Hinduism Bal Gangadhar Tilak
by
Sukeshi Kamra
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 February 2019
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195399318-0214

Introduction

Bal Gangadhar Tilak (b. 1856–d. 1920) has been one of the Indian freedom movement’s more contentious leaders. Debates then as now have focused on questions about his brand of Hinduism, his views on violence and its relationship with history, and his involvement in the nationalist movement and the politics of identity. Questions asked are: Was he a Hindu revivalist and an anti-Muslim Hindu, or was he misinterpreted patriotic nationalist? Was he an orthodox Hindu, antisocial and antigender reform, or was he against the legislating of reform by the colonial government? Was he supportive of revolutionary violence or a pragmatist looking to historical circumstance for explanations for the presence of violence in colonial India? How do we write him into the history of the nationalist movement, as originator of a program of action that later proved powerful (boycott, swadeshi, national education, passive resistance), as a divisive figure, or both? Tilak’s many speeches and editorial articles in papers started by him for the political education of the public (the Marathi language Kesari, and the English language Mahratta, both established in 1881) have been scrutinized and argued over by both sides of the divide. Tilak is associated most, in public memory, with his famously defiant statement “Swaraj is my birthright and I shall have it,” and he is generally considered to be the first to realize the importance of a mass resistance movement. In his time, that is, he was lionized for his defiance of the colonial law on sedition both inside the courtroom and outside, starting in 1897, the year in which he was first charged with sedition. Poetry, songs, posters, drama, and essays transformed him into a nationalist icon in the world of popular nationalism. Tilak was written about much in his own time and in the decades following independence, when nationalist historiography emerged as a genre. The first contemporaneous works to be written on him were biographies, hagiographies, poetry, essays, and song lyrics, all intended to inspire and politicize the colonized. In the decades since India gained its independence, Tilak’s role in the freedom movement, his views on social reform and ideological platform, as these played out in the political arena of nationalist India, have dominated historiography, in no small part due to the Hindu right’s appropriation of Tilak for their version of nationalist historiography. Much of the Hindu right’s revisionary history is in Marathi, the language in which Tilak wrote extensively and in which Tilak scholarship features prominently, but Marathi scholarship is not represented in this entry. Finally, it is worth noting that Tilak’s research and writing of Hindu cultural pasts has not attracted nearly as much attention in English language scholarship as have his political and social views except as it has a bearing on his politics.

General Overviews

A balanced overview of Tilak’s political views and actions is Guha 2011. A more pointed view of Tilak’s politics is Embree 2005 and Richards 2005.

  • Embree, Ainslie T. “Tilak, Bal Gangadhar.” In Encyclopedia of Religion. Vol. 13. 2d ed. Edited by Lindsay Jones, 9198–9200. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005.

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    A short introduction to Tilak’s politics that emphasizes his promotion of Hindu cultural nationalism. Is of the view that Tilak was, unambiguously, in favor of militant nationalism.

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    • Guha, Ramachandra, ed. Makers of Modern India. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2011.

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      See “Bal Gangadhar Tilak” (pp. 107–118). On the major political figures of the nationalist movement. The chapter on Tilak is a concise political biography and is followed by extracts from an essay and a speech by Tilak, one on Shivaji as an appropriate model for nationalist India and the other on Tilak’s view of the labels and discourses (moderate versus extremist) which were in development and which positioned him and his views as extremist.

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      • Richards, Glyn, ed. “Bal Gangadhar Tilak.” A Source Book of Modern Hinduism. London: Taylor & Francis, 2005.

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        See “Bal Gangadhar Tilak” (pp. 86–101). A brief social and political biography, focused on Tilak’s public life and political interests. The entry presents him as an orthodox Hindu and a figure whose political actions are properly read through the lens of his orthodoxy. The entry includes extracts drawn from Tilak’s speeches, on swadeshi, the Nationalist Party, revolution, self-government, Swaraj, national education, and home rule.

