From Struggle for Swaraj to Atmanirbhar Bharat, the legacy of the Tilak is carried forward. Examine.
Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak was perhaps the first political leader in modern India to appreciate the importance of identity issues. He realised that these could be a tool to make inroads in the minds of an otherwise docile society. Once that was done, people could be motivated to join the struggle for independence, which explains Tilak’s clarion call for swaraj and swadeshi.
Legacy of Tilak
- Striving for self-dependence, in Tilak’s strategy, was the stepping-stone for Independence. Tilak wanted to inculcate both collective thinking as well as action.
- For the cultivation of an enlightened mind, he used the media in the form of two newspapers, Kesari and Maratha, and national education through Deccan Education Society, an institute he established.
- His formula for preparing the ground for political activism through culture, education and media was so powerful that later on Mahatma Gandhi, Babasaheb Ambedkar and others adopted this path.
- Tilak belonged to the rare category of philosopher-politician. His ideas of swaraj and swadeshi were anchored in making every Indian conscious of the insults and injustice meted out by the British.
- He prepared a fertile ground for swaraj through his home-rule movement. He was clear on the aim of the home rule movement. The tone and tenor of his demand were strategically conciliatory.
- Tilak almost had a blueprint of a post-Independence India in mind. For him, swa-raj was also liked to swa-bhasha and swa-bhusha, i.e. mother tongue and indigenous attire.
- Perhaps, he was the first national leader who envisioned the formation of linguistic states.
- His idea of Swaraj was not confined to political freedom. He was conscious of the need for cultural and economic independence too.
- Swadeshi was the other important cause espoused by Tilak. Both Lala Lajpat Rai and Bipin Chandra Pal joined him in popularising the call of swadeshi nationally, which saw the emergence of the famous triumvirate of those days, popularly known as Lal, Bal and Pal.
- However, his swadeshi was not just about boycotting British goods. Although he used the tools of boycott and bonfire of British goods to provide a window for popular participation, his larger objective was promoting indigenous entrepreneurship.
Reviving the spirit of economic nationalism for indigenously manufactured goods and striving for social integration through culture are the features of Tilak’s strategy and they continue to be relevant even today.