Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak was the “Father of Indian Freedom Struggle”. However, in today’s times when only one particular person is projected by the Media as one responsible for Freedom, we have forgotten such fierce patriots! 1st August is Lokmanya Tilak’s Death Anniversary – a thing which 90% of the Indians do not know. It is a thing of shame that we forget our heroes and the sacrifices they made for our country.
Let us make an effort to remember the great Patriot!!
Lokmanya Tilak started a school with Gopal Ganesh Agarkar called “New English School” in Pune in 1880 with a view to impart Indianized Education to the students to create patriots and not servants for the British Empire schooled in schools run by the British. This led to the development of Deccan Education Society in 1884 and Fergusson College in 1885.
Lokmanya Tilak knew the dangers of Brain Drain back in the 19th century itself! He knew students going out of India would not contribute anything to the nation’s growth. Isn’t that exactly what is happening today?
“The Bombay Store” that we all know today was started by Lokmanya Tilak and Jamshedji Tata together in early 1900s to promote Swadeshi goods. Today, the store has 9 branches in 3 cities!
“Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav” or the public celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi and Chhatrapati Shivaji Jayanti was started by Lokmanya Tilak to bring together the fragmented and disunited Indian Society. These events had a great impact in uniting Indians. Patriotic Folk Songs, Weapon demonstrations were the highlights of these programs. Unfortunately Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav today has turned into a race for breaking the law, polluting nature and drinking alcohol!
In “The Arctic Home of the Vedas”, Lokmanya Tilak argued that the Vedas were written in the Arctic. He also suggested that mythological Mount Meru was situated at North Pole.
While undergoing the “Kalapani” punishment in Mandalay, Lokmanya Tilak wrote the book “Geeta Rahasya” in pencil with his own handwriting while being imprisoned at the Mandalay jail from 1908 to 1914. It was published in 1915 when he was 59 years old!
It is said that when Mahatma Gandhi urged Lokmanya Tilak to try and follow Satyagraha path to achieve freedom, Lokmanya Tilak replied that “There is no option but to spill blood to achieve Freedom otherwise future generations will not value that Freedom!”
It is said that when Chapekar brothers assassinated W.C.Rand, the British Plague Commissioner of Pune for his atrocities on the common people in 1897, Lokmanya Tilak supported them covertly. Killing of W.C. Rand stopped the Police atrocities on the Plague affected and doctors and nurses were assigned to treat the people in camps.
Lokmanya Tilak started the famous newspapers “Kesari” – (Lion) in Marathi and Maratha in English for spreading awareness about Freedom and uniting the Indians. Kesari is still published by his great grandson, Deepak Tilak
On 1st August, 1920,Lokmanya Tilak passed away and was cremated publicly at Girgaon Chowpatty where his statue stands today. Over 2 Lakh people attended his funeral procession – one of the largest in Indian History!
Lokmanya Tilak was given a rare honor in his funeral procession. He was cremated in a Padmasan position – an honor reserved for Saints and Sages in Hindu Culture! Such was his work and love for the nation!!