LOKMANYA BAL GANGADHAR TILAK
Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak was born on July 23, 1856 at Ratnagiri on the west coast of India. Tilak’s father was a school master who rose to become an inspector of primary schools. Tilak was married at 16, a few months before his father’s death. Tilak took his B.A, degree in 1877 with first class in Mathematics and two years later he became a Bachelor of Law.
On January 1, 1880 Tilak, Vishnushastri Chiplunkar and G.G. Agarkar inaugurated an English school named New English School. The school proved a great success and within four years, the number of its students crossed the four-figure mark. These young crusaders started two weeklies-The ‘Maratha” in English and ‘Kesari’ in Marathi in 1881. While the ‘Maratha’ kept in view “the more advanced portion of the community”, the ‘Kesari’ was considered to be an organ of the masses.
He had enlightened views on women’s education and his plea for reforming it so as to serve the best interests of the society, still holds good. He opposed child marriages. In 1889, tilak attended the Congress-session for the first time. Two other young men, Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Lala Lajpat Rai also joined the Congress platform. Bipin Chandra Pal whose name was to complete the popular trio of the national leadership Lal-Bal-Pal-had joined the Congress three years earlier. In 1891, at the Congress session that was held at Nagpur, Tilak was given the honour of moving the resolution on the Arms Act. The resolution was passed unanimously and Tilak’s speech made a striking impression on the audience.
In 1893, Tilak inaugurated the ‘Ganpati Festival’ in Poona and did his best to popularize it all over Maharashtra by public lectures and articles in the ‘Kesari’. In 1896, he inaugurated the Shivaji festival in honour of Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha Empire.
In 1896, Maharashtra came in the grip of Famine-calamity. Tilak lost no time in ventilating the grievances of the peasantry, acquainting it with its rights under the ‘Famine Relief Code’, organizing relief and shaking officialdom out of its lethargy and inertial through the columns of the ‘Kesari’ and the ‘Maratha’. In 1897, Poona became a victim of bubonic plague. Tilak established a private hospital and opened a fund for relief. Unlike many other prominent people who left Poona in panic, he remained in the city actively helping the needy and the distressed.
On July 23, 1916, thousands of Tilak’s admirers decided to celebrate his 60th birthday with the presentation of an address and a purse of rupees one lakh. Tilak gave away the money to the trust meant for public work. He said, “God alone can help in our efforts to serve the motherland by trying to make it free. If not by us, it is certain that the fruit will be gathered by the next generation, “and his words proved true”.
On July 21, 1920 Tilak caught a chill which resulted into serious complications. Despite the efforts of a roster of Bombay’s most eminent doctors, Tilak breathed his last on Sunday, August 1, 1920.
Millions poured out to pay reverence to their beloved leader. Nehru and Gandhi along with several renowned leaders eulogized Tilak and paid handsome tributes to him.
The one man who is known as “The Father of Indian Unrest” is “Lokmanya” Bal Gandhar Tilak. These two titles of Tilak have the different meanings. According to Britishers, he was the father of Indian unrest because he was the man who stood the Indian people for the first time against British Government and from that time the rest of British Government in India was gone and never came back.
Tilak was the man who awaken the Indians about their rights and worst condition from where they had to live because of the British Raj. Tilak was strict against the rule of any other country or person over India.
He declared, Swaraj (self rule) is my birth right and 1 must take it” His slogan was on the mouth of every Indian and before Gandhiji he was the first man which approach towards Indians was so deep, that is why he was called ‘The Father of Indian Unrest” According to Indians he was “Lokmanya” it means that he was a man who was honoured by the people of India.
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His approach towards the people was too deep and he was the first man who stood the people in front of British Raj. Tilak was born on July 23, 1856 at Ratanagiri, a small coastal town in a middle class family. He passed B.A. in first class. After Graduation in law he helped to found a school which laid emphasis on nationalism. He started newspapers “Kesari and “Maratha”. Both papers tried to teach Indians of their glorious past and remainded them to be self-reliant (Swadeshi)-
After capturing political power in India the British Government damaged the financial structure of India. The British Government took the raw material from India and after manufacturing goods over their factories imposed these goods to Indian people and they had to bought them because the Indian industries was closed by the Britishers. For Britishers India became such a place from where they can grasp the raw material for their industries and then sale their manufacturing goods here.
Tilak was very angry to saw this behaviour of British Government because by this England because richer and India became poorer. He tried to awake the Indian people and breathe life into the moribund nation through four mantras,
(i) Buycott of foreign goods,
(2) National Education,
(3) Self- Government
(4) Swadeshi or Self-reliance.
He told the masses, “We have no arms, but there is no necessity. But our strong political weapon is boycott (of foreign goods). Organize your powers and then go to work so that they cannot refuse you what you demand”
He wrote the articles on Nationalism in his newspapers which create tensions and troubles for British Government because of this he sent to Jail in 1908 for 6 years. In this period of 6 years he wrote his famous commentary on Bhagwad- Gita in Mandalay Jail. He established “Poona Home rule league” and with Irish lady Annie Besant’s “India Home-rule league”, Tilak started Home-rule movement which created a lot of troubles for British Government.
When he returned from jail in 1914 he was the unquestioned leader of India and till his death on August 1, 1920. He was a man who devoted his whole life to Nation. He wrote two books “Geeta Rahasya” and “Arctic Home of Aryas”
He also started two festivals in Maharashtra because of these festivals he tried to collect people and motivate them towards the freedom struggle of our country. He started Ganpati Jayanti” and “Shivaji Jayanti” in Maharashtra and very soon both these festivals became very popular in Maharashtra.
Both these festivals celebrated with joy and happiness till today in Maharashtra and many other parts of our country. So Tilak did everything to brae the sleep of Indians and motivate them towards freedom struggle. He definitely a greatest son of our Motherland.