(Last Updated on : 11/07/2012)
Bal Gangadhar Tilak's association with the Indian National Congress
goes back a long way in the year 1890. The moment he joined hands with the Congress he became an active member of the same. He also opposed his moderate attitude, especially towards struggle for self and independent government. He was mostly importantly one of the popular radical leaders of the time.
He was a member of the Congress who was, personally, strongly opposed to early marriages. Tilak also opposed the Age of Consent Bill 1891 viewing it as an interference with Hinduism and a dangerous precedent. The act rose the age at which a girl could get married from 10 to 12 years.
In the late 1896, a plague epidemic spread from Mumbai
and by late 1897 it reached a stage of epidemic. In effort to stop or suppress the epidemic and also prevent the same from spreading, it was actually decided to take drastic step by the Special Plague Committee (that was set up).
Bal Gangadhar Tilak
took up the cause of the people by actually publishing articles in his paper named Kesari that were inflammatory, quoting the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita
, to say that no blame could be attached to anyone who killed an oppressor without any thought of reward.
Following this incident, on 22nd June 1897, Rand and another British officer, Lt Ayerst was also killed by Chapekar brothers and their own associates. Tilk was charged of criminal offence, with incitement to murder and was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment. When he was released from prison he became a national hero. He adopted a new and patriotic slogan, "Swaraj (self-rule) is my birthright and I shall have it."
With the Partition of Bengal 1905
, a ploy adopted by Lord Curzon
to slacken the National Movement, Tilak encouraged Swadeshi movement and the Boycott movement. The movement of boycott actually consisted of boycotting the use of British goods and also social boycott of any Indian who used foreign goods.
The main principle of Swadeshi Movement
actually consisted of the usage of goods produced by oneself or in Indian soil
. Therefore, Tilak rightly said that the Boycott movements and Swadeshi are the two sides of same coin.
Bal Gangadhar Tilak strongly opposed the views and thoughts of the moderates like Gopal Krishna Gokhale
, and was well supported by fellow Indian nationalists like Bipin Chandra Pal
in Bengal and Lala Lajpat Rai
in the Indian state
. As a result the trio were referred to as Lal-Bal-Pal triumvirate.
In the year 1907, the annual session of the Congress Party was held in Surat
. Problems broke out between the extremists and moderates factions of the party of selection of the new President of Congress.
The party split into the "Jahal matavadi" ("Hot Faction" or extremists), led by Tilak, Pal and Lala Lajpat Rai
, and the "Maval matavadi" ("Soft Faction" or moderates). Nationalists like Aurobindo Ghosh
were Tilak supporters.