Who is Honey Gangadhar Tilak?December 14, 2020
Bal Gangadhar Tilak (July 23, 1856 – August 1, 1920), Indian scientist, lawyer, mathematician, thinker, and nationalist leader. In 1914, he established the Indian Administrative Autonomy Union and assumed its chairmanship, and in 1916 he signed the Lucknow Pact, which provided the Hindu-Muslim unity with Muhammad Ali Jinnah in the struggle for independence.
He was the son of a cultured middle-class Brahman family. He studied law when he graduated from college, but later taught mathematics at a private school in Puna. In 1884 he founded the Dekkan Teaching Association, which aimed to educate the public, especially to teach English. Later, he developed the private school he taught and turned it into a college affiliated with the university. He tried to raise political awareness in the public through two weekly newspapers named Kesari in Marathi and Mahratta in English. His use of the Marathi language greatly impressed the villagers who listened to Kesari, which was recited to them. Thus, Tilak, famous for his fierce criticism of moderate social reformers as well as the British administration, was of the opinion that social reforms modeled on the West would weaken the political struggle for independence.
Tilak tried to make use of Hindu religious symbols and the tradition of struggle of the Marathas against the Muslim rule in the past to spread the nationalist movement, which was limited to the higher classes at that time, among the people. For this purpose, he organized the Genasa festival in 1893 and the Şivaci festival in 1895, but while spreading the nationalist movement, it caused anxiety among the Muslims. He was soon accused of treason by the British administration and was tried and imprisoned in 1897, after which he became known as Lokamanya (Beloved Leader of the People) .In 1905, the people of Bengal who demanded the annulment of the decision on the division of Bengal by the governor general of India, Lord Curzon, supported; The call to boycott British goods soon hit the whole country. The following year, Tilak announced the program of passive resistance known as the Goals of the New Party, and with this program, he tried to eliminate the drug influence of the British administration and prepare the people for the sake of independence. This boycott and passive resistance actions he initiated were later continued by Mohandas Gandhi.
The National Congress of India (INC, Congress Party) advocated for svarac (independent, autonomous) administration, opposing small-scale reforms, adopting an extreme approach to the moderate wing. He tried to win Congress into his own program of struggle. At the congressional meeting in Surat in 1907, he clashed with the moderates and was sent to Mandalay, Burma, to serve a six-year prison sentence, once again accused by the British administration of exploiting the division between nationalist forces of rebellion and terrorism incitement. He wrote his great work Bhagavadgita Rahasya (The Secret of the Bhagavadgita), an original commentary on the most sacred book of Hindus in prison. In his work, he argued that the scripture calls for service to a selfless humanity, opposing the traditional interpretation that Bhagavadgita teaches us to withdraw from everything.
Released just prior to World War I, Tilak returned to politics and introduced the slogan Svaracya (Sanskrit sva: self and racya: government) is my birthright and I will get it, and, together with Annie Besant, is among the founders of the Managerial Autonomy Association. took. He rejoined Congress in 1916 and signed the historical Lucknow Pact between Hindus and Muslims with Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the future founder of Pakistan. He went to England in 1918 as president of the Indian Managerial Autonomy Association. Realizing that the Labor Party was on the rise in British political life, he established close ties with the party leaders, indeed India gained independence during Labor rule in 1947, and Tilak, one of the first leaders to argue that the Indians should stop cooperating with the foreign government, has never encouraged violence.
When he returned to his country to attend Congress’s meeting in Amritsar in 1919, Gandhi softened enough to oppose the boycott policy of legislative councils election among the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms. He urged representatives to follow his proposed policy of respondent co-operation in order to realize reforms that would allow Indians to participate to a certain extent in the regional government. But he died before he could give a definite direction to reforms. Tilak, whom Gandhi called the Founder of Modern India, was called the Father of the Indian Revolution by Cavaharlal Nehru.
Source: Atatürk University Department of Sociology 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 3rd Year “History of Contemporary Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM)