Wednesday, March 2, 2011

बाळ गंगाधर टिळक

Bal Gangadhar Tilak ( Keshav Gangadhar Tilak) 23 July 1856(1856-07-23)–1 August 1920(1920-08-01) (aged 64), was an Indian nationalist, teacher, social reformer and independence fighter who was the first popular leader of the Indian Independence Movement. The British colonial authorities derogatorily called the great leader as "Father of the Indian unrest". He was also conferred with the honorary title of Lokmanya, which literally means "Accepted by the people (as their leader)". Tilak was one of the first and strongest advocates of "Swaraj" (self-rule) in Indian consciousness. His famous quote, "Swaraj is my birthright, and I shall have it!" is well-remembered in India even today.

Early life

Tilak was born at Chummakachu Lane (Ranjani Aalee) in Chikhalgaon, Ratnagiri, Maharashtra to a Chitpavan Brahmin family. His father was a famous schoolteacher and a Sanskrit scholar who died when Tilak was sixteen. His brilliance rubbed off on young Tilak, who graduated from Deccan College, Pune in 1877. Tilak was among one of the first generation of Indians to receive a college education.[1]

Tilak was expected, as was the tradition then, to actively participate in public affairs. He believed that “Religion and practical life are not different. To take to Sanyasa (renunciation) is not to abandon life. The real spirit is to make the country your family instead of working only for your own. The step beyond is to serve humanity and the next step is to serve God.” This dedication to humanity would be a fundamental element in the Indian Nationalist movement.[2]

After graduating, Tilak began teaching mathematics in a private school in Pune. Later due to some ideological differences with the colleagues in the New School, he decided to withdraw from that activity. About that time he became a journalist. He was a strong critic of the Western education system, feeling it demeaned the Indian students and disrespected India's heritage. He organized the Deccan Education Society with a few of his college friends, including Gopal Ganesh Agarkar, Mahadev Ballal Namjoshi and Vishnu Krishna Chiplunkar whose goal was to improve the quality of education for India's youth. The Deccan Education Society was set up to create a new system that taught young Indians nationalist ideas through an emphasis on Indian culture.[3] Tilak began a mass movement towards independence that was camouflaged by an emphasis on a religious and cultural revival.[4] He taught Mathematics at Fergusson College.

Political career

Indian National Congress

Tilak joined the Indian National Congress in 1890. He opposed its moderate attitude, especially towards the fight for self government. He was one of the most eminent radicals at the time.

In 1891 Tilak opposed the Age of Consent bill. The act raised the age at which a girl could get married from 10 to 12. The Congress and other liberals supported it, but Tilak was set against it, terming it an interference with Hinduism. A plague epidemic spread from Mumbai to Pune in late 1896, and by January 1897, it reached epidemic proportions. In order to suppress the epidemic and prevent its spread, it was decided to take drastic action, accordingly a Special Plague Committee, with jurisdiction over Pune city, its suburbs and Pune cantonment was appointed under the Chairmanship of W. C. Ranade, I. C. S, Assistant Collector of Pune by way of a government order dated 8 March 1897. On 12 March 1897, 893 officers and men both British and native, under command of a Major Paget of the Durham Light Infantry were placed on plague duty. By the end of May the epidemic had ebbed and the military action was gradually ended. In his report on the administration of the Pune plague, Rand wrote, "It is a matter of great satisfaction to the members of the Plague Committee that no credible complaint that the modesty of a woman had been intentionally insulted was made either to themselves or to the officers under whom the troops worked". He also writes that closest watch was kept on the troops employed on plague duty and utmost consideration was shown for the customs and traditions of the people.An account based on local Indian sources writes that the appointment of military officers introduced an element of severity and coercion in the house searches, the highhandedness of the government provoked the people of Pune and some soldiers were beaten in Rastapeth locality. It quotes Kelkar[nb 1] on the conduct of British soldiers, "Either, through ignorance or impudence, they would mock, indulge in monkey tricks, talk foolishly, intimidate, touch innocent people, shove them, enter any place without justification, pocket valuable items, etc.."[6] Tilak took up the people's cause by publishing inflammatory articles in his paper Kesari, 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, on 22 June, Rand and another British officer Lt. Ayerst were shot and killed by the Chapekar brothers and their other associates. Tilak was charged with incitement to murder and sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment. When he emerged from prison, he was revered as a martyr and a national hero and adopted a new slogan, "Swaraj (Self-Rule) is my birth right and I shall have it."

