Context: On the occasion of the birth anniversaries of great freedom fighters - Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Chandra Shekhar Azad, the Vice President of India paid rich tributes to them.

More on the news:

  • Both Lokmanya Tilak and Chandrashekhar Azad, played pioneering and inspiring roles in shaping India’s struggle for independence.

Bal Gangadhar Tilak (1856-1920):

  • Tilak was a scholar, mathematician, philosopher, journalist, a social reformer and a fierce nationalist. He was conferred upon the title, “Lokmanya” (beloved leader) by his followers.
  • As a nationalist:
    • As a radical nationalist, Tilak was called as the ‘father of the Indian unrest’ by the British author Sir Valentine Chirol.
    • Tilak was among the first and strongest advocates of ‘Swaraj’ (self-rule).  
    • His famous declaration “Swaraj is my birth right, and I shall have it” served as a powerful clarion call to the future revolutionaries of India’s struggle for independence.
    • By transforming household festivals such as worship of Lord Ganesha into grand public events like the Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav, Tilak galvanized the national spirit and took it beyond the circle of educated elite.
    • During his lifetime he had been tried for Sedition Charges three times by British India Government - in 1897, 1909, and 1916.
    • Tilak along with other extremist leaders like Bipin Chandra Pal and Lala Lajpat Rai were popularly known as ‘Lal-Bal-Pal’.
    • Associated with organizations: 
      • He joined the Indian National Congress Party in the year 1890.
      • He also helped found the All India Home Rule League in 1916–18, with G. S. Khaparde and Annie Besant and started his Home Rule League in Maharashtra, Central Provinces, and Karnataka and Berar region. 
      • In 1916 he concluded the Lucknow Pact with Mohammed Ali Jinnah, which provided for Hindu-Muslim unity in the nationalist struggle.
    • His works: 
      • The two weekly newspapers owned and edited by Lokmanya Tilak - Kesari and The Mahratta, were prominent in awakening the political consciousness of the people.
      • When Bal Gangadhar Tilak was imprisoned during the freedom struggle, he wrote a book titled ‘Gita-Rahasya’.
  • As an educationist:
    • Tilak was a strong believer in educating the masses.
    • As a founding father of the Deccan Education Society created in 1884, Tilak saw education as a force multiplier in the dissemination of the ideas of democracy and liberalism. 
    • The Society established the Fergusson College in 1885 for post-secondary studies. Tilak taught mathematics at Fergusson College.

Chandra Shekhar Azad:

  • A great patriot known for his valour and selflessness, Chandra Shekhar Azad was drawn into the Indian national movement at a very young age.
  • As a mentor, philosopher and guide to a number of young freedom fighters, including Bhagat Singh, Azad became one of the most inspirational youth leaders of the freedom movement.
  • His supreme leadership skills and organizational ability helped him reorganize HRA as Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HRSA) and strengthen it.
  • As a revolutionary:
    • Azad, a 15 year old student joined the Non-Cooperation Movement in December 1921 and was arrested. The Jallianwala Bagh tragedy which took place in 1919, inspired him to join the movement.

Involved in the Kakori Train Robbery of 1925, in the attempt to blow up the Viceroy of India’s train in 1926, and at last the shooting of J. P. Saunders at Lahore in 1928 to avenge the killing of Lala Lajpat Rai.


Image Source: Ndtv