Editor – “The public celebration of the Ganapati festival -- Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav -- was started by Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak in 1893. By reviving an old institution like the Ganapati festival and transforming it into a public celebration, Tilak sought to, and succeeded, in challenging the decade plus monopoly of the moderate-liberal leaders who had set the agenda for social and political reforms in the country. As N.R.Inamdar, a political scientist and historian, writing on the political ideas of Tilak in the book Political Thought in Modern India (Edited by Thomas Pantham and Kenneth L Deutsch, Sage Publications, 1986), explains: "To Tilak, a feeling of oneness among the people and pride in their country's heritage were the vital forces of nationalism. He believed that fostering among the people the feeling that they have common interests to be pursued and realised through united political action could develop nationalism. This idealistic and romantic conception of nationalism did inspire and united the de-spirited and divided people of India. Tilak referred to Akbar and Shivaji as illustrious rulers who forged national unity across regional, religious and caste barriers." To know more see link 3 below.
Today it has become a major celebration all over Maharashtra and in other States as well. Notwithstanding its commercialization by some, the festival is full of faith, devotion, color, happiness and music. It unites people as none other. I know of a number of non-Maharashtrian friends who get Ganesha home during Ganesh Chaturthi.
“Tilak was a fierce advocate of swarajya (self-rule) and his famous quote, "Swarajya is my birthright, and I shall have it!" is well-remembered even today”. I recall these words so often esp. when Governments are introducing one law after another in an attempt to over regulate our freedom.
“Tilak had been aware of the corrupting and stultifying effect of British-inspired education on the Indian mind. Gandhiji said the same thing years later. To know how the British killed the Indian educational system read Dharampal’s work, see link 2 below.
Tilak emphasized that an underdeveloped country like ours can progress through education. Do read Geeta Rahasya by Tilak, see link 1 below.
I strongly recommend that you read this book on Tilak.
We present excerpts from the book authored by Gayatri Pagdi. Chapter two is ‘Teachers and Students’ and chapter six is ‘Theatre Lovers’. See attached PDF file.
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1. To read Tilak’s Geeta Rahasya
2. Indigenous Education in the 18th century by Dharampal
3. Lokmany Tilak and Ganesha Festival
4. Did Gandhi’s Ahimsa get India freedom
5. Freedom did not come at midnight