Tilak belonged to an impoverished Brahman sect which, with the fall of the Peshwa dynasty, had lost its feudal landlord privileges. Tilak, who graduated from Deccan College, Pune in 1877, was among one of the first generation of Indians to receive a college education. Tilak believed that, religion and practical life are not different. According to him, to take to Sanyasa (renunciation) is not to abandon life. His dedication to humanity was a fundamental element in the Indian Nationalist movement. After graduating, Tilak taught mathematics in a private school in Pune. Later due to some philosophical disparity with the colleagues in the New School, he decided to leave the job.
In that time frame he became a journalist. He was a tough critic of the Western education system, and felt that it demeaned the Indian students and insulted India's heritage. He organised the Deccan Education Society with a few of his college friends, including Mahadev Ballal Namjoshi, Gopal Ganesh Agarkar, and Vishnu Krishna Chiplunkar whose goal was to progress the quality of education for India's youth. Tilak also co-founded two newspapers, the Kesari and the Maratha. The Deccan Education Society was set up to generate a new system that taught young Indians nationalist ideas through a stress on Indian culture. Tilak started a mass movement towards independence that was disguised by an emphasis on a religious and cultural restoration. He taught Mathematics at Fergusson College.
Bal Gangadhar Tilak joined the Indian National Congress in 1890 thus embarking on a full time political career.