Tilak

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Balgangadhar Tilak

[1]

[2]

social reformers.


He often defended the history and civilization of Hindus and awaken to rouse the people. He pleaded that only because of ill-luck, the Hindus were reduced to slavery. Mahadeo Govind Ranade, was a mighty intellect, a man of great wisdom broad mind, prodigious industry and vast learning, an eminent economist and historian, and one of India's greatest thinkers of his day. He aimed at reorganising Hindu society on the basis of justice and reason, which implied a freedom from race, creed, and prejudices. He was for social reform in Hindu society. Both Ranade and Chiplunkar were instructors and inspirers of the two schools of thought they founded. In this battle Tilak sided with Chiplunkar whereas Agarkar with Ranade. However, about education, they held similar views. Agarkar and Tilak began to think out ways and means of establishing private schools on the model of missionary institutions. Ranade said that the country would not be emancipated unless it had, like America, its national press, national education and national church. When Agarkar and Tilak approached Chiplunkar, he welcomed the idea and agreed. Chiplunkar resigned from the job of a teacher in a government school at Chiplun and opened a school in Pune in January, 1880. This school, the New English School, was going to make history in the cultural and political life of Pune. Tilak joined on the first day as promised. Agarkar after his M.A. examination joined the school in January 1881. The New English School prospered and brought fame to the founders, who were the men of undying faith determined to carry out their mission at all cost. Even the British officers admired the progress made by the school. At about the same time, the colleagues discussed the possibility of launching two weeklies _ one in Marathi and the other in English _ to educate the people on public affairs. Chiplunkar was very keen on this project. He had already purchased on instalments the press of Namjoshi, who was conducting the `Deccan Star', his own paper. Now it was decided to name the Marathi weekly the `Kesari' _ the Lion, and the English weekly the `Mahratta', for a Mahratta has been known as an indefatigable fighter for the honour of his country. The declared objectives of the weeklies were to give a fearless account of the existing condition of the country, to give reviews of Indian books and to give correct estimates of political affairs in Britain. To begin with, the `Kesari' was a co-operative concern and Chiplunkar, Agarkar and Tilak used to write in it. Agarkar was the first editor of `Kesari' while Tilak was that of `Mahratta'. The Kesari always had a soft corner for the rulers of Indian states and wanted to support them whenever possible. However, both Agarkar and Tilak, the young editors were found guilty in the case of Kolhapur princely state and were sentenced to four month's imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 1000. They were sent to Dongri Jail in 1882. Both of them received a hero's welcome when they were released from the jail. This imprisonment brought added luster to the New English School and to the Kesari and they continued to prosper. In 1882, when the Education Commission, under the Chairmanship of Sir William Hunter visited the then Bombay Presidency, the workers of the New English School made such an impression on the commission and the prominent men of the Bombay University that they encouraged them to start a college to impart higher education to Indians. As a result, in 1885, the Ferguson college was started. Tilak taught Sanskrit and Mathematics with great ability in this college.


Beginning of Conflict


The Kesari in its first issue clearly explained the objective of imparting political education to the people. It said, "Just as street lights and the rounds of police constables bring to light anything wrong or unjust happening on the roads in the dark, the editorial pen brings to light the injustices and the wrongs of the administration. In England, the doings of all, right from the Queen Empress down to the lowest servant of the crown, are brought before the eyes of the public through the columns of news papers, and thus no act of injustice goes unnoticed. It is our intention to write impartially about the way in which officials of Government perform their duty. Thus, the Kesari undertakes to keep a vigilant eye on the administration and give it praise or blame when due, without favour or fear. However, in the editorial board of the Kesari, there started an ideological conflict on the question of precedence of social reform. Agarkar wanted social reform even by government legislation. Tilak wanted political freedom first and opposed government's intervention in socio-religious institutions. He insisted that social reforms should come from within by the education of public opinion and should not be foisted upon the people by any act of coercion. It may be mentioned that principal Wordsworth and even Mr. Justice Telang held the same view. These differences on public matters affected the harmony in Kesari as well as in the New English School. There were also differences about the emoluments to be received by the life members of the society for work done by them outside the school and college. Tilak wanted complete dedication and selfless work like that of missionaries. But Agarkar, Apte and Gopal Krishna Gokhale opposed it. As a result Agarkar left Kesari in 1887 to start the new newspapers, Sudharak (the Reformer) a paper of his own and the Kesari was left to Tilak alone. Because of increasing differences Tilak left Deccan Education Society in 1890. While resigning he said, ` In leaving the school today I seem to have forsaken the goal of my life".