Following the partition of Bengal in 1905, which was a strategy set out by Lord Curzon to weaken the nationalist movement, Tilak encouraged a boycott, regarded as the Swadeshi movement.[7]

Tilak opposed the moderate views of Gopal Krishna Gokhale, and was supported by fellow Indian nationalists Bipin Chandra Pal in Bengal and Lala Lajpat Rai in Punjab. They were referred to as the Lal-Bal-Pal triumvirate. In 1907, the annual session of the Congress Party was held at Surat (Gujarat). Trouble broke out between the moderate and the extremist factions of the party over the selection of the new president of the Congress. The party split into the "Jahal matavadi" ("Hot Faction," or extremists), led by Tilak, Pal and Lajpat Rai, and the "Maval matavadi"("Soft Faction," or moderates). The radicals like Aurobindo Ghose were Tilak supporters.


On 30 April 1908 two Bengali youths, Prafulla Chaki and Khudiram Bose, threw a bomb on a carriage at Muzzafarpur in order to kill the Chief Presidency Magistrate Douglas Kingsford of Calcutta fame, but erroneously killed some women travelling in it. While Chaki committed suicide when caught, Bose was tied and hanged. Tilak in his paper Kesari defended the revolutionaries and called for immediate Swaraj or Self-rule. The Government swiftly arrested him for sedition. He asked a young Muhammad Ali Jinnah to represent him. But the British judge convicted him and he was imprisoned from 1908 to 1914 in the Mandalay Prison, Burma.[8] While imprisoned, he continued to read and write, further developing his ideas on the Indian Nationalist movement. While in the prison he wrote the famous "Gita Rahasya". Lots of copies of which were sold and the money was donated for the freedom fighting.Much has been said of his trial of 1908, it being the most historic trial. His last words on the verdict of the Jury were such: "In spite of the verdict of the Jury, I maintain that I am innocent. There are higher powers that rule the destiny of men and nations and it may be the will of providence that the cause which I represent may prosper more by my suffering than by my remaining free". These words now can be seen imprinted on the wall of Room. No. 46 at Bombay High Court.

Life after prison

Tilak had mellowed after his release in June 1914, more because of the diabetes and hardship in Mandalay prison. When World war I started in August, Tilak, cabled the King-Emperor in Britain of his support and turned his oratory to find new recruits for war efforts. He welcomed The Indian Councils Act, popularly known as Minto-Morley Reforms which had been passed by British parliament in May 1909 terming it as ‘a marked increase of confidence between the Rulers and the Ruled’. Acts of violence actually retarded than hastened the pace of political reforms, he felt. He was eager for reconciliation with Congress and had abandoned his demand for direct action and settled for agitations ‘strictly by constitutional means’ - a line advocated by his rival Gopal Krishna Gokhale. Tilak saw the spark in Gandhi and tried his best to convince Gandhi to leave the idea of "total Ahimsa" and try to get "Swarajya" by all means. Gandhi though looked upon him as his guru, did not change his mind.

