Image: Tilak Bal Gangadhar

Bal Gangadhar Tilak (1856-1920)

Bal Gangadhar Tilak (1856-1920), Indian journalist, who was the leader of the extreme wing of the Indian National Congress and the foremost nationalist before Mohandas Gandhi. Born into a Brahman family of Ratnagiri, he was trained in law at Deccan College and later taught at the Pune English School (1880-1885) and Fergusson College (1885-1890) before becoming a full-time journalist in 1890. Tilak, a fiery nationalist, helped revive (1893) the Ganapati festival to spark patriotic fervor; he inaugurated (1895) the Shivaji festival for the same purpose. In 1897 the British imprisoned him for sedition because of his critical writings. In 1907 he organized an extreme wing of the Congress Party that demanded complete independence for India. Arrested by the British in 1908, he was again imprisoned, this time for six years. In 1916 he founded the Home Rule League to fight for his cause. His advocacy of independence was adopted by the Congress only after his death.

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