Wider Horizon


Tilak was now more and more attracted to public activities. Basically he was a born rebel and wore the rebel robe to the end of his life. He now entered into a wider field. He came forward as a public figure and a vigorous independent agitator who rebelled against all wrongs, and his boundless devotion to whatever cause he championed was witnessed by an admiring public. He must have felt very poignantly for having lost the occupation of his choice when he left the New English School. Forsaken by his colleagues Tilak must have spent sleepless nights in thinking of his future. But the courageous Tilak decided to convert this liberation from the narrow field into a blessing for the advancement of his country. Now the Kesari _ the lion _ began to roar in the cause of people against the tormenting bureaucracy, the missionaries and the social reformers. His first task was to reach the people because he knew that lasting change, that a rebirth of values, required change in the hearts of people and not, as the reformers believed, change in the forms of institutions. As an editor who had always dedicated himself to popular education he first reached the people. N.C. Kelkar, his chief colleague observed, "Through his paper, the `Kesari', he exercised an immense influence over the masses, and it is this influence that is mainly responsible for the infusion of a new spirit among the people and the same influence was responsible for his two sedition cases and the subsequent imprisonments." He was a sincere, forceful speaker, and he taught from both the class-room and the public platform his new message of awakening India.


Establishment of Congress


The Indian National Congress was established in 1885. Tilak welcomed it. He foresaw for the Congress a great future and visualised it as the future parliament of the country. As an editor, Tilak was unsurpassed. The Kesari and the Mahratta under his guidance were always tremendously influential and came to be financially successful. His sincerity and unflinching sense of dedication led him to champion the causes of his people against any and all who would be unjust, autocratic or opportunistic. As editor of the Kesari, Tilak became the awakener of India. The Lion of Maharashtra, the most influential Indian newspaper editor of his day. Tilak's Philosophy for the Nation Lord Macaulay's Indian intellectuals, the leaders of Westernisation in social and political reform, based their programme of social and political action almost entirely on the philosophy of life and action of nineteenth century Europe. They were truly more the products of Western civilization than Indian. Tilak was not satisfied with the Western values and was not ready to reject India's own philosophy of life in order to imitate the philosophy of the British. For Tilak, there was no reason for India to feel ashamed of her civilization when compared to the west. Just the contrary, India should feel great pride. Indian values were different from but not inferior to western values. Dharma, according to Tilak was the integrative principal, and Swadharma the spiritual and social duty of each individual. Here was the guide to social and political action. The Westernized intellectuals (mainly social reformers) wanted to change and remake India in an alien faith. But they were wrong. Tilak reminded them, "How can a man be proud of the greatness of his own nation if he feels no pride of his own religion?" It was the Bharadharma that provided an understanding of the moral purposefulness of the universe, which is the necessary basis of a philosophy of life. It provided Tilak and the nationalists like Ghose, Pal, and Lal with a guide to concrete action in personal, social and political matters. From an Indian philosophy of life Tilak and the nationalist leaders began to construct an Indian philosophy of politics that was to become the political theory of the Indian Independence Movement. He became the chief architect of the political philosophy of the Indian independence movement as he was one of the most important leaders of India at that time.


Two Festivals

Perhaps the most effective way in which he reached the people was through the employment of national festivals. He was instrumental in popularizing two great festivals, one to Ganapati, the Hindu deity of learning and propitiousness, and a festival to revive the memory of glory of Shivaji, the liberator of Maharashtra, and the restorer of Swaraj through his battle with the Mughal Empire. He especially emphasised the dynamic spirit of Shivaji. He believed it was the spirit which actuated Shivaji in his doings that is held forth as the proper idea to be kept constantly in view of the rising generation. To keep this spirit constant, Tilak worked ceaselessly to reach the people and to educate them through the festivals. He carried his doctrine throughout Maharashtra and waged his battle. Education through religion and history, through the association in the popular mind with gods and heroes, through recreating an appreciation of the heritage of the past as a guide to the future. This was the way he educated the people.


First Sedition Case (1897)


