Titled ‘Lokmanya’ by the public, Keshav Gangadhar Tilak or Bal Gangadhar Tilak was an Indian nationalist, teacher and a freedom fighter. One of the Lal Bal Pal triumvirates, Tilak was one of the primary leaders of the Indian Independence movement.
Known as the ‘Maker of Modern India’, Tilak was a force to reckon with. A staunch advocate of ‘swarajya’ (self-rule), Tilak had for long agitated against the British Raj in India.
He was born on 23 July 1856, in Bombay during the British Raj to a Hindu Chitpavan Brahmin family in the Ratnagiri district. He died on 1 August 1920. Tilak studied at Deccan College in Pune where he got a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics. He pursued LLB from Government Law College after he dropped out of his Master’s course midway.
Here are things you must know about the revolutionary figure:
It was because of Tilak that we celebrate Ganesh Chathurthi on a big scale. To strengthen the unity amongst Indians, he proposed the idea of grand celebrations consisting of several days of processions, music and food.
Tilak also started a Shri Shivaji Fund Committee for celebrating ‘Shiva Jayanti’, the birth anniversary of the Maratha empire’s founder, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
The freedom fighter also began two weeklies named Kesari in Marathi and Maratha in English with Gopal Ganesh Agarkar as the editorial head. He used this publication to aid the Indian Independence movement.
He was termed “the father of Indian unrest” by British author Sir Valentine Chirol. Tilak also set up the Deccan Education Society to improve the quality of education for India’s youth.
Deccan Education Society was established to create a new system of education that taught young Indians nationalist ideas and focused on Indian culture. It runs over 40 institutions presently.
Tilak, during his time, went on trial under sedition charges on multiple occasions. He was also sentenced to 18 months in prison for preaching disaffection against the British Raj.