Monday, December 26, 2011

Bal Gangadhar Tilak (contd-2)

 Life after prison
Tilak had mellowed after his release in June 1914, more because of the diabetes and hardship in Mandalay prison. When World war I started in August, Tilak, cabled the King-Emperor in Britain of his support and turned his oratory to find new recruits for war efforts. He welcomed The Indian Councils Act, popularly known as Minto-Morley Reforms which had been passed by British parliament in May 1909 terming it as ‘a marked increase of confidence between the Rulers and the Ruled’. Acts of violence actually retarded than hastened the pace of political reforms, he felt. He was eager for reconciliation with Congress and had abandoned his demand for direct action and settled for agitations ‘strictly by constitutional means’ - a line advocated by his rival Gopal Krishna Gokhale. Tilak saw the spark in Gandhi and tried his best to convince Gandhi to leave the idea of "Total Ahinsa" and try to get "Swarajya" by all means. Gandhi though looked upon him as his guru, did do not change his mind.

 All India Home Rule League
Later, Tilak re-united with his fellow nationalists and re-joined the Indian National Congress in 1916. He also helped found the All India Home Rule League in 1916-18 with G. S. Khaparde and Muhammad Ali Jinnah. After years of trying to reunite the moderate and radical factions, he gave up and focused on the Home Rule League, which sought self-rule. Tilak travelled from village to village trying to conjure up support from farmers and locals to join the movement towards self-rule. Tilak was impressed by the Russian Revolution, and expressed his admiration for Lenin.
Tilak, who started his political life as a Maratha propagandist, progressed into a prominent nationalist after his close association with Indian nationalists following the partition of Bengal. When asked in Calcutta whether he envisioned a Maratha type of government for Free India, Tilak replied that the Maratha dominated Governments of 17th and 18th centuries were outmoded in the 20th century and he wanted a genuine federal system for Free India where every religion and race was an equal partner. He added that only such a form of Government would be able to safeguard India's freedom. He was the first Congress leader to suggest that Hindi written in the Devanagari script be accepted as the sole national language of India.
 Social contribution
In 1894, Tilak transformed household worshipping of Ganesha into Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav and he also made Shiva Jayanti(birth anniversary celebrations of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj) as a social festival. Gopal Ganesh Agarkar was the first editor of Kesari, a prominent Marathi weekly in his days which was started by Lokmanya Tilak in 1880-81. G Lokmanya Tilak, established the Shri Shivaji Raigad Smarak Mandal along with Senapati Khanderao Dabhade IInd of Talegaon Dabhade, who became the Founder President of the Mandal. In 1895, Tilak founded the Shri Shivaji Fund Committee for celebration of 'Shiv Punya Tithi' and for the reconstruction of the Samadhi of Shivaji Maharaj at Fort Raigad.
Tilak said, "I regard India as my Motherland and my Goddess, the people in India my kith and kin, and loyal and steadfast work for their political and social emancipation my highest religion and duty"
In 1903, he wrote the book The Arctic Home in the Vedas. In it he argued that the Vedas could only have been composed in the Arctics, and the Aryan bards brought them south after the onset of the last Ice age. He proposed the radically new way to determine the exact time of Vedas. He tried to calculate the time of Vedas by using the position of different Nakshatras. Positions of Nakshtras were described in different Vedas.
Tilak also authored 'Shrimadbhagwadgeetarahasya' - the analysis of 'Karmayoga' in the Bhagavadgita, which is known to be gift of the Vedas and the Upanishads.
Other collections of his writings include:
The Hindu philosophy of life, ethics and religion (published in 1887).
Vedic chronology and vedanga jyotisha.
Letters of Lokamanya Tilak, edited by M. D. Vidwans.
Selected documents of Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, 1880–1920, edited by Ravindra Kumar.
Jedhe Shakawali (Editor)
He also wrote a book named 'Oorayan' when he was imprisoned at Mandalay in Burma.
Praised by government
In 2007, the Government of India released a coin to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Bal Gangadhar Tilak