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Tilak, Bal Gangadhar

Bal Gangadhar Tilak (bäl gŭng´gədär tē´läk), 1856–1920, Indian nationalist leader. He was a journalist in Pune, and in his newspapers, the Marathi-language Kesari [lion] and the English-language Mahratta, he set forth his nationalist ideals. He sought a Hindu revival based on Maratha traditions and independence [swaraj] from Britain. After the Indian National Congress was founded (1885), Tilak became the acknowledged leader of the extreme wing. He fought the moderate measures of Gopal Krishna Gokhale and advocated resistance to British rule; he was arrested (1897) by the British and imprisoned for 18 months. In 1907 a split took place in the Congress, and Tilak led his extremist wing out of the party. The next year he was again imprisoned, this time for six years. Unlike Mohandas Gandhi, he welcomed the Montagu-Chelmsford Report (1918), which conceded a substantial measure of self-rule.

See biographies by T. V. Parvate (1959) and R. Gopal (1965); S. A. Wolpert, Tilak and Gokhale (1962); G. V. Saroja, Tilak and Sankara on Bhagvad Gita (1985).

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Tilak, Bāl Gangādhar

Tilak, Bāl Gangādhar (1856–1920). Indian politician and patriot, who perceived the importance of religion in political matters, especially in relation to self-government. For his forthright articles in 1908, he was deported to Mandalay for six years. In prison in Mandalay he wrote his famous book Srimad Bhagavad Gītā Rahasya (The True Import of the Gītā), which saw ‘the religion of the Gītā, combining spiritual knowledge, devotion and action’ as the foundation of India's revival. Tilak died on 1 Aug. 1920, and because the people came in such large numbers to pay their last respects to the national hero, the cremation took place at Chowpati Beach, Bombay.

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