‘स्वराज्य हा माझा जन्मसिद्ध हक्क आहे आणि तो मी मिळवणारच’ which in English translates to, “Swarajya is my birthright and I shall have it.” is not just some statement but a slogan which consists of qualities like courage, intelligence, honor and projects a vision of an independent India . Whenever I listen to this, I feel inspired from within and feel a sense of pride that I was born in this country where such great visionaries and freedom fighters existed.
A mathematician, a teacher, a social leader, a reformist, a lawyer, a journalist, a freedom fighter, a politician – Lokmanya Tilak was a multifaceted personality who contributed significantly in India’s Freedom struggle rather gave a direction to it and united people to share ideas, and fight the battle head on. The title Lokmanya (accepted by the people as their leader) was conferred upon by the people due to extensive contributions and the reforms he did.
Lokmanya Tilak was not just a freedom fighter, he was a visionary who planned ahead of his time to free India from the shackles of the British Empire. He made his own ways and fought through them. He used every resource available at hand to prove that this nation will take a revenge of whatever has been done by the British. From the unification of the members of the Indian National Congress to the founding of the Home Rule Moment, he had a voice which reached till the farthest corners of the nation, Tilak was successful in frightening the British from time to time. They tried to silence him but he came out with some weapon or the other as he eventually pushed them out of the country.
As far as the city of Pune is concerned, Bal Gangadhar Tilak holds a special place. Most of his life revolved in and around the city as his social contributions in education are still standing tall in the city. Be it the Kesari Wada where the first Newspapers were produced or prestigious colleges of prominence like Fergusson and BMCC . The Deccan Education Society has contributed a lot to the overall education scenario of the city and state. Through his vision, he created a reality for all.
As a child, when I heard stories of Veer Savarkar, Bose, Bhagat Singh, Lokmanya Tilak, I was fascinated with the approach of Bal Tilak and eventually read more about his life. From the beginning itself he was direct that the fight would require action and approached people around to rise and fight, which he believed was the only way to show the Britishers their true might.
With initiatives such as the first Ganeshotsav and Shiv Jayanti, he brought people together to celebrate and know the importance of these occasions. The unity helped to pave a way towards the freedom of the country. Lokmanya Tilak was heavily inspired by the works of Swami Vivekananda and their meeting is a special incident of narration in itself.
The newspapers, Maratha and Kesari, were tools to propagate important information and awake the Indians to stay put against the Britishers. These newspapers helped spread the necessary information about the harsh realities of the nation and helped to grab the focus of many. The fight for Swarajya only grew from here. As Bal Tilak was prosecuted of sedition, he grabbed this opportunity to present to us, the Shrimad Bhagwatgeeta Rahasya – an original exposition of the most-sacred book of the Hindus. Tilak discarded the orthodox interpretation that the Bhagavad Gita taught the ideal of renunciation; in his view it taught selfless service to humanity . Be it propagating knowledge from the Bhagwat Geeta or calculating the timeline of the Vedas, Lokmanya Tilak played a crucial role in culminating the various aspects of ancient India and presenting in front of the people to inspire them.
Stories of Bal Tilak are everywhere but Lokmanya : Ek Yug Purush , a film by Om Ruat and Subodh Bhave who has portrayed Lokmanya Tilak is truly one of the most amazing and inspiring films I have ever seen. The film shows a very true fact that, India youth is completely attracted towards the western culture and that people as Indians, don’t even know who Lokmanya Tilak was or for that matter many such great personalities who touched upon this sacred land.
It is really sad that people like Lokmanya Tilak haven’t reached the young as they should since their work and literature are some of the best tools one can use to grow oneself from the inside. His fierce nature, his intelligence, his fitness, and his spiritual knowledge were the factors because of which he could stand and fight against the British Empire. He as a personality is an ocean of inspiration as one will try to know and understand about his works.
I salute from the bottom of my heart to this great freedom fighter who instilled the thought of Swarajya in the minds of the public back then which propagated like a wildfire to eventually free us from the British Rule. The literature which he had contributed, the strategies which he used, the tools he has given away are now open for all to use and learn from.