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        Works by Tilak

        In addition to being the proprietor and editor of the Marathi language paper, the Kesari, and the English-language paper, the Mahratta, Tilak was a writer of books on the origins of the Hindus and the Bhagavad Gita. His commentary and translation of the Bhagavad Gita had a significant impact in the political world, finding its most famous counterview in Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s reading of the Gita. Tilak 1910 is a dense comparative study of Eastern and Western philosophical systems followed by a translation of the Gita into Marathi, accompanied by a commentary. Tilak 1893 challenges the authoritative dating of the Vedic people, considered the originators of the Hindu worldview, to the 24th century BCE, using a scientific mode of enquiry. Tilak 1903 continues the project of The Orion, investigates the origins of the Vedic people, argues that their original home was in the Arctic, also using a scientific mode of enquiry.

        • Tilak, Bal Gangadhar. Srimad Bhagavad Gita-Rahasya or Karma-Yoga-Sastra. Translated by Bhalchandra Sitaram Sukthankar. 2d ed. Poona, India: Tilak Bros., 1910.

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          Written in 1910 in Marathi, when Tilak was serving a jail sentence for the 1908 sedition charge, and published in 1915. Tilak examines different philosophical systems—including that of Socrates, Plato, John Stuart Mill, and Jeremy Bentham—and compares them with Eastern philosophers, including Confucius and Shankara. In this complex and detailed study of the Gita, Tilak argues that it promotes disinterested action as a mode of self-realization.

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          • Tilak, Bal Gangadhar. The Arctic Home in the Vedas, Being Also New Key to the Interpretation of Many Vedic Texts and Legends. Poona, Inda: Tilak Bros., 1903.

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            Written in 1898 and published in 1903, the work draws on contemporary geologic and archaeological research, which placed the postglacial period at around 8000 BCE. This Tilak claims means the Aryan civilization is properly dated to 4500 BCE since it is several thousand years older than the oldest Vedic period, that of the Rg Veda, and the Arctic was the original home of the Vedic people.

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            • Tilak, Bal Gangadhar. The Orion or Researches into the Antiquity of the Vedas. 6th ed. Poona, India: Tilak Bros., 1893.

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              Originally published in 1893, it is written as a scholarly inquiry into the Vedic calendar, in refutation of the mostly western research that had claimed the Vedas were not older than 2400 BCE. Drawing on astronomy and, to a lesser extent, philology, the work claims the Rgvedic people (Rgveda being the earliest of the four Vedas) date back to 4000 BCE.

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              Tilak’s Essays

              Tilak spoke and wrote widely on his views on the origins of the Hindus and the text he considered seminal to the Hindu philosophical system, the Bhagavad Gita. Gita Rahasya explains Tilak’s key contention developed in the book of the value placed on karma-yoga (the science of action) by Krishna in the Gita. Karma Yoga and Swaraj explores Tilak’s politicizing of the notion of karma-yoga via his characterization of Swaraj.

              • Tilak, Bal Gangadhar. “Gita Rahasya.” In Bal Gangadhar Tilak: His Writings and Speeches. By Bal Gangadhar Tilak, 258–263. Madras: Ganesh, 1922a.

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                The text of a speech on Gita Rahasya given by Tilak in 1917 at Amraoti. Useful in providing a sense of Tilak’s self-fashioning as a patriotic nationalist, anchored in and by his abiding interest in the Gita. Reiterates his contention in the Gita Rahasya: that the Gita does not subordinate disinterested action (karma) to knowledge (jñāna) and devotion (bhakti) as modes of achieving self-realization as it is traditionally supposed.

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                • Tilak, Bal Gangadhar. “Karma Yoga and Swaraj.” In Bal Gangadhar Tilak: His Writings and Speeches. By Bal Gangadhar Tilak, 276–280. Madras: Ganesh, 1922b.

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                  Addresses Tilak’s view that karma-yoga (the science of action, considered synonymous with duty) is the right mode to bring about Swaraj, in his mind an unquestionable and absolute good. Speaks of Swaraj as the dominion, or rule, of the people and links the two notions and a third, Dharma, together.

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                  Edited Collections

                  Collections of Tilak’s speeches, letters from prison, and essays on political topics such as home rule, swaraj, boycott, national education, and swadeshi began to be published around the time Tilak was prominent on the nationalist stage. Venkateswarulu 1922, Tilak and Ghose 1922, and Tilak 1918 are very much in the vein of nationalist propaganda that had emerged as a political genre in the years following the 1905 partition of Bengal. Tilak 1966, Tilak 1997, and Tilak 1922 are important nongovernmental repositories of historical documents related to Tilak’s political and personal life.

