Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Bal Gangadhar Tilak was an Indian nationalist, teacher, lawyer and an independence activist.

Updated: June 16, 2022


Bal Gangadhar Tilak was an Indian nationalist, teacher, lawyer and an independence activist. He was the first leader of the Indian Independence Movement. The British colonial authorities lebelled him 'The father of the Indian unrest.' He was also conferred with the title of 'Lokmanya', which means 'accepted by the people as the leader'. A teacher and journalist by profession, Tilak initiated his political life as a Maratha propagandist but soon developed into a prominent nationalist. Tilak was one of the first and strongest advocates of Swaraj. He is known for his quote in Marathi: 'Swarajya is my birthright and I shall have it'.  He was born on July 23rd, 1856 and died on August 1st, 1920.


Childhood of Bal Gangadhar Tilak:

Bal Gangadhar Tilak was born in a Chitpavan Brahmin family as Keshav Gangadhar Tilak on July 23, 1856 in Ratnagiri. His ancestral village was Chikhali. His father was a school teacher and a Sanskrit scholar who died when Tilak was sixteen. He played an influential role in Tilak's early life .


Education of Bal Gangadhar Tilak:

Much of his early education was attained at home. Though highly intelligent, he was extremely mischievous and as such abhorred by his teachers. he completed his university studies from Deccan College in Pune in 1877, thus becoming one of the few Indians to receive modern college education. He attained a BA degree in mathematics. He left his M.A. course of study midway to join the LL.B course instead, and in 1879 he obtained his LL.B degree from Government Law College.
Immediately after completing his education, he became a mathematics teacher in a private school in Pune.


Family of Bal Gangadhar Tilak:

 In 1871 Tilak was married to Tapibai when he was sixteen, a few months before his father's death. After marriage, her name was changed to Satyabhamabai.


Some facts about Bal Gangadhar Tilak:

  • Inspired by Vishnushastri Chiplunkar, he co-founded the New English school for secondary education in 1880 with a few of his college friends, including Gopal Ganesh Agarkar, Mahadev Ballal Namjoshi. and Vishnushastri Chiplunkar. Their goal was to improve the quality of education for India's youth.
  • The success of the school led them to set up the Deccan Education Society in 1884 to create a new system of education that taught young Indians nationalist ideas through an emphasis on Indian culture.
  • He initiated two newspapers, namely 'Kesari' and 'Maratha' that aimed at raising the political consciousness in people. While 'Kesari' was published in Marathi, 'Maratha' was in English.
  • Tilak Smarak Ranga Mandir, a theatre auditorium in Pune is dedicated to him.
  • The events like the Ganapati festival and Shiv Jayanti were used by Tilak to build a national spirit beyond the circle of educated elite in opposition to colonial rule.
  • In 1895, Tilak founded the Shri Shivaji Fund Committee for celebration of 'Shiv Jayanti', the birth anniversary of Chhatrapati Shivaji, the founder of the Maratha Empire.
  • The Government of India released a coin to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of this great freedom fighter in 2007.
  • Lokmanya: Ek Yug Purush is a film released on 2 January 2015 based on his life.
  • He finally breathed his last on August 1st, 1920.



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