Tilak was aggressive and writing very strongly through the editorials of Kesari against the British bureaucracy. The British bureaucracy and the Anglo-Indian press realised that Tilak was an emerging leader of the people and of a new spirit in India. Those who lacked foresight began to fear him. In the tense atmosphere of famine and a plague _racked Pune, a young man, Damodar Chaphekar assassinated Rand. Rand was the British official in charge of the plague. Those who feared Rand, were quick to blame Tilak for the death, and hinted at his complicity in a conspiracy for political assassination. Tilak was, of course, innocent of any knowledge of or collaboration in this crime. He had publically disagreed with Rand for his unsympathetic behaviour towards the plague stricken people. Tilak had condemned the inhuman aspects of the British anti-plague campaign, but he had never contemplated or encouraged the assassination of the British official in charge. Tilak, nevertheless, was brought to trial in 1897, not as an accessory to assassination, not as being involved in the plot to commit murder, but rather on the charge of `sedition'. The court allowed the prosecution to argue that he had written seditious matter and his criminal sedition constituted, in effect, `dissatisfaction' with the British Raj. It was brought to the notice of the court that Tilak was not positively ``affectionate for British officialdom. This was one of the most unusual interpretations of `sedition and disaffection' in the annals of British justice. Nevertheless Tilak was convicted and sentenced to two years' imprisonment. The British had miscalculated both the effect of this sentence on Tilak and on public opinion. N.C. Kelkar observes, "His arrest and prosecution in 1897 was a sensation that nearly pulled the mind of the country by its roots, as political prosecutions were then extremely rare, and Tilak was, in himself a man big enough to mark an epoch by his personal misfortune." But this was not Tilak's last imprisonment. The British Indian Government endeavoured to convict him of perjury in connection with the well-known Tai Maharaj case in 1904. They did not succeed as he was acquitted by the High Court. In 1908, he was sentenced to six years' imprisonment, again for sedition; but in 1916, he was acquitted of a similar charge. For two decades he was persecuted by the British Indian Government because they saw in him the greatest challenge to their rule over the Indian empire. The seditation case in 1897 roused sympathy not only in Maharashtra but also in Bengal. In Bengal, Shishir Kumar Motilal Ghosh and Surendranath Bannerjee started raising funds for the defense of Tilak. The court found Tilak guilty but Tilak's prestige rose very high in the minds of the people. Max Mueller and Indian leaders submitted a memorial to the government for the early release of Tilak. The government also soon realised the mistake and released Tilak. Tilak emerged from prison in 1899 (first sedition) after serving eighteen months of his sentence. Now he became a national hero. He got following outside Maharashtra. He became the first all-India national leader. He had been persecuted for his political opinions. He was now the acknowledged political leader of the nation and the nation was prepared to heed his opinions. He had begun as an awakener of the people and as a critic of bureaucratic abuses. He emerged from prison with the responsibility of leading the Nationalist cause to political self-determination (Swatantrya). He was acclaimed the Lokmanya, the honoured and respected of the people.


Tilak's knowledge and love of the great classical Indian values had prepared him with a personal philosophy and a frame of reference for his battles with social reformism and with the spirit of orthodoxy. It also provided him with the foundation of his emerging political philosophy. He had fought against injustice, he had argued against the placating policies of the moderates. Now he began to put forward a positive political programme centred around the concept of Swaraj, self-rule for India. He realised that the self-rule must precede the meaningful social reform. National self-rule, he believed, was the only enduring basis for national unity and national self-respect. He reminded people that Shivaji had recreated Swaraj as a necessary foundation of social and political freedom, progress and morality. He, therefore, declared, which in course of time became a famous slogan, that "swaraj is my birth right and I shall have it".


Tilak's programme for Swaraj


He now vigorously took up the propaganda of Swadeshi, Boycott and National education. These were the three programmes for the achievement of Swaraj. The swadeshi movement spread in many states and was met with repression. Theprogramme of national education was a logical outgrowth of the Swadeshi and Boycott movements. The plan involved the establishment of schools throughout the country dedicated to giving young India a truly national education. Boycott moved from the economic into the political sphere. It moved from Bengal to all-India.


Second sedition case (1908)




