The Biography of Famous Personalities of India will tell you about the controversies, the dark sides of a person that you may have never heard of.
Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s Life of Dedication
Tilak, being a double graduate, could easily have got a well-paid job like others, under the British. But, as decided when he was young, he dedicated himself to the service of his country.
The concept of Swaraj had yet to blossom in the minds of the people. They had to be made to feel that thirst for Independence. Patriotism had to be nurtured. To lay a strong foundation for a new way of life, an educational institution reflecting Indian culture had to be established.
Every Indian had to be taught about Indian culture and national ideals. Good citizens could be moulded only through good education. Such were the views of Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
His classmate Agarkar gave him full support. As Tilak and Agarkar were working out the plans for a system of education, which would make students truly useful to the country, another great person, Vishnu Sashtry Chiplunkar, joined them.
Tilak founded the Marathi daily Kesari which soon became a popular reading for the common people of India. He strongly criticized the government for its brutalism in suppression of free expression, especially in the face of protests against the division of Bengal in 1905, and for denigrating India’s culture, its people and heritage. He demanded the right to self-government from the Birtish immediately.
In 1890, Tilak joined the Indian National Congress. But, soon fell into opposition of its liberal-moderate attitude towards the fight for self-government. He opposed the moderate views of Gopal Krishna Gokhale, and was supported by fellow Indian nationalists Bipin Chandra Pal in Bengal and Lala Lajpat Rai in Punjab. In 1907, the Congress Party split into the Garam Dal led by Tilak, Pal and Lajpat Rai, and the Naram Dal led by Gokhale during its convention at Surat in Gujarat.
Tilak was arrested in 1906 on charges of sedition. Tilak asked a young Muhammad Ali Jinnah to represent him. But the British judge convicted him and he was imprisoned from 1908 to 1914 in Mandalay, Burma.
Tilak was released in 1914. Then, he re-united with his fellow nationalists and re-joined the Indian National Congress in 1916. He also helped found the All India Home Rule League in 1916-18 with Annie Besant and Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
Tilak, Agarkar and Chiplunkar were three persons impelled by the idea that the people’s blind faith that British rule was God’s gift to India had to be wiped out. They joined hands to create an educational institution to develop moral strength in pupils.
The educational institution, the New English School planned and founded by Tilak was like a banyan tree. The little seedling planted by him, had grown into a gigantic tree with many branches, and every branch had meant renewed life and a new educational institution.
The New English School had progressed into the ‘Deccan Education Society’. This society now runs the Fergusson College and the Greater Maharashtra Commerce and Economics College in Pune, the Willingdon College in Sangli and the Bombay College in Mumbai as well as a number of high schools.
The New English School started in 1880, progressed, and attracted a number of students. This was a school, which reflected our culture and the ideals of our life and was thus our very own.
It was also securing the best results in the examinations. Teachers were so preparing their pupils for the examinations as to secure all the scholarships for their school. Tilak and his colleagues toiled not a little for the school.
During the consecutive year of establishing the school, Tilak started two weeklies. ‘Kesari’, the Marathi Weekly and ‘Mahratta ’ the English Weekly.
The newspapers were able to attract the attention of people. In just two years ‘Kesari’ had more readers than any Indian language paper. The editorials gave a vivid picture of the people’s sufferings and of actual happenings. They called upon every Indian to fight for his right.
The language used in the papers was so sharp as to create in the most cowardly reader the thirst for freedom. Tilak used to say to his colleagues, “You are not writing for the university students. Imagine you are talking to a villager. Be sure of your facts. Let your words be clear as daylight. ”
After the death of Rajaram, Maharaja of Kolhapur State, his adopted son Shivaji Rao became the Maharaja. ‘Kesari ’ published articles condemning the cruel way in which the British treated him. When people came to know of the tyranny of the British, unrest gripped Pune and Kolhapur.
The Government could not tolerate their behaviour of Tilak so they filed a case against ‘Kesari’. The young editors Agarkar and Tilak were sentenced to 4 months’ rigorous imprisonment. Tilak went to prison with his friend Agarkar.
As the New English School was progressing well, Fergusson College and Deccan Education Society were established. Tilak made a rule that no one should expect more than seventy-five rupees a month as his salary. He made this decision only for the welfare of the school in the long run.
Unfortunately, his thinking was not accepted by others. The other members of the management opposed the proposal. When differences of opinion on this issue became endless, Tilak handed over to others the institution, he himself had founded.
He was filled with immense grief when he had to resign from the institution, which he had started and for which he had toiled day and night for ten years. But he wished them to prosper well.
Meanwhile, weeklies ‘KesarV and ‘Mahratta’ also brought no profit. He had to find part-time work to maintain his family. Never would he work under the British. He started classes to coach students for the law examination. Thus, he had to face a life of misery. But he never lost heart.