Bal Gangadhar Tilak was born on July 23, 1856 in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra. His father Gangadhar Ramachandra Tilak was a Sanskrit scholar and a famous teacher. Tilak was a brilliant student and he was very good in mathematics. Since childhood Tilak had an intolerant attitude towards injustice and he was truthful and straightforward in nature. He was among India's first generation of youth to receive a modern, college education. The British colonial authorities derogatorily called him "Father of the Indian unrest". He was also conferred with the honorary title of "Lokmanya", which literally means "Accepted by the people.

Tilak was an Indian nationalist, teacher, social reformer and independence fighter who was the first popular leader of the Indian Independence Movement. The British colonial authorities infamously and derogatorily called the great leader as "Father of the Indian unrest". Tilak was one of the first and strongest advocates of "Swaraj" (self-rule) in Indian consciousness. His famous quote, "Swaraj is my birthright, and I shall have it!" is well-remembered in India even today.

Tilak joined the Indian National Congress in 1890. He opposed its moderate attitude, especially towards the fight for self-government. He was one of the most-eminent radicals at the time. Despite being personally opposed to early marriage, Tilak opposed 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 get married from 10 to 12 years.

In 1903, he wrote the book The Arctic Home in the Vedas. In it he argued that the Vedas could only have been composed in the Arctics, and the Aryan bards brought them south after the onset of the last ice age. He proposed the radically new way to determine the exact time of the Vedas. He tried to calculate the time of Vedas by using the position of different Nakshatras. Positions of Nakshtras were described in different Vedas.

Tilak also authored 'Shrimadbhagwadgeetarahasya' - the analysis of 'Karmayoga' in the Bhagavadgita, which is known to be gift of the Vedas and the Upanishads. Tilak was considered the 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 Tilak "The Maker of Modern India". In fighting for people’s cause, twice he was sentenced to imprisonment. He launched Swadeshi Movenment and believed that ‘Swaraj is my birth right and I shall have it’. This quote inspired millions of Indians to join the freedom struggle. With the goal of Swaraj, he also built ‘Home Rule League’. Tilak constantly traveled across the country to inspire and convince people to believe in Swaraj and fight for freedom. He was constantly fighting against injustice and one sad day on August 1, 1920, he died. Bal Gangadhar Tilak was one of the prime architects of modern India and is still living in the hearts of millions of India.


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