e martë, 24 prill 2007

Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Name: Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Date of Birth: 1856 to 1920

Place of Birth: Ratnagiri

Description: Born in Ratnagiri, a small coastal town in 1856 in a middle class family, Tilak had to fend himself for college education. At an early age he was convinced that the educational system the British provided for the Indians was not at all adequate. After graduation and a law degree, he helped found a school which laid emphasis on nationalism. He started a news paper 'Kesari' which tried to teach Indians of their glorious past and reminded them to be self reliant (Swadeshi). The British used all the native raw materials to run their factories in England and sold the finished products to India, keeping the India an ever dependant country. In the process, all the self-employing industries of India like spinning, weaving, glass making, sugar ,dyeing, paper making were destroyed. People became destitute for no fault of theirs to help an empire become richer and stronger. Tilak tried to breathe life into the moribund nation through four mantras. (1). Boycott of foreign goods (2) National Education (3) Self Government (4) Swadeshi or self reliance. He realized that mere protest against British rule was not going to help and insisted on native production and reliance. "We have no arms, but there is no necessity. But our strong political weapon is boycott (of foreign goods) Organize your powers and then go to work so that they cannot refuse you what you demand" - he told the masses. It is strange that the British read treason in these words. He founded Deccan Education Society to give better education as per the country's needs. He wrote scathing articles over inhuman punishment meted out to the nationalist youth who protested the division of Bengal (VangaBhanga). Indian newspapers were not to criticize the British policy in those days and two articles titled "Has the Government lost its head ?" and "To Rule is not to wreak vengeance" appearing in Kesari landed him in jail, after a namesake trial. For the first time in British history, intellectuals in England (including the great orientalist, Max Muller) were able to convince the Government that the trial was unfair. But the second time (1908) was no different. Tilak advocated his own case and when the judgment of six years of black-waters (kalapani) imprisonment was pronounced, he gave the famous statement : " All I wish to say is that in spite of the verdict of the jury, I maintain my innocence. There are higher powers that rule the destiny of men and nations. It may be the will of Providence that the cause I represent may prosper by suffering than by remaining free"

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