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Contributions of Bal Gangadhar Tilak to the Indian Freedom Struggle | Indian History | General Studies I

 Table of Contents:

  • About Bal Gangadhar Tilak 
  • Contributions of Bal Gangadhar Tilak to the Indian Freedom Struggle
  • Illustrate the contributions of Nationalist leader Bal Gangadhar Tilak in the struggle for the freedom of the Press.  ( UPPSC 2022)

About Bal Gangadhar Tilak:

Bal Gangadhar Tilak also known as Lokmanya Tilak, was a prominent Indian nationalist, social reformer, and freedom fighter during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was infamously known as “The father of the Indian unrest”.

Here are some key points about him:

Early Life: 

Bal Gangadhar Tilak was born on July 23, 1856, in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra, India.


Bal Gangadhar Tilak was a prolific writer and journalist. He founded newspapers like "Kesari" in Marathi and "The Maratha" in English, through which he propagated nationalist ideas and criticized British colonial policies.

Bal Gangadhar Tilak's Political life: 

Tilak's political life can be divided into three phases: social reform, militant nationalism, and constructive work.

Social Reformer: 

In the initial phase of his political life, he worked for social reforms, particularly advocating for education for the masses and the eradication of the caste system.

Militant Nationalism: 

Tilak later shifted towards militant nationalism and played a significant role in the Swadeshi Movement and the promotion of civil disobedience against British rule.

Swaraj and Ganesh Chaturthi: 

Bal Gangadhar Tilak popularized the slogan "Swaraj is my birthright, and I shall have it." He also encouraged the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi as a public festival to foster unity and nationalist spirit.


Bal Gangadhar Tilak's emphasis on self-reliance and self-governance left a lasting impact on the Indian nationalist movement.


Bal Gangadhar Tilak passed away on August 1, 1920, but his ideas and legacy continued to inspire future generations of freedom fighters.


Tilak is remembered with great respect in India, and his birthday, July 23, is celebrated as Lokmanya Tilak Jayanti. He is often regarded as one of the key architects of India's struggle for independence.

Contributions of Bal Gangadhar Tilak to the Indian Freedom Struggle:

Bal Gangadhar Tilak made significant contributions to the Indian freedom struggle through his unwavering dedication and leadership. 

Here are some of his key contributions to Bal Gangadhar Tilak in the Indian Freedom Struggle:

Promotion of Nationalism: 

Bal Gangadhar Tilak played a pivotal role in promoting a sense of nationalism among the Indian masses. He believed in the concept of "Swaraj" (self-rule) and popularized the slogan "Swaraj is my birthright, and I shall have it." His writings and speeches ignited the spirit of freedom and self-determination.

Swadeshi Movement: 

Bal Gangadhar Tilak was a leading figure in the Swadeshi Movement, which encouraged Indians to boycott British goods and promote indigenous products. This movement aimed to make India economically self-reliant and was a powerful tool in the struggle for independence.

Ganesh Chaturthi: 

Bal Gangadhar Tilak saw festivals as an opportunity to unite people for the nationalist cause. He played a key role in transforming Ganesh Chaturthi from a private family celebration into a public event with processions and speeches. This celebration fostered a sense of community and nationalism among the people.

Leadership in Congress: 

Bal Gangadhar Tilak was a prominent leader in the Indian National Congress. He served as President of the Indian National Congress in 1903 and 1910. His presidency marked a shift towards more assertive and militant tactics in the fight for independence.

Education and Awareness: 

Bal Gangadhar Tilak believed that education was essential for empowerment and social reform. He worked to spread education among the masses and used his newspapers, "Kesari" and "The Maratha," to educate and raise awareness about political and social issues.

Legal Defense: 

Bal Gangadhar Tilak defended many freedom fighters and nationalists in British courts, providing them with legal support and representation.


Illustrate the contributions of Nationalist leader Bal Gangadhar Tilak in the struggle for the freedom of the Press.

(UPPSC Mains General Studies-I/GS- 2021)


Bal Gangadhar Tilak, a prominent nationalist leader during India's struggle for independence, made significant contributions to the freedom of the press. 

Here are some of the notable contributions of Bal Gangadhar Tilak for the freedom of the Press.

Founding Kesari and Maratha newspapers: 

Bal Gangadhar Tilak founded two influential newspapers, Kesari (in Marathi) and Maratha (in English). Through these publications, he disseminated nationalist ideas, criticized British policies, and mobilized public opinion in favor of Indian self-rule.

Promotion of Vernacular Press: 

Bal Gangadhar Tilak recognized the importance of vernacular newspapers in reaching a wider Indian audience. Kesari, published in Marathi, played a crucial role in awakening regional sentiments and fostering a sense of unity among Marathi-speaking people.

Editorial Stance: 

In his newspapers, Bal Gangadhar Tilak fearlessly criticized British colonial policies and advocated for the rights and welfare of the Indian masses. He used the press as a powerful medium to expose injustices and mobilize public opinion against British rule.

Defense of Freedom of Expression: 

When the British attempted to suppress freedom of speech and the press through measures like the Vernacular Press Act of 1878, Tilak fiercely opposed these restrictions. He argued that freedom of expression was a fundamental right essential for a functioning democracy.

Nationalistic Editorials: 

Bal Gangadhar Tilak's editorials in Kesari and Maratha inspired a generation of Indians to take pride in their heritage, culture, and history. He emphasized the importance of self-reliance and self-governance, laying the ideological foundation for the independence movement.

Public Awareness: 

Bal Gangadhar Tilak's writings were not limited to political issues alone; he also wrote on social and cultural matters. His articles and speeches contributed to raising public awareness about the need for political and social reforms.

Educational Initiatives: 

Bal Gangadhar Tilak believed in the power of education to foster national consciousness. He promoted education and encouraged the youth to become politically aware and active through his writings.

Mass Mobilization: 

Through his newspapers, Tilak connected with a broad readership and mobilized the masses for various nationalist causes, including the Swadeshi Movement and the boycott of British goods.

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