All India Home Rule League

Later, Tilak re-united with his fellow nationalists and re-joined the Indian National Congress in 1916. He also helped found the All India Home Rule League in 1916-18 with Joseph Baptista, Annie Besant, G. S. Khaparde and Muhammad Ali Jinnah. After years of trying to reunite the moderate and radical factions, he gave up and focused on the Home Rule League, which sought self-rule. Tilak travelled from village to village trying to conjure up support from farmers and locals to join the movement towards self-rule.[8] Tilak was impressed by the Russian Revolution, and expressed his admiration for Lenin.[9]

Tilak, who started his political life as a Maratha protagonist, during his later part of life progressed into a prominent nationalist after his close association with Indian nationalists following the partition of Bengal. When asked in Calcutta whether he envisioned a Maratha type of government for Free India, Tilak replied that the Maratha dominated Governments of 17th and 18th centuries were outmoded in 20th century and he wanted a genuine federal system for Free India where every religion and race were equal partners. He added that only such a form of Government would be able to safeguard India's freedom. He was the first Congress leader to suggest that Hindi written in the devanagari script, should be accepted as the sole national language of India.

Social contribution

In 1894, Tilak transformed household worshipping of Ganesha into Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav and he also made Shiva Jayanti(birth anniversary celebrations of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj) as a social festival. It is touted to be an effective demonstration of festival procession. Gopal Ganesh Agarkar was the first editor of Kesari, a prominent Marathi weekly in his days which was started by Lokmanya Tilak in 1880-81. Gopal Ganesh Agarkar subsequently left Kesari out of ideological differences with Bal Gangadhar Tilak concerning the primacy of political reforms versus social reforms, and Gopal Ganesh Agarkar started his own periodical Sudharak.He often said, "I regard India as my Motherland and my Goddess,the people in India my kith and kin, and loyal and steadfast work for their political and social emancipation my highest religion and duty"[10]

Later years and legacy

After Tilak’s death on August 1, 1920, on the first day of Gandhi’s first non-cooperation campaign,[8] Gandhi paid his respects at his cremation in Mumbai, along with 200 thousand people. Gandhi called Tilak "The Maker of Modern India"[11]. To that effect, perhaps Tilak's personality bore resemblance to that of Benjamin Franklin. Both were early activists in independence movements of their respective countries. Both were multi-faceted (while Tilak was accomplished as a teacher, editor and dabbled in scientific thought, Franklin's technological contributions besides political thought are well-known), talented and contributed in shaping a modern identity of the group of people that they belonged to. It is conceivable that Tilak was aware of Benjamin Franklin's contribution to the American Revolution and culture during his time. Most importantly, both strove to achieve self-discipline, highly ethical and moral behavior deriving from their religious and cultural backgrounds while also modifying the same to suit modern sensibilities of the time. Franklin's thirteen virtues are well known. Tilak exhibited and worked towards achieving personal, moral, ethical, mental and physical strength by practicing what seemed necessary to him at the time.

The court which convicted Tilak bears a plaque that says, "The actions of Tilak has been justified as the right of every individual to fight for his country. Those two convictions have gone into oblivion -- oblivion reserved by history for all unworthy deeds".


In 1903, he wrote the book The Arctic Home in the Vedas. In it he argued that the Vedas could only have been composed in the Arctics, and the Aryan bards brought them south after the onset of the last Ice age. He proposed the radically new way to determine the exact time of Vedas. He tried to calculate the time of Vedas by using the position of different Nakshatras. Positions of Nakshtras were described in different Vedas.

Tilak also authored 'Shrimadbhagwadgeetarahasya' - the analysis of 'Karmayoga' in the Bhagavadgita, which is known to be gist of the Vedas and the Upanishads.

Other collections of his writings include:

  • The Hindu philosophy of life, ethics and religion (published in 1887).
  • Vedic chronology and vedanga jyotisha.
  • Letters of Lokamanya Tilak, edited by M. D. Vidwans.
  • Selected documents of Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, 1880–1920, edited by Ravindra Kumar.
  • Jedhe Shakawali (Editor)


