Biography of Bal Gangadhar Tilak – Father of Indian Unrest

Bal Gangadhar Tilak is one of the people whose personality and patriotism have resulted in India becoming a modern, powerful country.

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Keshav Gangadhar Tilak played an important role in creating public awareness by actively participating in the nationwide freedom movement against the British. Strong nationalist leader Gangadhar Tilak placed too much emphasis on Swaraj. He expressed that Swaraj is the birthright of Indians. His famous quote is “Swaraj is my Birthright and I shall have it.” Therefore, Bal Gangadhar Tilak was determined to take away the freedom of the Indians from the clutches of British subjugation.

Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Biography of Bal Gangadhar Tilak

NameBal Gangadhar Tilak[1]
Real NameKeshav Gangadhar Tilak
Date of BirthJuly 23, 1856
Place of BirthRatnagiri, Maharashtra, India
Father’s NameGangadhar Shastri
Mother’s NameParbati Bai Gangadhar
Education1/ Deccan College
2/ Government Law College
DeathAugust 1, 1920

Early Life of Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Keshav Gangadhar Tilak, one of the most powerful fighters of the freedom struggle that started against the British, was born on July 23, 1856, into a middle-class Marathi Hindu Chitpavan Brahmin family in Ratnagiri, a small coastal town in south-western Maharashtra. Gangadhar Tilak’s father’s name is Gangadhar Shastri Tilak and mother’s name is Parvati Bai Gangadhar. Keshav Gangadhar Tilak’s father was a teacher parallel to being a Sanskrit scholar. It is to be noted that their family later shifted to Pune due to his father’s work.

Tilak, who was extremely talented since childhood, was truthful and straightforward in nature. Keshav Gangadhar Tilak, who has expressed an intolerant attitude towards injustice since childhood, expressed his independent views. After graduating in Sanskrit and Mathematics from Deccan College, Pune in 1877, Tilak received his law degree from the Government Law College of Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1879. After completing his formal education, Bal Gangadhar Tilak started his professional career as an English and mathematics teacher at a private school in Pune. Later, however, due to differences with the school authorities, he left the school.

Also Read: Biography of Bhagat Singh

Career of Bal Gangadhar Tilak

It is to be noted that Bal Gangadhar Tilak was one of the first generation of youth in India to get modern education. Gangadhar Tilak, a man of immense nationalist sentiment, strongly criticised the education system introduced by the British in India. They also protested against the inconsistent treatment meted out to Indian students by the British. Tilak also expressed his displeasure over the non-inclusion of Indian literature and culture issues in the Indian education system. According to him, this education is not enough if one cannot learn about one’s region from the education system. Inspired by Vishnushahstri Chiplunkar, he co-founded the New English school for secondary education in 1880 with few of his college friends, including Gopal Ganesh Agarkar, Madev Ballal Namjoshi and Vishnushastri Chiplunkar. Deccan Educational Society was started in 1884 in collaboration with Vishnu Shastri Chiplunkar and Gopal Ganesh Agarka to create new system of education and to spread nationalist thinking among Indian students by removing these limitations of the education system. Subsequently, under the leadership of this society, the Fergusson College was established in 1885 for post-secondary studies. It is to be noted that Bal Gangadhar Tilak taught mathematics at Fergusson College. It may be recalled that Bal Gangadhar Tilak had left the Deccan Educational Society in 1890 to participate in more openly active politics. Bal Gangadhar Tilak started the mass movement with the aim of leaving the academic field and getting rid of the clutches of subjugation.

