defense, but a controversial verdict resulted in a six-year prison sentence in Burma. In 1916, when Tilak faced sedition charges for the third time for his speeches on self-governance, Jinnah once again defended him, and this time, he was acquitted.

Mandalay Imprisonment: Bal Gangadhar Tilak

On April 30, 1908, two Bengali youths, Prafulla Chaki and Khudiram Bose, threw a bomb on a carriage in Muzaffarpur with the intention of killing the Chief Presidency Magistrate of Calcutta, Douglas Kingsford. However, they accidentally killed two women traveling in the carriage. Chaki committed suicide upon being caught, and Bose was hanged. Tilak defended the revolutionaries in his newspaper Kesari and immediately called for immediate Swaraj or self-governance. The government promptly charged him with sedition. Following the conclusion of the trial, a special jury found him guilty by a majority of 7:2. Justice Dinshaw Davar, who himself had presented Tilak in his first sedition case in 1897, delivered a sentence of six years of imprisonment in Mandalay, Burma, and a fine of ₹1,000. When asked by Justice Davar if he had anything to say, Tilak replied:

"I only wish to say that notwithstanding the verdict of the Jury, I still 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 I represent may be benefited more by my suffering than by my pen and tongue."

Jinnah was Tilak's defense lawyer in this case as well. Justice Davar's verdict faced severe criticism in the press, and it was seen as against the impartiality of the British judicial system.

During his imprisonment from 1908 to 1914, Tilak continued to read and write, developing his thoughts on the Indian nationalist movement. He wrote "Gita Rahasya" during this period, many copies of which were sold, and the proceeds were donated to the Indian freedom struggle.

Bal Gangadhar Tilak Biography in Hindi UPSC

During his sentence in Mandalay Jail, Tilak developed diabetes. On June 16, 1914, his release marked the end of another chapter in his prison life. When the First World War began in August of that year, Tilak encouraged support for King-Emperor George V and adapted his advocacy to find new routes for recruiting volunteers. Rather than resorting to violent means, he believed in accelerating political reforms. Tilak welcomed the Indian Councils Act, popularly known as the Minto-Morley Reforms, passed by the British Parliament in May 1909, considering it a "remarkable increase of confidence between rulers and ruled." He firmly believed that the pace of political reforms should be hastened instead of resorting to violent activities. He was eager for reconciliation with the Congress and dropped his demand for direct action, becoming prepared for a nonviolent agitation "by constitutional means."

Tilak rejoined his nationalist colleagues and was back with the Indian National Congress during the Lucknow Pact of 1916. 

Tilak, differing from Mohandas Gandhi, attempted to persuade him to abandon the principle of complete nonviolence ("Total Ahimsa") and strive for self-rule ("Swaraj") through all means. Although Gandhi did not fully agree with Tilak, he admired Tilak's services to the country and his courageous stance. After Gandhi lost the legal case against Valentine Chirol and faced financial losses, he initiated the Tilak Swaraj Fund to cover the expenses incurred by Tilak.

All India Home Rule League: Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Tilak played a significant role in establishing the All India Home Rule League from 1916 to 1918, collaborating with G.S. Khaparde and Annie Besant. After years of effort to reunite moderate and extremist factions, he conceded defeat and focused on the Home Rule League, which raised the demand for self-rule. Tilak embarked on a village-to-village journey to garner support from farmers and locals for the nonviolent agitation in favor of self-rule. Influenced by the Russian Revolution, Tilak expressed admiration for Vladimir Lenin. By April 1916, the league had 1,400 members, and by 1917, membership had grown to approximately 32,000. Tilak initiated his Home Rule League primarily in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, and the Barar region, while the Besant League remained active in the rest of India.

Religious-Political Ideas: Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Throughout his life, Tilak advocated for uniting the Indian population on a large scale for political action. He believed that a widespread consciousness of anti-British and anti-Hindu sentiments required broad acceptance for active participation. To achieve this, he insisted on the necessity of a comprehensive identity for anti-British and anti-Hindu activities. For this purpose, he sought appropriateness in the stated principles of the Ramayana and Bhagavad Gita. He named this effort Karma Yoga or the Yoga of Action, emphasizing active involvement. In his interpretation, the Bhagavad Gita revealed a strong justification for the principle of activism. Though it was controversial in the context of the prevalent interpretations, which were predominantly influenced by two mainstreams of thought represented by Ramanuja and Adi Shankara at the time, he established support for his views by writing commentaries on relevant sections of the Gita and referring to the commentaries of Jnanadeva, criticisms of Ramanuja, and his own translation of the Gita.

His main contention was against the renunciatory ideas prevalent at the time that were in conflict with active engagement in worldly affairs. Alongside reinterpreting words like karma, dharma, and yoga, he also elucidated the concept of self-sacrifice in harmony with the Bhagavad Gita. He supported his views by utilizing commentaries on the Gita by Jnanadeva, criticisms by Ramanuja, and his own translation of the Gita.

His primary struggle was against the renunciatory ideas that were in opposition to the active participation in worldly affairs, and he presented his views against the mainstream interpretations of the time. His ideas were particularly in conflict with the prevalent views represented by Ramanuja and Adi Shankara. To garner support for his interpretation, Tilak produced commentaries on relevant sections of the Gita and utilized commentaries by Jnanadeva, criticisms by Ramanuja, and his own translation of the Gita.

Opposing the ascetic ideas that were in vogue and against those who were in conflict with active participation in worldly affairs, Tilak clarified his views. He wrote extensive commentaries on the relevant sections of the Gita, using commentaries by Jnanadeva and criticisms by Ramanuja. He utilized these interpretations to establish his perspective in the ongoing debates. 

Against the prevalent ascetic ideas and those opposing active participation in worldly affairs, Tilak argued for his views. He wrote extensive commentaries on the relevant sections of the Gita, referring to commentaries by Jnanadeva and criticisms by Ramanuja to substantiate his perspective.

His main battle was against the ascetic views in vogue at the time, and against those opposing active participation in worldly affairs. To strengthen his viewpoint, Tilak wrote extensive commentaries on relevant sections of the Gita, utilizing commentaries by Jnanadeva and criticisms by Ramanuja, along with his own translation of the Gita.

Women's Social Ideas: Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Tilak strongly opposed social reforms favoring women's rights and untouchability that were emerging in the progressive movements of Pune. In 1885, he founded the first Native Girls High School in Pune (now known as Hujurpaga) and vehemently opposed its curriculum using his newspapers, Mahratta and Kesari. Tilak was against inter-caste marriages, especially where a woman of higher caste married a man of lower caste. In the cases of Deshastha, Chitpavan, and Karhade Brahmins, he encouraged them to maintain "caste distinctiveness" and collaborate with the British to support their cause. He officially agreed to a higher marriageable age and opposed an official ban that raised the marriageable age for girls from ten to twelve, although he was willing to sign a circular that unofficially increased the age to sixteen for girls and twenty for boys.

Bal Gangadhar Tilak's Slogan

"Swaraj is my birthright, and I shall have it!"

Who conferred the title "Lokmanya" upon Bal Gangadhar Tilak?

Mahatma Gandhi

How did Bal Gangadhar Tilak die?

The British government sentenced Bal Gangadhar Tilak to six years of imprisonment, and during this period, his wife passed away, causing him immense grief. He died on August 1, 1920, in Mumbai.

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