There were bomb outrages and the government's attitude was becoming increasingly stiff towards them. The repression by the government breed conspiracies and political murders. Against this background Tilak wrote the editorial in Kesari on May 12, 1908 "the misfortune of the country". By this article Tilak was alleged to have brought into hatred and contempt the government established by law and also set one class of people against another. A prosecution was instituted against Tilak under section 124-A and 153-A. He was arrested on May 25, 1908. The case came up for hearing before Justice Davar on July 17, 1908 and a jury of six Europeans and three Parsees was empanelled. On all charges Tilak was found guilty by a verdict of seven to two. He was sentenced for six years imprisonment. When asked just before sentence was passed if he had anything more to say, he spoke the immortal lines : "All I wish to say is that inspite of the verdict of the Jury I maintain that I am innocent. There are higher powers that rule the destiny of things and it may be the will of the providence that the cause which I represent may prosper more by my suffering than by my remaining free." He was placed in virtual solitary confinement in a prison cell in faraway Mandalay. In this solitary confinement he wrote his great philosophic treatise on the Gita _ the Gita Rahasya. He lived the life of a true scholar and knowledge seeker, and the Karmyoga of his Gita became the greatest monument to the success of his search. Home Rule Not only in India but in England also, there was widespread opinion that Tilak's imprisonment was a proof that the Government had resolved by hook or by crook to remove him from their path. The `Manchestor Guardian', `The Times', `New Age' were very critical about the `British justice'. He was released from jail in 1914, the year in which World war I started in Europe. Because of the war, British wanted internal peace in India about which Tilak gave personal assurance but stressed the passive nature of his campaign for Home Rule. Tilak and Mrs. Besant and their co-workers toured all of India. Home Rule Leagues became the effective organizations for the spreading of the new message of politically awakened India. Home Rule was linked to swaraj. Tilak repeatedly said, "I said that it was our `right' to have Home Rule but that is a historical and a European way of putting it; I go further and say that it is our `Dharma'; you can not separate Home Rule from us, as you can not separate the quality of heat from fire; both are inseparably bound up." Tilak and Jinnah During the year Tilak had worked closely with Mohammed Ali Jinnah, one of the prominent young Muslim leaders. As a matter of fact, when the government tried in 1916 again to convict Tilak of preaching seditious doctrines, it was Jinnah who represented him before the court and won his acquittal. Tilak knew that a united India, Hindu and Muslim, could best promote India's cause, and through his efforts the 1916 Lucknow session of the Congress witnessed the development of a common programme with the Muslim League. It is because of Tilak, the organised Muslim community worked with the Congress and demanded equal position to India in the British empire. Tilak's England trip cancelled (1918) The Home Rule League deputation consisting of Tilak, G.S. Khaparde, B.C. Pal, N.C. Kelkar and R.P. Karandikar wanted to go to England to present to the English people India's case for a more honoured place among the nations of the Empire. Tilak and the company, therefore, left Pune in March, 1918, went to Mumbai, Madras and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) to proceed to England. However, their passports were cancelled and in Ceylon, they were telegraphically informed not to proceed to England since England was waging a great war. The Chirol Case and Tilak's visit to England Sir Valentine Chirol had made defamatory comments in his book, `Indian Unrest', both about Tilak and about the independence movement in India. To Tilak the most objectionable thing was that Chirol interpreted his actions and writings as a direct or indirect incitement to deeds of violence, and some of his remarks on Tilak's personal character were based on the judgement of Mr. Justice Chandavarkar. Tilak brought a civil suit in London against Sir Valentine Chirol. In fact the suit was nominally against Chirol, in reality it was against bureaucracy. Obviously, Tilak lost the case. The British court feared that Tilak's victory would have amounted to the British withdrawn from India. Tilak lost the case but won many friends for India's cause. He had to spend £400 every day as fees. The fees for studying the brief amounted to £3,000. His experience in England had also convinced him of the value of `foreign propaganda', of placing India's just case for self-rule before the people of the world. He hoped to see Indian leaders working not only in London but also in Tokyo, Paris and Rome, and he expressed a desire to go himself to the United States to further the cause of Indian independence. He also wanted to go to Paris in 1919, to attend the Paris peace settlement for the conclusion of World war I. He wanted, there, to advocate the application of the principle of national self-determination to India. But the British government refused permission. Advent of Gandhi In the meanwhile Gandhi had returned to India from South Africa and was now preparing the country for a non-violent struggle against the Government of India over the Rowlatt Act. He wished Tilak were a satyagrahi. Tilak wrote from London, "We should fully support Mr. Gandhi". Tilak returned to India on November, 26, 1919. He passed away in Mumbai on 1st August, 1920 because of malarial fever and pneumonia. Legacy of Lokmanya Tilak Undoubtedly the nation will ever remain grateful to Tilak for the deathless struggle he launched for the deliverance of his countrymen from political bondage and for the endless sacrifices and sufferings he made in the cause of the motherland. Indeed he was largely the maker of the Congress movement, and it was he who brought about a mass consciousness and changed the course of history. He taught the people that they need not humbly submit to alien conceptions of either the purpose of life or the right ordering of life. He reminded the nation of its history and its heritage. This pride in history and in classical values allowed a self-reliant India to grow strong and to take action to bring about a better way of life in accordance with India's own vision of life and the world. Dhananjay Keer, the welknown biographer of eminent leaders, observes, "Tilak was not only the first mass leader of India to rise in revolt in Asia against the British Empire, but also the herald of Asian nationalism who inspired the Asian leaders and nations that were suppressed under the iron heel of western imperialism. Dr. Sukarno, the Indonesian President, testified to this fact when he said, during the course of a speech at Bombay that he derived inspiration from their freedom struggle from Tilak, Gandhi and Dadabhai Naoroji". This fact was also testified when the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra and later the Dy. Prime Minister of India, Mr. Yashwantrao Chavan stated in a public speech on 1st August 1961 in Pune that the Chief Minister of East Nigeria had told him that they held Tilak and Gokhale in very high esteem. Gandhiji, in his paper, `Young India' wrote, " Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak is no more ……. No man of our times had the hold on the masses that Mr. Tilak had. The devotion that he commanded from thousands of his countrymen was extraordinary. He was unquestionably the idol of his people. His word was law among thousands. A giant among men has fallen. The voice of the lion is hushed". Jinnah called him a selfless patriot and a unique figure. Maulana Hazrat Mohani said that Tilak was greater than and superior to every other leader in every respect. The Indian and the foreign newspapers were appreciative of Tilak's unique contribution for the growth of Indian nationalism. V.G. Bhat, who accompanied Tilak in his London tour says, "Sons and daughters of India ! May the example of the Lokmanya inspire you to undertake work entailing service and sacrifice for the uplift of your countrymen and establishing the brotherhood of man all over the world. Do as much as you can unegoistically for these noble causes, in the fullest faith that such selfless work will lead you to God".