    1. ^ Bal Gangadhar Tilak Biography - Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak Indian Freedom Fighter - Bal Gangadhar Tilak History - Information on Bal Gangadhar Tilak
    2. ^ D. Mackenzie Brown. “The Philosophy of Bal Gangadhar Tilak: Karma vs. Jnana in the Gita Rahasya.” Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 17, no. 3. (Ann Arbor: Association for Asian Studies, 1958), 204.
    3. ^ D. D. Karve, “The Deccan Education Society” The Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 20, no. 2 (Ann Arbor: Association for Asian Studies, 1961), 206-207.
    4. ^ Michael Edwardes, A History of India (New York: Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, 1961), 322.
    5. ^ team. "Associates in Hindutva Movement: Narsimha Chintaman or Tatyasaheb Kelkar". Retrieved 2009, July 11.
    6. ^ Joglekar, Jayawant D. (2006). Veer Savarkar Father of Hindu Nationalism. pp. 27. ISBN 1847283802.
    7. ^ Ranbir Vohra, The Making of India: A Historical Survey (Armonk: M.E. Sharpe, Inc, 1997), 120
    8. ^ a b c Encyclopedia of Asian History. “Tilak, Bal Gangadhar,” (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons And Macmillian Publishing Company 1988), 98.
    9. ^ M.V.S. Koteswara Rao. Communist Parties and United Front - Experience in Kerala and West Bengal. Hyderabad: Prajasakti Book House, 2003. p. 82
    10. ^ Minor Robert(1986) Modern Indian Interpreters of the Bhagavad Gita. State University of NY press. ISBN 0-88706-298-9
    11. ^ britannica biography of Tilak

Friday, February 25, 2011

History of Origins

Chitpavan's have certain different physical characteristics which are distinctly Caucasian, hence some people dream that Chitpavan's have their origins in some Nordic country. The truth, is lost in the mist of times gone by. The stories handed down by older generations about the origins are given below :
The present day Chitpavan Brahmins have descended from Sage Parshurama (born 5000 B.C). The story of creation goes as follows :
Parshurama was the son of Jamadagni and Renuka who belonged to the Kshatriya, or warrior caste. He was great worshipper of Lord Shiva and a devoted son. He was blessed with parshu a kind of weapon by Lord Shiva himself. He was a master at weaponry and taught the knowledge he had to Guru Dronacharya, Karna & Arjuna.
Raja Kartavirya once burnt down the monastery of Sage Vashishti. The angry sage then cursed him that "Parshurama shall kill you". Not the one to keep away from mischief, the King stole the Holy Cow called as "Kamadhenu" from the sage. On hearing of this mischief angry Parshurama tracked the King down and killed him with his parshu. In order to avenge for their father's death the sons of the slain King killed the sage Vasishti in retaliation. This act really angered Parshurama and he pledged that "he would get rid of the Kshatriya's (the warrior caste) 21 times from the face of the earth".
And he did that. So as a penance for this horrific genocide (ethnic cleansing) he organised a very large yadnya and donated all the lands which he had acquired to Sage Kashyap. Then he left for the Mahendra mountains in southern India to meditate. After a long and severe meditation on the sea coast, he pleased Varun the Lord of Rain and asked him to grant him new land from the sea. But in vain, the sea would not retract, so in anger he put his arrow to his bow and shot it in the seaward direction. Parshurama's anger was well known even to the Gods in Heaven. Lord of Sea was terrified and requested Parshurama not to do such a deed. But who can get back a arrow which has left the bow. The sea backed off to that region where the arrow had found its mark. This new holy land was known as "Konkan".
Here on this new land Parshurama settled his fellow Brahmins, these 60 families formed the basis of original 60 surnames.

However there is another tale, which is more popular in the Sahyadri's or Desh i.e. the plateau region of Deccan which forms the major part of Maharashtra state, in modern India.

After committing the genocide of the Kshatriya's, Parshurama had committed worst kind of sin. In order to get salvation for this act he had make very large offerings to the Gods by prayers and worship (pooja). Parshurama was known for his legendary anger and capabilities, thus other Brahmins were not ready to be associated with his functions. Hence the prayers would have been without the official sanction of other learned Brahmins.

