Bal Gangadhar Tilak was born in a Brahmin family at Ratnagiri in Maharashtra. After obtaining a degree in Law, he founded the Poona New English School.
Contribution of Bal Gangadhar Tilak
- Bal Gangadhar Tilak is known as the ‘Father of Assertive Nationalism’. He broadened the base of the Indian National Congress.
- He was born in a Brahmin family at Ratnagiri in Maharashtra. After obtaining a degree in Law, he founded the Poona New English School.
- He founded the Deccan Education Society under the guidance of Ranade in 1884.
- Tilak was the first nationalist who openly declared that Swaraj is the goal of the people. He said, Swaraj is my birthright and I shall have it”. He believed that India will not get freedom by sending petitions but by concrete actions.
- Tilak started the Ganpati festival to spread and propagate nationalist ideas through songs and speeches. He started two newspapers, Kesari and Bal Gangadhar Tilak Mahratta, in which he preached nationalist ideas among the people. He also wrote two books, Gita Rahasya and The Arctic Home of the Vedas.
- He started the Home Rule League at Pune in 1916 for attaining self-government.
- He is considered a forerunner to Gandhi. Like Tilak, Gandhi also believed in the principle of ‘Swarajya’. Both Tilak and Gandhi had a mass following. Tilak preached the ideas of Swadeshi, boycott, and prohibition which were also upheld by Gandhi.
Because assertive nationalists demanded complete independence and followed radical methods to achieve the same, they were brutally suppressed by the government. In 1908, Bal Gangadhar Tilak was sentenced to six years of rigorous imprisonment in Mandalay prison in Burma.
Achievements of the Assertive Nationalists
- They exposed the hollowness of the belief of British sense of justice and fair play.
- They instilled among the Indians the spirit of active nationalism. They made people realize that the policy of non-violent resistance is essential to drive the British out of the country.
- They expressed their opinion and nationalistic ideas in vernacular languages and thus had a large mass base.
- By promoting the principles of swadeshi and boycott of foreign goods, they promoted the principles of self-reliance.
- They stressed that nothing less than complete independence was acceptable to the people of India.
- Many nationalist schools were set up during the period of assertive nationalism. The National Council of Education was set up in 1906 which later developed into Jadavpur University.
- Swadeshi and boycott movements spread all over India and drew people towards the nationalist movement.
- It was due to the efforts of the assertive nationalists that the partition of Bengal was cancelled in 1911.