Balgangadhar Tilak social reformers. He often defended the history and civilization of Hindus and awaken to rouse the people. He pleaded that only because of ill-luck, the Hindus were reduced to slavery. Mahadeo Govind Ranade, was a mighty intellect, a man of great wisdom broad mind, prodigious industry and vast learning, an eminent economist and historian, and one of India's greatest thinkers of his day. He aimed at reorganising Hindu society on the basis of justice and reason, which implied a freedom from race, creed, and prejudices. He was for social reform in Hindu society. Both Ranade and Chiplunkar were instructors and inspirers of the two schools of thought they founded. In this battle Tilak sided with Chiplunkar whereas Agarkar with Ranade. However, about education, they held similar views. Agarkar and Tilak began to think out ways and means of establishing private schools on the model of missionary institutions. Ranade said that the country would not be emancipated unless it had, like America, its national press, national education and national church. When Agarkar and Tilak approached Chiplunkar, he welcomed the idea and agreed. Chiplunkar resigned from the job of a teacher in a government school at Chiplun and opened a school in Pune in January, 1880. This school, the New English School, was going to make history in the cultural and political life of Pune. Tilak joined on the first day as promised. Agarkar after his M.A. examination joined the school in January 1881. The New English School prospered and brought fame to the founders, who were the men of undying faith determined to carry out their mission at all cost. Even the British officers admired the progress made by the school. At about the same time, the colleagues discussed the possibility of launching two weeklies _ one in Marathi and the other in English _ to educate the people on public affairs. Chiplunkar was very keen on this project. He had already purchased on instalments the press of Namjoshi, who was conducting the `Deccan Star', his own paper. Now it was decided to name the Marathi weekly the `Kesari' _ the Lion, and the English weekly the `Mahratta', for a Mahratta has been known as an indefatigable fighter for the honour of his country. The declared objectives of the weeklies were to give a fearless account of the existing condition of the country, to give reviews of Indian books and to give correct estimates of political affairs in Britain. To begin with, the `Kesari' was a co-operative concern and Chiplunkar, Agarkar and Tilak used to write in it. Agarkar was the first editor of `Kesari' while Tilak was that of `Mahratta'. The Kesari always had a soft corner for the rulers of Indian states and wanted to support them whenever possible. However, both Agarkar and Tilak, the young editors were found guilty in the case of Kolhapur princely state and were sentenced to four month's imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 1000. They were sent to Dongri Jail in 1882. Both of them received a hero's welcome when they were released from the jail. This imprisonment brought added luster to the New English School and to the Kesari and they continued to prosper. In 1882, when the Education Commission, under the Chairmanship of Sir William Hunter visited the then Bombay Presidency, the workers of the New English School made such an impression on the commission and the prominent men of the Bombay University that they encouraged them to start a college to impart higher education to Indians. As a result, in 1885, the Ferguson college was started. Tilak taught Sanskrit and Mathematics with great ability in this college. Beginning of Conflict The Kesari in its first issue clearly explained the objective of imparting political education to the people. It said, "Just as street lights and the rounds of police constables bring to light anything wrong or unjust happening on the roads in the dark, the editorial pen brings to light the injustices and the wrongs of the administration. In England, the doings of all, right from the Queen Empress down to the lowest servant of the crown, are brought before the eyes of the public through the columns of news papers, and thus no act of injustice goes unnoticed. It is our intention to write impartially about the way in which officials of Government perform their duty. Thus, the Kesari undertakes to keep a vigilant eye on the administration and give it praise or blame when due, without favour or fear. However, in the editorial board of the Kesari, there started an ideological conflict on the question of precedence of social reform. Agarkar wanted social reform even by government legislation. Tilak wanted political freedom first and opposed government's intervention in socio-religious institutions. He insisted that social reforms should come from within by the education of public opinion and should not be foisted upon the people by any act of coercion. It may be mentioned that principal Wordsworth and even Mr. Justice Telang held the same view. These differences on public matters affected the harmony in Kesari as well as in the New English School. There were also differences about the emoluments to be received by the life members of the society for work done by them outside the school and college. Tilak wanted complete dedication and selfless work like that of missionaries. But Agarkar, Apte and Gopal Krishna Gokhale opposed it. As a result Agarkar left Kesari in 1887 to start the new newspapers, Sudharak (the Reformer) a paper of his own and the Kesari was left to Tilak alone. Because of increasing differences Tilak left Deccan Education Society in 1890. While resigning he said, ` In leaving the school today I seem to have forsaken the goal of my life". Wider Horizon Tilak was now more and more attracted to public activities. Basically he was a born rebel and wore the rebel robe to the end of his life. He now entered into a wider field. He came forward as a public figure and a vigorous independent agitator who rebelled against all wrongs, and his boundless devotion to whatever cause he championed was witnessed by an admiring public. He must have felt very poignantly for having lost the occupation of his choice when he left the New English School. Forsaken by his colleagues Tilak must have spent sleepless nights in thinking of his future. But the courageous Tilak decided to convert this liberation from the narrow field into a blessing for the advancement of his country. Now the Kesari _ the lion _ began to roar in the cause of people against the tormenting bureaucracy, the missionaries and the social reformers. His first task was to reach the people because he knew that lasting change, that a rebirth of values, required change in the hearts of people and not, as the reformers believed, change in the forms of institutions. As an editor who had always dedicated himself to popular education he first reached the people. N.C. Kelkar, his chief colleague observed, "Through his paper, the `Kesari', he exercised an immense influence over the masses, and it is this influence that is mainly responsible for the infusion of a new spirit among the people and the same influence was responsible for his two sedition cases and the subsequent imprisonments." He was a sincere, forceful speaker, and he taught from both the class-room and the public platform his new message of awakening India. Establishment of Congress The Indian National Congress was established in 1885. Tilak welcomed it. He foresaw for the Congress a great future and visualised it as the future parliament of the country. As an editor, Tilak was unsurpassed. The Kesari and the Mahratta under his guidance were always tremendously influential and came to be financially