Political Career

Bal Gangadhar Tilak, who started a mass movement by creating mass awareness for Indian autonomy from British colonial rule, was one of the most well-known Indian political leaders in the period before Mahatma Gandhi. Bal Gangadhar Tilak who was with a very ultra-nationalist attitude was called ‘The Father of Indian Unrest’ by British author Sir Valentine Chirol

Bal Gangadhar Tilak, who is responsible for his country, joined the Indian National Congress party in 1890 and entered into active politics. Tilak, who was instrumental in freeing India from British rule and establishing self-rule, had an extreme nationalist attitude. For which he strongly opposed the party’s moderate views. He was of the opinion that freedom cannot be taken away if we continue to agitate non-violently against the British in a soft manner. For which he also stood against prominent Congress leader Gopal Krishna Gokhale at that time. Unlike his fellow Maharashtrian contemporary, Gokhale, Tilak was considered a radical Nationalist but a Social conservative. Tilak wanted to take India’s independence away from the British by rebelling armed. After the partition of Bengal by Lord Curzon, Tilak wholeheartedly supported the boycott of British goods even though his ultra-nationalist thinking triggered a debate within the Indian National Congress. It is to be noted that due to the fundamental differences in approach, Tilak and his supporters became known as the extremist wing of the Indian National Congress Party. This idea of Tilak was supported by Bipin Chandra Pal of Bengal and Lala Lajpat Rai from Punjab. Because of which these three persons are called Lal-Bal-Pal in Indian politics. It is important to note that at the 1907 national congress session, there was a wide ideological difference between the moderate and extremist sections of the Indian National Congress party. As a result, the Congress was divided into two factions.

Significantly, on June 22, 1897, Commissioner Rand and another British officer were shot dead by the Chapekar brothers and their other associates. According to Barbara and Thomas R. Metcalf, Bal Gangadhar Tilak hided the identity of the criminals even after being known. Because of which he was sentenced to 18 months of prison by the British government for abetment to murder. It is to be noted that after his release from jail, the public had called Gangadhar Tilak the leader of the people by offering him the title of Lokmanya.

Apart from these, Tilak was referred to as the Father of Modern India by the Great Human Mahatma Gandhi, while Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru called him the Father of the Indian Revolution.

Bal Gangadhar Tilak published two weekly papers in Marathi called Kesari in Marathi and Mahratta in English with Gopal Ganesh Agarkar as the first editor in 1880-1881. Tilak tried to awaken the public through the papers. It is to be noted that Kesari, a Marathi language paper published by Tilak’s efforts, was later converted into a daily newspaper. Two notable books written by politician, educationist Gangadhar Tilak are “Shrimadh Bhagvad Gita Rahasya” and “Arctic Home of the Vedas.”

His Contribution to Society

In 1894 Tilak played an important role in converting Ganesh Puja into a public event. In 1895, he formed the Sri Shivaji Fund Committee to celebrate “Shiv Jayanti”, the birth anniversary of Shivaji, the founder of the Marathi Empire. Bal Gangadhar Tilak organised events like Ganapati Utsav, Shivaji Jayanti to create a national mood outside the circle of educated elites opposed to colonial rule. But it also aggravated the rift between Hindus and Muslims.

Importantly, Tilak was also a social reformer who was engaged in the larger task of national awakening. Tilak, who advocated women’s education and women empowerment, have done his daughters marriage at an appropriate age and also provided her with access to education.


Bal Gangadhar Tilak was a philosopher-politician who played an important role in shaping modern India. He took care to spread swaraj and swadeshi ideas among the people by making every Indian aware against the insult and injustice of the British. Tilak, a staunch follower of Swaraj, died on August 1, 1920.


1. What is the real name of Bal Gangadhar Tilak?

Ans: Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s real name is Keshav Gangadhar Tilak.

2. Why is Bal Gangadhar Tilak called ‘The Father of Indian Unrest’?

Ans: British writer Sir Valentine Chirol  with a very ultra-nationalist attitude called Bal Gangadhar Tilak the father of Indian Unrest. Bal Gangadhar Tilak opined that freedom cannot be taken away if there is a non-violent soft movement against the British.

3. When and where was Bal Gangadhar Tilak born?

Ans: Gangadhar Tilak was born on July 23, 1856, in a middle-class Chitpavan Brahmin family in Ratnagiri, a small coastal town in south-western Maharashtra.

4. What are the names of Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s father and mother?

Ans: The father’s name of Bal Gangadhar Tilak is Gangadhar Shastri and mother’s name are Parvati Bai Gangadhar.

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