‘Swaraj is my birthright and I shall have it ‘ slogan was coined by Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Bal Gangadhar Tilak, was also referred to as Lokamanya Tilak was a leader of the Indian independence movement and belonged to the extremist faction. He was also termed as the ‘Father of Indian Unrest’.
About Bal Gangadhar Tilak
- Tilak’s birth took place in the year 1856 and his name was Keshav Gangadhar Tilak in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra.
- He was born in a middle-class Hindu family
- He obtained a bachelor’s degree from Pune
- At the early stages of life, he worked as a Maths teacher, then he started working as a journalist and joined the freedom movement.
Political career of Bal Gangadhar Tilak
- He started his political career by joining the Congress in 1890.
- He was opposed to moderate methods and views and had a more radical and aggressive stance against British rule.
- He was one among the first advocates of Swaraj or self-rule.
- He believed in the philosophy that no progress was possible without self-rule.
- He took part in the extremist faction of the INC and was a supporter of boycott and Swadeshi movements.
- He published two prominent papers – Kesari in Marathi and Mahratta in English.
- He was fearless in his criticism of the government in these papers.
- He was also sentenced to 18 months imprisonment on charges of “incitement to murder”.
- He was also jailed for 6 years in Mandalay prison from 1908 to 1914 for writing articles defending Prafulla Chaki and Khudiram Bose. These were the revolutionaries who had killed
- two English women, throwing the bomb into the carriage carrying the women.
- Tilak re-joined the Indian National Congress in 1916, after the split earlier.
- He was one among the co-founders of the All India Home Rule League, along with Annie Besant and G S Khaparde.
- Tilak drew his political ideas heavily from the ancient Hindu scriptures.
- He addressed the people to be proud of their heritage. He was against the westernisation of Indian society.
- He brought the change of simple Ganesh Puja performed at home into a social and public Ganesh festival.
- He utilised the Ganesh Chaturthi and Shiv Jayanti (birth anniversary of Shivaji) festivals to create unity and a national spirit among the people. Unfortunately, this move alienated
- non-Hindus from him.
- The Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav is now popularised due to his efforts since 1894 is still one of the biggest festivals of Maharashtra.
- In spite of being a nationalist radical leader, Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s social views were conservative.
- According to him Hindu women getting modern education was not the rule um=nder under Indian society.
- He opposed the bill which mentioned the age of marrying a girl is in between 10 & 12.
- With all these new reforms, trends and changes in the country, he developed nation to a greater extent. He died in the year1920 aged 64.