Bal Gangadhar Tilak was born on July 23, 1856 in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra. He was a Chitpavan Brahmin by caste. His father Gangadhar Ram Chandra Tilak was a Sanskrit scholar and a famous teacher. Tilak was a brilliant student and he was very good in mathematics.
Since childhood Tilak had an intolerant attitude towards injustice and he was truthful and straightforward in nature. He was among India’s first generation of youth to receive a modern college education. When Tilak was ten years old, his father was transferred to Pune from Ratnagiri.
This brought a vast difference in Tilak’s life. He joined Anglo-Vernacular School in Pune and got education from some of the well known teachers. Soon after coming to Pune Tilak lost his mother and by the time he was sixteen he lost his father too. When Tilak was studying in matriculation examination he was married to a 10 year old girl called Satyabhama. After passing the examination Tilak joined the Deccan College. Bal Gangadhar Tilak got his B.A. degree with a first class in mathematics in 1877.
He continued his studies and got LL.B. degree too. After graduation Tilak began teaching mathematics in a private school in Pune and later became a journalist. The very next year after the Deccan Education Society was founded Tilak started two weeklies, “Kesari” and “Mahratta”. Kesari was Marathi weekly and Mahratta was English weekly. Soon both the newspaper became very popular.
He highlighted the plight of Indians in his newspapers and he called upon every Indian to fight for his right. Bal Gangadhar Tilak joined the Indian National Congress in 1890. He was a member of the Municipal Council of Pune, Bombay Legislature, and an elected fellow of the Bombay University. Tilak was a great social reformer. He issued a call for the banning of child marriage and welcomed widow remarriage. He organized people through the celebrations of Ganpati festival and the birthday of the Shivaji.
In 1897, Bal Gangadhar Tilak was charged with writing articles instigating people to rise against the government and to break the laws and disturb the peace. He was sentenced to imprisonment for one and a half year. Tilak was released in 1898. He launched a Swadeshi Movement after his release. Extremists led by Bal Gangadhar Tilak opposed the moderate faction led by Gopal Krishna. Tilak was arrested on the charges of sedition in 1906. He spent his time in prison by reading and writing. He wrote the book ‘Gita-Rahasya’ while he was in prison.
Tilak was released on June 8, 1914 and he tried to bring the two factions of Congress together. His goal was Swaraj so he went from village to village and explained the aim of his league to the farmers and won their hearts. Bal Gangadhar Tilak died on August 1, 1920 while fighting for people’s cause.
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