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Bal Gangadhar Tilak: one of the most important leaders of the Indian Independence Movement

Bala Gangadhar Tilak was born in 1856 in Ratnagiri, present day Maharashtra into a middle-class Hindu family; he received his BSc from Pune. He was one of the most prominent leaders of the Indian independence movement. He is also known as the ‘Father of Indian Riots.’

Bala Gangadhar Tilak Contributions to make India a free country and other related facts:

•Bal Gangadhar Tilak, commonly known as Lokamanya Tilak, was a leader of the Indian independence movement and belonged to an extremist faction. He was also called the ‘Father of Indian Riots’.

• He was against moderate ways and views and had a more radical and aggressive stance against British rule.

•He was one of the earliest advocates of Swaraj or self-rule. He gave the slogan, “Swaraj is my birthright and I will have it.” He believed that no progress was possible without self-government.

• He was part of the extremist faction of the INC and was a supporter of boycott and Swadeshi movement.

• He published two papers – Kesari in Marathi and Mahratta in English. He was fearless in his criticism of the government in this newspaper.

• He was sentenced to 18 months in prison on charges of “incitement to murder.” He wrote that the killers of the oppressors cannot be blamed, quoting the Bhagavad Gita. Then two British officials were killed by two Indians in retaliation for the “tyrannical” measures taken by the government during the bubonic plague episode in Bombay.

• He was tried several times for sedition. He spent 6 years in Mandalay Jail from 1908 to 1914 for writing articles in defense of Prafulla Chaki and Khudiram Bose. It was the revolutionaries who killed two English women and threw a bomb into the carriage carrying the women. Chaki and Bose mistakenly believed that Judge Douglas Kingsford was involved.

• Tilak rejoined the INC in 1916 after splitting earlier.

• He was one of the founders of the All India Home Rule League along with Annie Besant and GS Khaparde.

•Tilak drew heavily on ancient Hindu scriptures for his political ideals.

• He called for people to be proud of their heritage. He was against the blatant westernization of society.

• He turned a simple Ganesh Puja performed at home into a social and public Ganesh festival.

Tilak strongly criticized the education system followed in India by the British, therefore, he started the Deccan Educational Society with Gopal Ganesh Agarkar and Vishnu Shastry Chiplunkar for the purpose of inspiring nationalist education among Indian students.

Written by : Vaishali Verma

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