Bal Gangadhar Tilak

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Bal Gangadhar Tilak (23 July 18561 August 1920), born Keshav Gangadhar Tilak, was a popular leader of the people who fought for Indian independence during the Indian Independence Movement. He was a journalist, teacher, social reformer, playwright, and lawyer. He was also a political extremist. He founded the Home Rule League in 1915. He was given the epithets "Father of the Indian unrest" by the British colonial authorities and “Father of Indian Consciousness”. Tilak was also addressed by the honorific "Lokmanya" (meaning: "Accepted by the people as their leader). A coin bearing Lokmanya's image has been issued.

Quotes[edit]

  • Swaraj is my birthright, and I shall have it!
    • Said by Tilak as one of the first and strongest advocates of "Swaraj" (self-rule) and a strong radical in Indian consciousnessin "The Political Thought of Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak", By K. S. Bharathi, page 38
  • Freedom is my birthright. I must have it.
    • Another version of the above in Great Personalities, p=153
  • Progress is implied in independence. Without self-government neither industrial progress is possible, nor the educational scheme will be useful to the nation…To make efforts for India’s freedom is more important than social reforms.
  • If God is put up with untouchability, I will not call him God.
  • It may be providence's will that the cause I represent may prosper more by my suffering than by my remaining free.
  • The curriculum of the girl’s school should be vernacular, needle work and sanitation...teaching women amounted to loss of nationality... English education had [a] de-womanising impact on women by denying them a happy worldly life...hurt the sentiments of the Hindus…teaching Hindu women to read English would ruin their precious traditional virtues and would make them immoral and subordinate.
  • ...for destroying the harmony in the villages by interfering on behalf of the peasants and betraying the money lender.
    • His Criticism and opposition to the Agriculturist Relief Act 1879 and the reformist movement launched by others. Bal Gangadhar Tilak: Popular Readings, Page=15.
  • The Vedic hymns were sung in post glacial times (8,000BC) by poets who had inherited their knowledge or contents thereof from their antediluvian forefathers.
  • In the early geological ages, when the Alps were low and the Himalayas not yet upheaved... from geological evidence of fossil and fauna, we find that an equitable climate and uniform climate prevailed over the whole surface of the globe. It is now conclusively proved that before the advent of glacial and inter-glacial periods a luxurious forest vegetation... flourished in the high latitude of the polar regions where the Sun goes below the horizon from November till March, thus showing that a warm climate prevailed in the Arctic regions in those days
  • It is true that lack of rain causes famine but it is also true that the people of India have not the strength to fight the evil. The poverty of India is wholly due to the present rule. India is being bled till only the skeleton remains…all the vitality of the people is being sapped and we are left in an emaciated state of slavery.
  • It has been said, gentlemen, by some that we Hindus have yielded too much to our Mohammedan brethern. I am sure I represent the sense of the Hindu community all over India when I say that we could not have yielded too much. I would not care if the rights of selfgovernment are granted to the Mohammedan community only.... When we have to fight against a third party — it is a very important thing that we stand on this platform united, united in race, united in religion, united as regards all different shades of political creed.
    • Tilak, quoted in Law in the Scientific Era by M. Hidayatullah
  • You can never give the Musalmans too much.
    • Tilak's reply when some Hindus complained that they were giving too much to the Musalmans. Related by Muhammad Ali about the Lucknow talks: Md. Ali: speech at annual session of Congress at Coconada in 1923 quoted in V.P. Varma: Modern Indian Political Thought, and quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2001). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p. 126
  • Belief in the Vedas, many means, no strict rule for worship: these are the features of the Hindu religion.
    • Tilak, reproduced in V.D. Savarkar: Hindutva, and quoted in Elst, Koenraad (2002). Who is a Hindu?: Hindu revivalist views of Animism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and other offshoots of Hinduism. ISBN 978-8185990743

About Tilak[edit]

  • In India there was only one natural aggressive nationalist and he was Tilak.
    • Stated by Montague, Secretary of State for India.Hunt, Frazier (1931). Great Personalities. New York Life Insurance Company. pp. 153–. 
  • Love of India was the breath of life with Mr. Tilak and in it he has left to us a treasure, which can only increase, by use. The endless procession of yesterday shows the hold the great patriot had on the masses.
  • The Congress movement was for a long time purely occidental in its mind, character and methods, confined to the English-educated few, founded on the political rights and interests of the people read in the light of English history and European ideals, but with no roots either in the past of the country or in the inner spirit of the nation.... To bring in the mass of the people, to found the greatness of the future on the greatness of the past, to infuse Indian politics with Indian religious fervour and spirituality are the indispensable conditions for a great and powerful political awakening in India. Others, writers, thinkers, spiritual leaders, had seen this truth. Mr. Tilak was the first to bring it into the actual field of practical politics..... There are always two classes of political mind: one is preoccupied with details for their own sake, revels in the petty points of the moment and puts away into the background the great principles and the great necessities, the other sees rather these first and always and details only in relation to them. The one type moves in a routine circle which may or may not have an issue; it cannot see the forest for the trees and it is only by an accident that it stumbles, if at all, on the way out. The other type takes a mountain-top view of the goal and all the directions and keeps that in its mental compass through all the deflections, retardations and tortuosities which the character of the intervening country may compel it to accept; but these it abridges as much as possible. The former class arrogate the name of statesman in their own day; it is to the latter that posterity concedes it and sees in them the true leaders of great movements. Mr. Tilak, like all men of pre-eminent political genius, belongs to this second and greater order of mind.
    • Sri Aurobindo, (From an introduction to a book entitled Speeches and Writings of Tilak.), quoted from Sri Aurobindo, ., Nahar, S., Aurobindo, ., & Institut de recherches évolutives (Paris). India's rebirth: A selection from Sri Aurobindo's writing, talks and speeches. Paris: Institut de Recherches Evolutives. 3rd Edition (2000). [1]
  • To bring in the mass of the people, to found the greatness of the future on the greatness of the past, to infuse Indian politics with Indian religious fervour and spirituality are the indispensable conditions for a great and powerful political awakening in India. Others, writers, thinkers, spiritual leaders, had seen this truth. Mr. Tilak was the first to bring it into the actual field of practical politics.
    • Sri Aurobindo, 1918, quoted from Sri Aurobindo, ., Nahar, S., Aurobindo, ., & Institut de recherches évolutives (Paris). India's rebirth: A selection from Sri Aurobindo's writing, talks and speeches. Paris: Institut de Recherches Evolutives. 3rd Edition (2000). [3]

External links[edit]

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