successful. His sincerity and unflinching sense of dedication led him to champion the causes of his people against any and all who would be unjust, autocratic or opportunistic. As editor of the Kesari, Tilak became the awakener of India. The Lion of Maharashtra, the most influential Indian newspaper editor of his day. Tilak's Philosophy for the Nation Lord Macaulay's Indian intellectuals, the leaders of Westernisation in social and political reform, based their programme of social and political action almost entirely on the philosophy of life and action of nineteenth century Europe. They were truly more the products of Western civilization than Indian. Tilak was not satisfied with the Western values and was not ready to reject India's own philosophy of life in order to imitate the philosophy of the British. For Tilak, there was no reason for India to feel ashamed of her civilization when compared to the west. Just the contrary, India should feel great pride. Indian values were different from but not inferior to western values. Dharma, according to Tilak was the integrative principal, and Swadharma the spiritual and social duty of each individual. Here was the guide to social and political action. The Westernized intellectuals (mainly social reformers) wanted to change and remake India in an alien faith. But they were wrong. Tilak reminded them, "How can a man be proud of the greatness of his own nation if he feels no pride of his own religion?" It was the Bharadharma that provided an understanding of the moral purposefulness of the universe, which is the necessary basis of a philosophy of life. It provided Tilak and the nationalists like Ghose, Pal, and Lal with a guide to concrete action in personal, social and political matters. From an Indian philosophy of life Tilak and the nationalist leaders began to construct an Indian philosophy of politics that was to become the political theory of the Indian Independence Movement. He became the chief architect of the political philosophy of the Indian independence movement as he was one of the most important leaders of India at that time. Two Festivals Perhaps the most effective way in which he reached the people was through the employment of national festivals. He was instrumental in popularizing two great festivals, one to Ganapati, the Hindu deity of learning and propitiousness, and a festival to revive the memory of glory of Shivaji, the liberator of Maharashtra, and the restorer of Swaraj through his battle with the Mughal Empire. He especially emphasised the dynamic spirit of Shivaji. He believed it was the spirit which actuated Shivaji in his doings that is held forth as the proper idea to be kept constantly in view of the rising generation. To keep this spirit constant, Tilak worked ceaselessly to reach the people and to educate them through the festivals. He carried his doctrine throughout Maharashtra and waged his battle. Education through religion and history, through the association in the popular mind with gods and heroes, through recreating an appreciation of the heritage of the past as a guide to the future. This was the way he educated the people. First Sedition Case (1897) Tilak was aggressive and writing very strongly through the editorials of Kesari against the British bureaucracy. The British bureaucracy and the Anglo-Indian press realised that Tilak was an emerging leader of the people and of a new spirit in India. Those who lacked foresight began to fear him. In the tense atmosphere of famine and a plague _racked Pune, a young man, Damodar Chaphekar assassinated Rand. Rand was the British official in charge of the plague. Those who feared Rand, were quick to blame Tilak for the death, and hinted at his complicity in a conspiracy for political assassination. Tilak was, of course, innocent of any knowledge of or collaboration in this crime. He had publically disagreed with Rand for his unsympathetic behaviour towards the plague stricken people. Tilak had condemned the inhuman aspects of the British anti-plague campaign, but he had never contemplated or encouraged the assassination of the British official in charge. Tilak, nevertheless, was brought to trial in 1897, not as an accessory to assassination, not as being involved in the plot to commit murder, but rather on the charge of `sedition'. The court allowed the prosecution to argue that he had written seditious matter and his criminal sedition constituted, in effect, `dissatisfaction' with the British Raj. It was brought to the notice of the court that Tilak was not positively ``affectionate for British officialdom. This was one of the most unusual interpretations of `sedition and disaffection' in the annals of British justice. Nevertheless Tilak was convicted and sentenced to two years' imprisonment. The British had miscalculated both the effect of this sentence on Tilak and on public opinion. N.C. Kelkar observes, "His arrest and prosecution in 1897 was a sensation that nearly pulled the mind of the country by its roots, as political prosecutions were then extremely rare, and Tilak was, in himself a man big enough to mark an epoch by his personal misfortune." But this was not Tilak's last imprisonment. The British Indian Government endeavoured to convict him of perjury in connection with the well-known Tai Maharaj case in 1904. They did not succeed as he was acquitted by the High Court. In 1908, he was sentenced to six years' imprisonment, again for sedition; but in 1916, he was acquitted of a similar charge. For two decades he was persecuted by the British Indian Government because they saw in him the greatest challenge to their rule over the Indian empire. The seditation case in 1897 roused sympathy not only in Maharashtra but also in Bengal. In Bengal, Shishir Kumar Motilal Ghosh and Surendranath Bannerjee started raising funds for the defense of Tilak. The court found Tilak guilty but Tilak's prestige rose very high in the minds of the people. Max Mueller and Indian leaders submitted a memorial to the government for the early release of Tilak. The government also soon realised the mistake and released Tilak. Tilak emerged from prison in 1899 (first sedition) after serving eighteen months of his sentence. Now he became a national hero. He got following outside Maharashtra. He became the first all-India national leader. He had been persecuted for his political opinions. He was now the acknowledged political leader of the nation and the nation was prepared to heed his opinions. He had begun as an awakener of the people and as a critic of bureaucratic abuses. He emerged from prison with the responsibility of leading the Nationalist cause to political self-determination (Swatantrya). He was acclaimed the Lokmanya, the honoured and respected of the people. Tilak's knowledge and love of the great classical Indian values had prepared him with a personal philosophy and a frame of reference for his battles with social reformism and with the spirit of orthodoxy. It also provided him with the foundation of his emerging political philosophy. He had fought against injustice, he had argued against the placating policies of the moderates. Now he began to put forward a positive political programme centred around the concept of Swaraj, self-rule for India. He realised that the self-rule must precede the meaningful social reform. National self-rule, he believed, was the only enduring basis for national unity and national self-respect. He reminded people that Shivaji had recreated Swaraj as a necessary foundation of social and political freedom, progress and morality. He, therefore, declared, which in course of time became a famous slogan, that "swaraj is my birth right and I shall have it". Tilak's programme for Swaraj



