Person in news: Lokmanya Tilak or Bal Gangadhar Tilak
About Lokmanya Tilak:
He was an Indian nationalist, teacher, social reformer, lawyer and an independence activist. He was the first leader of the Indian Independence Movement.
The British colonial authorities (British author Sir Valentine Chirol) called him “The father of the Indian unrest.”
He was also conferred with the title of “Lokmanya”, which means “accepted by the people (as their leader)”.
ilak was one of the first and strongest advocates of Swaraj (“self-rule”) and a strong radical in Indian consciousness.
He is known for his quote in Marathi: “Swarajya is my birthright and I shall have it!”.
He formed a close alliance with many Indian National Congress leaders including Bipin Chandra Pal, Lala Lajpat Rai, Aurobindo Ghose, V. O. Chidambaram Pillai and Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
Tilak was considered a radical Nationalist but a Social conservative.
Tilak joined the Indian National Congress in 1890. He opposed its moderate attitude, especially towards the fight for self-government.
Despite being personally opposed to early marriage, Tilak was against the 1891 Age of Consent bill, seeing it as interference with Hinduism and a dangerous precedent. The act raised the age at which a girl could marry from 10 to 12 years.
Following the Partition of Bengal, which was a strategy set out by Lord Curzon to weaken the nationalist movement, Tilak encouraged the Swadeshi movement and the Boycott movement. The movement consisted of the boycott of foreign goods and also the social boycott of any Indian who used foreign goods.
Tilak opposed the moderate views of Gopal Krishna Gokhale, and was supported by fellow Indian nationalists Bipin Chandra Pal in Bengal and Lala Lajpat Rai in Punjab.They were referred to as the “Lal-Bal-Pal triumvirate”.
Muhammad Ali Jinnah was the lawyer of Tilak when sedition charges were framed against him in 1909.
Tilak was impressed by the Russian Revolution, and expressed his admiration for Vladimir Lenin.
He supported a federal system for Free India where every religion and race was an equal partner.
He was the first Congress leader to suggest that Hindi written in the Devanagari script be accepted as the sole national language of India.
Tilak started two weeklies, Kesari (“The Lion”) in Marathi and Mahratta in English in 1880–81 with Gopal Ganesh Agarkar as the first editor. By this he was recognized as ‘awakener of India’.