Tilak, Bal Gangadhar

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

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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