He now vigorously took up the propaganda of Swadeshi, Boycott and National education. These were the three programmes for the achievement of Swaraj. The swadeshi movement spread in many states and was met with repression. Theprogramme of national education was a logical outgrowth of the Swadeshi and Boycott movements. The plan involved the establishment of schools throughout the country dedicated to giving young India a truly national education. Boycott moved from the economic into the political sphere. It moved from Bengal to all-India.


Second sedition case (1908)


There were bomb outrages and the government's attitude was becoming increasingly stiff towards them. The repression by the government breed conspiracies and political murders. Against this background Tilak wrote the editorial in Kesari on May 12, 1908 "the misfortune of the country". By this article Tilak was alleged to have brought into hatred and contempt the government established by law and also set one class of people against another. A prosecution was instituted against Tilak under section 124-A and 153-A. He was arrested on May 25, 1908. The case came up for hearing before Justice Davar on July 17, 1908 and a jury of six Europeans and three Parsees was empanelled. On all charges Tilak was found guilty by a verdict of seven to two. He was sentenced for six years imprisonment. When asked just before sentence was passed if he had anything more to say, he spoke the immortal lines : "All I wish to say is that inspite of the verdict of the Jury I maintain that I am innocent. There are higher powers that rule the destiny of things and it may be the will of the providence that the cause which I represent may prosper more by my suffering than by my remaining free." He was placed in virtual solitary confinement in a prison cell in faraway Mandalay. In this solitary confinement he wrote his great philosophic treatise on the Gita _ the Gita Rahasya. He lived the life of a true scholar and knowledge seeker, and the Karmyoga of his Gita became the greatest monument to the success of his search.


Home Rule


Not only in India but in England also, there was widespread opinion that Tilak's imprisonment was a proof that the Government had resolved by hook or by crook to remove him from their path. The `Manchestor Guardian', `The Times', `New Age' were very critical about the `British justice'. He was released from jail in 1914, the year in which World war I started in Europe. Because of the war, British wanted internal peace in India about which Tilak gave personal assurance but stressed the passive nature of his campaign for Home Rule. Tilak and Mrs. Besant and their co-workers toured all of India. Home Rule Leagues became the effective organizations for the spreading of the new message of politically awakened India. Home Rule was linked to swaraj. Tilak repeatedly said, "I said that it was our `right' to have Home Rule but that is a historical and a European way of putting it; I go further and say that it is our `Dharma'; you can not separate Home Rule from us, as you can not separate the quality of heat from fire; both are inseparably bound up."


