Philosophical And Social Contributions 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.

Philosophical And Social Contributions of Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Although Tilak was basically a proponent of Advaita Vedanta, he differed from the classical Advaitin view that jnana (knowledge) alone brings release. He added a measure of karma yoga (the yoga of activity) to this, not as subordinate to jnana yoga, but as equal and complementary to it.

Tilak was a critic of Mahatma Gandhi’s strategy of non-violence and civil disobedience. Although once considered an extremist revolutionary, in his later years Tilak had considerably mellowed. He favoured political dialogue and discussions as a more effective way to obtain political freedom for India and did not support leaving the British Empire.

However, Tilak is considered in many ways to have created the nationalist movement in India, by expanding the struggle for political freedoms and self-government to the common people of India. His writings on Indian culture, history, and Hinduism spread a sense of heritage and pride amongst millions of Indians for India’s ancient civilization and glory as a nation.

Tilak was considered a political and spiritual leader of India by many, and Gandhi is considered his successor. When Tilak died in 1920, Gandhi paid his respects at his cremation in Bombay, along with 200,000 people. Gandhi called Bal Gangadhar Tilak “The Maker of Modern India”.

Tilak is also today considered the father of Hindu Nationalism. He was the idol of Indian revolutionary Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, who penned the political doctrine of Hindutva.

The personality and life-philosophy of Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak had a profound effect on his society. He had contributed to almost all important fields like politics, social reforms, philosophy and education. The objectives of education were not very clear to many people.

For Tilak, learning was not just acquisition of knowledge useful in preparing for native clerical jobs. The creation of educated men through the learning process was certainly beneficial to the alien rulers for running their administrative machinery. People so turned out, welcomed the golden fetters, by entering into the government jobs. To break through this British black magic was the first and foremost need of the hour.

All this happened when the British rule was, half a century old. People, as well as, their leaders had come to look upon the British rule as a Divine Gift and British as their respected preceptors and such ideas had become firmly rooted in their thinking. They had got excited and captivated by the wholesome results of the British Rule.

Slowly however, the wicked intentions of the rulers were getting clear, and with it, dawned the realisation, that loss of freedom stood for, not mere loss of political power, but for total destruction of the indigenous culture, religion and language.

The enlightenment of the true difference between slavery and independence, and consequential awareness of the responsibility to awaken the masses to this reality, were at work in the founding of an independent school by leaders like Chiplunkar, Tilak and others.

Bal Gangadhar Tilak was a brilliant politician as well as a profound scholar who believed that independence is the foremost necessity for the well being of a nation and that to win it through extreme measures should not be dispensed with. He was the first intellectual leader to understand the importance of mass support and subsequently became the first mass leader of India.

As a result, although he was helpful to revolutionaries such as Savarkar, Aurobindo Ghosh and Chiplunkar, he did not venture into it himself. Instead, he martialled the extremist wing of Indian National Congress. His movement was based on the principles of Swadeshi, Boycott and Education. It was he who, through his own example, gave prestige to imprisonment in freedom struggle.