India gained its independence after the sacrifices of numerous freedom fighters. Bal Gangadhar Tilak is one of the prominent names in India's freedom struggle. He was a teacher, an advocate, a journalist, and a reformer who fought for India's Independence. He was born on July 23rd, 1856 in the state of Maharashtra.
As the world commemorates Tilak's 165th birth anniversary, here are some unknown facts about the freedom fighter.
- He was born into a Brahmin middle-class family. He graduated from Deccan College in Poona with a bachelor's degree in Mathematics and Sanskrit in 1876. After that, he finished Law at the University of Bombay, in 1879. He also chose to teach mathematics in a private school in Poona, where he began his political career.
- In 1884, he established the Deccan Education Society to educate people, particularly in English, because he and his companions believed that English was a potent force for liberal and democratic ideas at that time.
- He began awakening people through periodicals such as 'Kesari' ("The Lion") in Marathi and 'The Mahratta' in English. He became well-known as a result of these publications, which criticised Britishers and the practices of moderates who advocated social and political reforms along Western lines.
- Bal Gangadhar Tilak also organised two big festivals, Ganesha in 1893 and Shivaji in 1895. Ganesha, since the God is represented by an elephant and is worshipped by all Hindus, and Shivaji, because he was the first Hindu monarch to fight Muslim dominance in India in the 17th century and build the Maratha Empire.
- In 1890, Bal Gangadhar Tilak became a member of the Indian National Congress (INC) and began the process of self-rule. He was the first nationalist independence warrior to introduce the 'Swaraj' concept.
- He founded the Swadeshi movement in India. Bombay Swadeshi Stores was founded by Jamshed Tata and Lokmanya Tilak to support the national movement.
- Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal, and Lala Lajpat Rai are together known as 'Lal-Bal-Pal.' Tilak was opposed to the 1891 Age of Consent Act.
- To attain his political goal, Tilak aspired to create a mass movement that differed from the views of moderates, hence a split between moderates and extremists occurred in the Surat Session in 1907. The British took advantage of the situation and sentenced Bal Gangadhar Tilak for six years in the Mandalay jail in Burma (Myanmar).
- Bal Gangadhar Tilak founded the Indian Home Rule League in April 1916, proclaiming, "Swarajya is my birthright and I will have it." Annie Besant founded the Home Rule League in Madras (now Chennai, Tamil Nadu) in September 1916. On August 1, 1920, Bal Gangadhar Tilak died.
- He authored The Arctic Home in the Vedas, which depicts the Aryan origins, and Srimad Bhagvat Gita Rahasya (1915). Om Raut also directed a film called Lokmanya: Ek Yug Purush, which was released on January 2, 2015.