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Bal Gangadhar Tilak

(1856—1920) Indian nationalist and journalist


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(1856–1920)

A Maharastrian brahmin who became one of the chief political agitators on behalf of Hindu Nationalism and a swift end to British rule. He propagated his views through the editorship of Kesarī, a Marathi newspaper, and was imprisoned three times by the British on charges that included sedition. He published two books in English, attempting to prove the prehistoric origins of the Vedas, but probably his most widely read and influential work (written while exiled in Burma) was his Marathi commentary on the Bhagavadgītā, the Gītārahasya (1915; English trans., 1936). According to this, Kṛṣṇa's teaching was a call for the restoration of Hindu dharma through violent political action. Tilak also promoted and expanded the annual Maharastrian Ganeśa Catūrthi festival as an opportunity for the large-scale public expression of Hindu nationalist sentiments, and inaugurated a festival in honour of the Marāṭhā Hindu king, Śivajī.

Subjects: Religion


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