Biography of Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Biography of Bal Gangadhar Tilak


Bal Gangadhar Tilak


Date of Birth: 23 July 1856

Place of Birth: Ratnagiri, Maharashtra

Parents: GangadharTilak (father) and Parvatibai (mother)

Spouse: Tapibai renamed Satyabhamabai

Children: Ramabai Vaidya, Parvatibai Kelkar, Vishwanath Balwant Tilak, Rambhau Balwant Tilak, Shridhar Balwant Tilak, and Ramabai Sane.

Education: Deccan College, Government Law College.

Association: Indian National Congress, Indian Home Rule League, Deccan Educational Society

Movement: Indian Independence Movement

Political Ideology: Nationalism, Extremism.

Religious Beliefs: Hinduism

Publications: The Arctic Home in the Vedas (1903); Srimad Bhagvat Gita Rahasya (1915)

Passed Away: 1 August 1920

Memorial: Tilak Wada, Ratnagiri, Maharashtra


Bal Gangadhar Tilak was an Indian social reformer and freedom fighter. He was among the most important designers of present-day India and was probably one of the most ardent advocates for Swaraj as well as Self Rule for India. His famous statement “Swaraj is my birthright, and I shall have it” provided a model for future revolutionaries in India’s struggle for independence. The British government referred to Tilak” as the “Father of Indian Unrest” and his followers left him the title of “Lokmanya which means he is revered by the populace. Tilak was an exceptional politician, as well as a scholarly scholar who believed that the concept of independence is the most important requirement for the prosperity of an entire nation.


Childhood & Early Life


Keshav Gangadhar was born on the 22nd of July 1856 to an upper-middle-class Chitpavan Brahmin family in Ratnagiri, a small town on the coast located in the southwestern part of Maharashtra. He was the son of Gangadhar Shastri and was known as a renowned Sanskrit scholar and teacher in Ratnagiri. Her name is Paravti Bai Gangadhar. After the transfer of his father, his family relocated from Poona (now Pune). In 1871, Tilak got married to Tapibai who later was christened Satyabhamabai.


Tilak was an outstanding student. As a young man, Tilak was honest and straightforward in his approach. He was adamant about injustice and had his own opinions right from the beginning. After graduating from Deccan College, Pune, in 1877, in Sanskrit and mathematics, Tilak studied L.L.B. at the Government Law College, Bombay (now Mumbai). He earned his Law degree at the age of 1879. After his degree was completed and teaching experience, he began teaching English and mathematics at an independent institution in Poona. After a dispute with the school’s management, he resigned and founded an academy in 1880 that put a heavy emphasis on nationalism. Although he was one of the first Indian youth to be provided with a modern higher education in a college, Tilak fiercely criticized the education system used by the British and the British in India. He criticized the inequitable treatment given to Indian students in comparison to their British counterparts and the total ignorance of India’s culture. He claimed that education was not sufficient for Indians who were completely ignorant of their heritage. Tilak founded his Deccan Educational Society with college cohorts, Vishnu Shastry Chiplunkar and Gopal Ganesh Agarkar to encourage the nationalism of Indian students. In addition to his teaching duties, Tilak founded two newspapers “Kesari” which is in Marathi as well as ‘Mahratta’ English.





 Career in politics


Indian National Congress

Gangadhar Tilak was a member of Tilak’s party Indian National Congress in 1890. He began to voice his opposition to the moderate beliefs of the party about self-rule. He believed that a basic constitutional agitation is ineffective to fight the British. The result was that he fought against the well-known Congress chief, Gopal Krishna Gokhale. He was in favor of an armed uprising to sweep away the British. After his partition from Bengal through Lord Curzon, Tilak wholeheartedly supported the Swadeshi (Indigenous) movement and the Boycott of British products. However, his tactics also led to controversy in the Indian National Congress (INC) as well as the movement itself.

Because of this fundamental divergence in the way they saw things, Tilak and his supporters became known as the extreme wing of the Indian National Congress Party. Tilak’s efforts were backed by other nationalists, including Bipin Chandra Pal from Bengal along with Lala Lajpat Rai from Punjab. The three became often referred to as the Lal-Bal-Pal. At the 1907 national Congress of the Indian National Congress, a major conflict began to break out between the moderate and extreme segments of the Indian National Congress Party. The result was that Congress was divided into two groups.




