Childhood And Education of Bal Gangadhar Tilak

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.

Childhood And Education of Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Bal Gangadhar Tilak was born on July 23, 1856, in a village near Ratnagiri, Maharashtra, into a middle-class Chitpavan Brahmin family. He was an intelligent student with a special aptitude for mathematics. He was among India’s first generation of youth to receive a modern, college education.

After his graduation, Tilak began teaching mathematics in a private school in Pune and later became a journalist. He became a strong critic of the Western education system, feeling it demeaning to Indian students and disrespectful to India’s heritage. He started the Deccan Education Society to improve the quality of education for India’s youth.

He had exceptional memory and reasoning power. One day the teacher came to class and asked a question if 5 sheep eat up all the grass in a meadow in 28 days, how many sheep will eat up the grass in 20 days?”

“Seven sheep, sir,” swiftly flashed the answer even before the teacher finished his question.

“Who is it that answered without working out the sum?” shouted the teacher.

Many voices at once shouted, “Tilak, sir.”

The teacher went near Tilak. He took his notebook and glanced through it. Should he not at least take down the problem, let alone work it out?

“Where have you worked the sum?”

Tilak, with a mischievous smile, pointed to his head with his index finger.

“You should work the problem in your book,” the teacher said.

“Why? I will do it orally,” replied Tilak.

Tilak’s classmates found it difficult to understand certain problems even when the teacher did them thrice. But, to Tilak, mathematics was as easy as drinking water. Sanskrit, of course, was like peeled banana to him!

Tilak’s father Gangadhar Ramachandra Tilak was a Sanskrit scholar and a famous teacher. Because of his scholarship, he had become Gangadharpant to every one.

As a student, Tilak learnt all the lessons at home and there was nothing left to learn at school.

Though Tilak was very intelligent, he was not his teachers’ favourite because of his mischievousness. From his childhood, he used to form independent views. He always took an independent stand. He was very much different from boys of his age.

During his schooling days in the primary school at Ratnagiri an incident took place. One afternoon, the teacher entered the class after the interval and found groundnut shells scattered in the classroom. Naturally, he grew angry. He took his cane and asked, “Who scattered the groundnut shells like this?”

There was silence. The teacher’s anger rose.

“Speak, who ate the groundnuts?” No one confessed. The teacher lost his temper. He decided to punish the entire class. He began to give each boy two cuts with his cane. When Tilak’s turn came, he did not hold out his hand. “I did not eat the groundnuts. So I will not receive the cuts.”

“Then who ate the groundnuts?”, asked the teacher. “It is said that carrying tales is bad. So I won’t tell,” replied Tilak.

Tilak’s straightforwardness and truthfulness made teacher himself uncomfortable. He became angry and sent Tilak out of the school. And Tilak’s father Gangadharpant received a complaint against his son.

Next day, the father brought Tilak to the school. He said that what his son had said was true. Tilak was not in the habit of eating anything outside his home and he, the father, never gave his son money to buy anything.

Even at that young age, it was Tilak’s nature to protest against injustice.

He liked stories very much. Soon after his studies, he would run to his grandfather to hear stories from him. His grandfather had lived in Kashi during the days of the 1857 revolution, the first war of Independence. On hearing the stories about the revolutionaries like Nana Saheb, Tatia Tope and Jhansi Rani, Tilak would be thrilled.

“Oh! What great men were they who sacrificed their lives for the country!” When he grew up, he too, should serve his country like them and free Mother India from slavery- became his heart’s desire.

Tilak was ten years old, when Gangadharpant was transferred to Pune. Coming from Ratnagiri to Pune was a milestone in the life of Tilak.

By joining the Anglo-Vernacular School in Pune, young Tilak was able to get good education from well-known teachers.

Tilak’s mother passed away only a few months after coming to Pune. Fasts and strict religious observances had made her weak and thin. She wished for a son, and undertook a strenuous form of worship of the God Sun for eighteen months. The boy who was born by the grace of the God Sun, was instrumental in making the sunset in the British Empire!

Tilak also lost his father six years after his mother’s death. Then he was only 16 years old. At that time, he was studying in the matriculation class. He had b«en married to a ten-year old girl called Sathyabhama.

Like his mother, Tilak did not have sound health. How could he sacrifice his life for the country, if his body was weak? So, Tilak decided to improve his physique even at the cost of his studies during the first year at college. He used to do physical exercises every day. He also regulated his food.

Within a short span of one year, he became a leading player in all the fields of sports. He became an expert swimmer and wrestler. He developed his body so well that all wondered at such radiant health.

After passing the matriculation examination he joined the Deccan College. In 1877, Tilak got his BA degree. It was no wonder that he got first class marks in mathematics. He continued his studies and got the LLB degree.