As fate would be, at that very moment Parshurama saw 14 dead bodies floating in the sea. Parshurama purified the dead bodies on the funeral pyre and brought them back to life. These fourteen men formed the basis of 14 Gotra's of the Chitpavan Brahmins. Afterwards they were settled by Parshurama by reclaiming the land from the sea.

In Sanskrit the rich language of ancient India, "Chita" - means pyre and "Pavan" means pure. Since the bodies were brought back to life on a pyre and were purified hence they would be called as CHITAPAVAN meaning those who were purified by fire. And since Parshurama was responsible for their new life, they would be brahmins like him.



Konkan Railway map

Konkan Railway map

Dr. Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidypeeth

Maharashtra is richly endowed with outstanding agricultural research & educational institutions both in the public & private sectors. It has diverse agro climatic & soil patterns. Given a proper synergy between technology & public policy, rapid progress can be made in improving the productivity, profitability, stability & sustainability of major farming systems of the state as evident from Maharashtra's horticulture revolution.

Konkan is the part of Western Ghat of Maharashtra having favorable agricultural climate of tropics, geographically the hilly region with long coastal sea shore gifted with long rice culture, horticultural potential and the coastal agro-aqua farming. For the agricultural development of konkan region, Maharashtra Govt. established an independent Agriculture University on 18th May, 1972 named “Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth” with its head quarters at Dapoli, District Ratnagiri, Maharashtra State, India. On 12th February. 2001, “Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth” has been renamed as “Dr. Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidypeeth.
Dr. Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidypeeth is having jurisdiction of five district of Maharashtra viz. Brihan-Mumbai, Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri & Sindhudurg districts of Maharashtra state. The major objective of the university is agricultural education, research & extension education in an integrated way to attain the sustainable agricultural development of Konkan region.
Dr. Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidypeeth


In 1731 Ratnagiri (रत्नागिरी) came under the control of Satara kings; in 1818 it was surrendered to the british. A fort was built during the Bijapur dynasty and strengthened in 1670 by the Maratha king Shivaji, which is located on a headland near the harbour. It is one of the ports of the konkan coast. It has a palace where the last king of Burma, Thibaw and later Veer Savarkar were confined.
It is also believed that the Pandavas having performed their pilgrimage on the 13th year had settled in the adjourning territory of the Ratnagiri district and when the Pandavas and the Kauravas had the famous war at Kuruskshetra, the king of this region Veeravat Ray had accompanied them there.
Ratnagiri (रत्नागिरी) district is located in the southwestern part of Maharashtra State on the Arabian Sea coast. The sorrounding area is bordered by the Sahyadri Hills on the East and Arabian Sea on the West. It forms a part of the greater tract known as Konkan. This region was under the rule of the Mauryas, the Nalas, the Silaharas, the Chalukyas, the Kadambas, the Portuguese, the Marathas and subsequently the British. In 1948 the independent princely state of Sawantwadi was merged with the Indian union and in 1956 with Bombay Province. In 1960 with the creation of Maharashtra, Ratnagiri became a district. In 1981 Ratnagiri district was bifurcated and the new district of Sindhudurg was created.
Ratnagiri has nine tahsils ; Mandangad, Dapoli, Khed, Chiplun, Guhagar, Sangameshwar, Ratnagiri, Lanja and Rajapur. Chief rivers in Ratnagiri are the Shastri, Bor, Muchkundi, Kajali.
Ratnagiri is the district headquarters. It is the birth place of Lokmanya Tilak and many other eminent personalities.
Ratnagiri is noted for the delicious golden Haapus हापुस [Alphonso] mangos. The heavy rainfall results into highly eroded landscape in the coastal region. Fertile alluvial valleys produce rice and coconut as the main crops; fruits and cashewnut cultivation is being promoted.


The people of Ratnagiri District speak Konkani, Marathi, Hindi and English are also spoken and understand by majority of population. Ratnagiri has the distinction of being the native place of three Bharat Ratna awardees, namely Maharishi Karve, Dr. Pandurang Vaman Kane and Dr.B.R. Ambedkar.