In 1896, an epidemic of bubonic plague erupted in Pune and its surrounding regions and the British used extremely strict strategies to control the spread. Following the direction of Commissioner W. C. Rand, The police and the army invaded private homes and violated the personal dignity of individuals, burned their items, and prohibited people from moving into as well as out. Tilak was a vocal opponent of the oppressive nature of British actions and published provocative pieces about it in his papers.

His essay was the inspiration for the Chapekar brothers, who carried the assassination of Commissioner Rand and Lieutenant. Ayerst on June 22 in 1897. Because this happened, Tilak was imprisoned for 18 months for Sedition charges of inciting murder.

Between 1908 and 1914, Bal Gangadhar Tilak spent being subjected to six years of solitary confinement in Mandalay Jail, Burma. He embraced the revolutionary forces of Khudiram Bose as well as Prafulla Chaki’s plots to assassinate Chief Presidency Magistrate Douglas Kingsford in 1908. His writing continued throughout his time in prison, one of the most famous is Gita Rahasya.

In the wake of his increasing popularity and fame After his increasing fame and popularity, the British government also attempted to stop the publication of his newspaper. His wife passed away in Pune and he was confined inside Mandalay prison.

Tilak and All India Home Rule League

Tilak was released in India in 1915 when the political climate was rapidly changing due to World War I. There was a huge celebration when Tilak got his freedom. Tilak returned to politics with a less down attitude. After deciding to rejoin along with fellow nationists Tilak created his own All India Home Rule League in 1916, along with Joseph Baptista, Annie Besant, and Muhammad Ali Jinnah. In April 1916 the group had 1400 members and it grew to 32,000 members by 1917.

He was a member of the Indian National Congress but could not achieve reconciliation between the two opposing factions.



To further his nationalistic ambitions, Bal Gangadhar Tilak published two newspapers: ‘Mahratta’ (English) and ‘Kesari’ (Marathi). Both newspapers emphasized making Indians aware of their great past and urged the people to be self-reliant. Also, the newspapers actively promoted the cause of freedom for all nations.

In 1896, as the entire country was struck by plague and famine 1896, 1896, the British government declared there was nothing to cause worry. The government also disregarded the necessity to create a “Famine Relief Fund’. The government’s attitude was slammed by both the media. Tilak bravely published articles about the destruction caused by famine and the plague and the government’s complete lack of responsibility and indifference.

Social Reforms

After finishing his education, Tilak spurned the lucrative offers of the government and chose to dedicate his time to the issue of the national awakening. He was a great reformer, and throughout his entire life, he championed women’s education and the empowerment of women. Tilak taught all of his daughters but did not marry them until they reached the age of 16. Tilak planned grand celebrations for Ganesh Chaturthi’s day and Shivaji Jayanti’. The celebrations he proposed would create a feeling of unification and instill a nationalist spirit within Indians. It’s a pity that due to his adherence to extremism, Tilak and his work weren’t given the recognition which he truly deserved.


Tilak was so depressed by the horrific incident of the Jalianwala Bagh massacre that his health began to decline. Despite his condition, Tilak sent a message to his fellow Indians not to end the march no regardless of what transpired. Tilak was eager to lead the group, but his health didn’t allow it. Tilak was suffering from diabetes and was extremely weak at this point. In the middle of July 1920, the condition deteriorated until, on the 1st of August 1920, he died.

As the sad news was being spread, a complete mass of people poured into his home. Over 2 lakh people congregated at his home in Bombay to get the final look at their loved leader.



While Tilak had strong Nationalist views, however, he was also an ardent social conservative. He was a fervent Hindu and spent a significant amount in writing philosophical and religious articles inspired by Hindu Scriptures. He was among the most well-known influencers of his day an outstanding speaker and a strong leader who brought millions of people to join his cause. In the present, Ganesh Chaturthi, started by Tilak is widely regarded as the most important celebration in Maharastra and the adjacent states. Tilak has been featured in several biographies due to his status as an iconic figure from the Indian Freedom struggle. The Marathi newspaper that was founded by Tilak remains being published, however, it’s a daytime rather than a weekly during his period.

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