Tilak and Jinnah


During the year Tilak had worked closely with Mohammed Ali Jinnah, one of the prominent young Muslim leaders. As a matter of fact, when the government tried in 1916 again to convict Tilak of preaching seditious doctrines, it was Jinnah who represented him before the court and won his acquittal. Tilak knew that a united India, Hindu and Muslim, could best promote India's cause, and through his efforts the 1916 Lucknow session of the Congress witnessed the development of a common programme with the Muslim League. It is because of Tilak, the organised Muslim community worked with the Congress and demanded equal position to India in the British empire.


Tilak's England trip cancelled (1918)


The Home Rule League deputation consisting of Tilak, G.S. Khaparde, B.C. Pal, N.C. Kelkar and R.P. Karandikar wanted to go to England to present to the English people India's case for a more honoured place among the nations of the Empire. Tilak and the company, therefore, left Pune in March, 1918, went to Mumbai, Madras and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) to proceed to England. However, their passports were cancelled and in Ceylon, they were telegraphically informed not to proceed to England since England was waging a great war. The Chirol Case and Tilak's visit to England Sir Valentine Chirol had made defamatory comments in his book, `Indian Unrest', both about Tilak and about the independence movement in India. To Tilak the most objectionable thing was that Chirol interpreted his actions and writings as a direct or indirect incitement to deeds of violence, and some of his remarks on Tilak's personal character were based on the judgement of Mr. Justice Chandavarkar. Tilak brought a civil suit in London against Sir Valentine Chirol. In fact the suit was nominally against Chirol, in reality it was against bureaucracy. Obviously, Tilak lost the case. The British court feared that Tilak's victory would have amounted to the British withdrawn from India. Tilak lost the case but won many friends for India's cause. He had to spend £400 every day as fees. The fees for studying the brief amounted to £3,000. His experience in England had also convinced him of the value of `foreign propaganda', of placing India's just case for self-rule before the people of the world. He hoped to see Indian leaders working not only in London but also in Tokyo, Paris and Rome, and he expressed a desire to go himself to the United States to further the cause of Indian independence. He also wanted to go to Paris in 1919, to attend the Paris peace settlement for the conclusion of World war I. He wanted, there, to advocate the application of the principle of national self-determination to India. But the British government refused permission.


Advent of Gandhi


In the meanwhile Gandhi had returned to India from South Africa and was now preparing the country for a non-violent struggle against the Government of India over the Rowlatt Act. He wished Tilak were a satyagrahi. Tilak wrote from London, "We should fully support Mr. Gandhi". Tilak returned to India on November, 26, 1919. He passed away in Mumbai on 1st August, 1920 because of malarial fever and pneumonia.


Legacy of Lokmanya Tilak


Undoubtedly the nation will ever remain grateful to Tilak for the deathless struggle he launched for the deliverance of his countrymen from political bondage and for the endless sacrifices and sufferings he made in the cause of the motherland. Indeed he was largely the maker of the Congress movement, and it was he who brought about a mass consciousness and changed the course of history. He taught the people that they need not humbly submit to alien conceptions of either the purpose of life or the right ordering of life. He reminded the nation of its history and its heritage. This pride in history and in classical values allowed a self-reliant India to grow strong and to take action to bring about a better way of life in accordance with India's own vision of life and the world. Dhananjay Keer, the welknown biographer of eminent leaders, observes, "Tilak was not only the first mass leader of India to rise in revolt in Asia against the British Empire, but also the herald of Asian nationalism who inspired the Asian leaders and nations that were suppressed under the iron heel of western imperialism. Dr. Sukarno, the Indonesian President, testified to this fact when he said, during the course of a speech at Bombay that he derived inspiration from their freedom struggle from Tilak, Gandhi and Dadabhai Naoroji". This fact was also testified when the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra and later the Dy. Prime Minister of India, Mr. Yashwantrao Chavan stated in a public speech on 1st August 1961 in Pune that the Chief Minister of East Nigeria had told him that they held Tilak and Gokhale in very high esteem. Gandhiji, in his paper, `Young India' wrote, " Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak is no more ……. No man of our times had the hold on the masses that Mr. Tilak had. The devotion that he commanded from thousands of his countrymen was extraordinary. He was unquestionably the idol of his people. His word was law among thousands. A giant among men has fallen. The voice of the lion is hushed". Jinnah called him a selfless patriot and a unique figure. Maulana Hazrat Mohani said that Tilak was greater than and superior to every other leader in every respect. The Indian and the foreign newspapers were appreciative of Tilak's unique contribution for the growth of Indian nationalism. V.G. Bhat, who accompanied Tilak in his London tour says, "Sons and daughters of India ! May the example of the Lokmanya inspire you to undertake work entailing service and sacrifice for the uplift of your countrymen and establishing the brotherhood of man all over the world. Do as much as you can unegoistically for these noble causes, in the fullest faith that such selfless work will lead you to God".

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