Bal Gangadhar Tilak

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Bal Gangadhar Tilak
BirthplaceChikhali, Ratnagiri district, British India (present-day Maharashtra, India)

Tilak, Bal Gangadhar


Born July 23, 1856, in Ratnagiri, in the state of Maharashtra; died Aug. 1, 1920, in Bombay. Scholar and a leader of the democratic wing of India’s national liberation movement.

Tilak studied law before becoming a social and political activist in the 1870’s. Beginning in 1881 he published two newspapers, Mahratta (in English) and Kesari (in Marathi), that served as the voice of the national movement’s democratic wing during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A bitter critic of British colonialism and its oppressive rule in India, Tilak, as a member of the swadeshi movement, advocated India’s independent economic development. He was among the first nationalists to suggest the need to enlist the broad popular masses in the struggle for freedom. He invoked India’s religious traditions in his effort to bring about unity in the national movement.

During the 1890’s and the early part of the 20th century, Tilak was active in the Indian National Congress (INC) and from 1905 to 1908, during a period of revolutionary upsurge, became a national leader of the extremists (that is, revolutionary democrats) in the INC. He publicized the revolutionary experiences of the Russians, the Irish, and others and proposed that the Indians in their struggle adopt the general political strike, which was being used in Russia, as a weapon. While training cadres of Indian revolutionaries, he called for the overthrow of colonial rule and the establishment of a republican government composed of representatives of the people. Tilak was imprisoned several times for his anti-imperialist activities; in 1908 he was sentenced to six years at hard labor. The sentence provoked a protest by workers in Bombay, who staged a general political strike (seeBOMBAY STRIKE OF 1908).

In 1914, Tilak helped organize the struggle for home rule. Later, influenced by the October Revolution of 1917, he began focusing attention on the necessity for the Indian proletariat to assume political power. In his newspapers he welcomed the October Revolution and supported the activities of the Bolsheviks under V. I. Lenin’s leadership.

Tilak wrote several scholarly works on the Vedas and on India’s early civilization.


Bal Gangadhar Tilak: His Writings and Speeches, 3rd ed. Madras, 1922.


Natsiona’ no-osvoboditel’noe dvizhenie v Indii i deiatel’nost’ B. G. Tilaka. Moscow, 1958.
Raikov, A. V. Probuzhdenie Indii. Moscow, 1968.
Gopal, R. Lokamanya Tilak: A Biography. London [1965].
Karmarkar, D. P. Bal Gangadhar Tilak: A Study. Bombay [1956].
Parvate, T. V. Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Ahmadabad [1958].
Tahmankar, D. V. Lokamanya Tilak: Father of Indian Unrest and Maker of Modern India. London, 1956.
Wolpert, S. A. Tilak and Gokhale: Revolution and Reform in the Making of Modern India. Berkeley, Calif., 1962.


References in periodicals archive ?
Lala Lajpat Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Bipin Chandra Pal.
Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak once wrote that his object in running the Kesari was to make the rulers know about the aspirations and the agonies of the ruled and to make the ruled feel more fearless.
Notable reformists like M G Ranade, Vishnu Shastri Pandit, Gopal Hari Deshmukh, Bal Krishna Gokhale and many others of their ilk fought throughout their lives for the abolition of the caste system, the end to child marriages, the introduction of widow remarriages, et al amid bitter opposition from other upper castes like Bal Gangadhar Tilak, N C Kelkar and others who were equally opposed to the social reforms and advocted political independence from the British ahead of reforms in Hindu society.
The biggest victims of sedition law under the British rule were Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Annie Besant," Tharoor had said.
The area is where one of the first and strongest advocates of Indian self-rule, Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, was cremated.
The Home Minister said that non-Hindi speaking stalwarts of India's freedom movement like Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Subhash Chandra Bose and C Rajagopalachari had advocated the promotion and expansion of Hindi.
And then in 1885 when Bal Gangadhar Tilak introduced Shivaji festival probably the death-bell for a united India was rung.
Babu Govind Garala, aged 68, honorary secretary of Shree Krishna Temple, said: "Ganesh Utsav was first started in Maharashtra and the idea came from Bal Gangadhar Tilak in order to unite the Hindu community.
I am not sure if he is aware that after taking over the reigns of India's national movement from the Maharashtra-based national heroes, Gopala Krishna Gokhale and Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Maha-tma Gandhi visited Kerala in August 1920, along with Shoukat Ali, the leader of India's Khilafat movement, a partner in the national movement.
The most intense Congress activity was in Eastern as well as in Western India, where the stars were Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Gopal Krishna Gokhale.
28) Bal Gangadhar Tilak (1856-1920)--impatient with constitutional methods--founded the Extremist movement within the Indian National Congress, proclaiming swaraj (home rule) as his birthright.
The Social Studies textbook mentions Mahatma Gandhi, Lala Lajpat Rai, Subhas Chandra Bose, Veer Savarkar, a Hindu nationalist leader, who coined the term Hindutva, Bhagat Singh and Hemu Kalani, and Bal Gangadhar Tilak.