Birth Anniversary of Bal Gangadhar Tilak & Chandra Shekhar Azad . July 23 is a special day as it marks the birth anniversary of two of the most illustrious freedom fighters — Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Chandra Shekhar Azad.
We owe a lot to these great sons of our motherland, who had an unwavering commitment to the cause of India’s freedom. To build a New India, we should have role models of such stature to look up to and follow.
Key facts about these freedom fighters
Bal Gangadhar Tilak-
-He was born into a Brahmin family on July 23, 1856, in Ratnagiri (Maharashtra) as Keshav Gangadhar Tilak and died on August 1, 1920, Bombay(now Mumbai). His father, Gangadhar Tilak was a school teacher and a Sanskrit scholar who died when Tilak was sixteen.
Tilak was an English and Maths teacher in a school co-founded by him in 1880. The success of the school led to the formation of the Deccan Educational Society and Fergusson College in 1884 and 1885 respectively. The British colonial authorities called him “The father of the Indian unrest“. He was also conferred with the title of “Lokmanya“, which means “accepted by the people (as their leader)”. Tilak started two weekly newspapers, ‘Kesari’ and ‘Maratha’. ‘Kesari’ was a Marathi weekly while ‘Maratha’ was an English weekly. Tilak joined the Indian National Congress in 1890.
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 1916, he founded the Indian Home Rule League. Tilak was arrested on charges of sedition in 1906 and sentenced to six years of imprisonment in Mandalay(Burma).
“Gita-Rahasya” was written by him during six years imprisonment in Burma. He was one of the first leaders who came up with the concept of ‘Swaraj’ and made it a part of the independence movement.
Tilak urged people to encourage public unity and changed Ganesh Chaturthi into a public festival.
Tilak founded the Shri Shivaji Fund Committee for the celebration of “Shiv Jayanti”, the birth anniversary of Chhatrapati Shivaji. He gave the famous slogan – “Swaraj is my birthright and I shall have it”.
Chandra Shekhar Azad
Chandra Shekhar Azad was born on July 23, 1906 in Alirajpur district of Madhya Pradesh. His parents were Pandit Sitaram Tiwari and Jagarani Devi. In 1921, when Mahatma Gandhi launched Non-Cooperation movement, Chandrasekhar Azad actively participated in revolutionary activities.
The Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) was formed by Ram Prasad Bismil, Yogesh Chandra Chatterji, Sachindra Nath Sanyal and Shachindra Nath Bakshi in 1924. He was involved in the Kakori train robbery of 1925. He was involved in the shooting of British police office John Saunders in Lahore in 1928 to avenge the killing of Lala Lajpat Rai.
Azad and Bhagat Singh secretly reorganised the HRA as the HSRA in September 1928. On February 27, 1931, he shot himself dead with his last bullet after a shootout with police at Allahabad’s Alfred Park. Alfred Park in Allahabad, has been renamed Chandrashekhar Azad Park. His famous proclamation, ‘Dushmano Ki Goliyon Ka Saamna Hum Karenge, /Azad Hi Rahe Hain, aur Azad hi Rahenge’,
which translates into ‘I will face the bullets of the enemies, I have been free and I’ll forever be free’, is exemplary of his brand of revolution.
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