Titled “Lokmanya” by the public, Keshav Gangadhar Tilak or Bal Gangadhar Tilak was an Indian nationalist, teacher and freedom fighter. One of the Lal Bal Pal triumvirates, Tilak was one of the main leaders of the Indian independence movement.
Known as the “Creator of Modern India”, Tilak was a force to be reckoned with. A fervent defender of “swarajya” (autonomy), Tilak had long agitated against the British Raj in India.
He was born on July 23, 1856 in Bombay during the British Raj to a Hindu Chitpavan Brahmin family from the Ratnagiri district. He died on August 1, 1920. Tilak studied at Deccan College in Pune where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. He went on to study law at Government Law College after dropping out of his master’s course halfway through.
Here are things you need to know about the breakthrough figure:
It is because of Tilak that we celebrate Ganesh Chathurthi on a large scale. To strengthen unity among the Indians, he proposed the idea of large celebrations consisting of several days of processions, music and food.
Tilak also launched a Shri Shivaji Fund committee to celebrate ‘Shiva Jayanti’, the birth anniversary of the founder of the Maratha Empire, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
The freedom fighter also launched two weeklies named Kesari in Marathi and Maratha in English with Gopal Ganesh Agarkar as editor. He used this publication to help the Indian independence movement.
He has been called the “father of Indian troubles” by British author Sir Valentine Chirol. Tilak also established the Deccan Education Society to improve the quality of education for Indian youth.
The Deccan Education Society was formed to create a new system of education that taught young Indians nationalistic ideas and focused on Indian culture. It currently manages more than 40 institutions.
Tilak, during his time, was repeatedly tried on sedition charges. He was also sentenced to 18 months in prison for preaching disaffection against the British Raj.
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