                  • Tilak, Bal Gangadhar. Speeches of Bal Gangadhar Tilak (Delivered during 1889–1918). Madras: R. Thirumalai, 1918.

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                    The foreword by Ganesh Srikrishna Khaparde is an important historical document in its own right. Tilak is a larger-than-life figure, eulogized for his politics, ethics, and sacrificing of the personal to the political. Speeches selected for publication are arranged by innocuous sounding thematic categories, “Congress Speeches” and “Miscellaneous,” that was no doubt intended to evade censorship. It is easy to read between the lines and discern that the speeches are political.

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                    • Tilak, Bal Gangadhar. Selected Documents of Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak (1880–1920). Edited by Ravindra Kumar. 4 vols. New Delhi, India: Anmol, 1922.

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                      The volumes contain material related to Tilak’s public, political life between 1880 and 1920, mainly correspondence, speeches made by Tilak, and government documents concerning Tilak and his two newspapers, the Kesari and Mahratta. It is a wide-ranging collection that provides readers with a sense of the political, social, and cultural ferment of which Tilak was a part and which he, in turn, furthered.

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                      • Tilak, Bal Gangadhar. Letters of Lokmanya Tilak. Edited by M. D. Vidwans. Poona, India: Kesari Prakashan, 1966.

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                        In the main, the volume contains letters written by Tilak to his nephew, Dhondo Vasudeo Vidwans, from England and Mandalay jail between 1908 and 1914. There is an assortment of others that date from 1884 to 1920. The letters written while in prison offer much insight into prison conditions, Tilak’s private self, negotiation of the reality of censorship and solitary confinement.

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                        • Tilak, Bal Gangadhar. Lokmanya Tilak in England, 1918–19: Diary and Documents. Edited by V. D. Divekar. Pune, India: Tilak Smarak Trust, 1997.

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                          Archive of materials related to Tilak’s year in England, including correspondence, press and secret police reports, speeches, and texts of the widely reported, courtroom trial of Valentine Chirol for defamation, a charge leveled against him by Tilak. The introduction sheds light on this important year in Tilak’s life, which was noteworthy also for his seeking out of covert political alliances while in England.

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                          • Tilak, Bal Gangadhar, and Babu Aurobindo Ghose. Bal Gangadhar Tilak, His Writings and Speeches. Madras: Ganesh, 1922.

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                            Aurobindo Ghose’s essay and the primary texts are an important introduction to Tilak’s political stature. In the former, Tilak is set up as a nationalist icon, unswerving in his commitment to the cause of a political awakening in the public and glorified for what is described as his self-sacrifice in the cause of the nation.

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                            • Venkateswarulu, V. ed. All About Lok. Tilak. Madras: V. Ramaswamy Sastrulu, 1922.

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                              A collection of Tilak’s speeches and writings as well as press reviews of his writings. Public debates on Tilak and the memorials which flooded the press following his death in 1920 are given a section of their own. In the foreword, Joseph Baptista’s veneration of Tilak is apparent in the fact that he describes Tilak’s life and political writings as a new and political Gita.

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                              Biographies

                              The genre of the biography features prominently in the literature on Tilak. Most biographies focus on his political life and have a classic bildungsroman structure such that accounts of his childhood and youth configure his later public, political stature as one of nationalist India’s most important leaders. A number of biographies on Tilak are by his friends, co-workers, and colleagues and were written in the pre-independence era and in the decade following independence. Some border on the hagiographic, especially the pre-independence ones that were, more than likely, intended to frame Tilak as a nationalist icon, one to be emulated and revered. Kelkar 1924 and Kelkar 1928 fall into this category as do Karmarkar 1956, Gopal 1956, Karandikar 1957, and Tahmankar 1956. Without exception, these biographies take issue with the harsh critique of Tilak during his life and after within the Indian political class that regarded him as an orthodox Hindu revivalist, antireform, and anti-Muslim with an agenda of Hindu nationalism. In addition to the political, they focus attention on Tilak’s literary interests, shedding light on Tilak’s methods of reasoning in Gita Rahasya, Orion, and The Arctic Home, as well as showing the link between literary and political aspects of Tilak’s life. A third prominent interest covered in biographies is Tilak’s involvement in and knowledge of legal issues. Chapters on the subject also draw out the interconnection of legal and political in Tilak’s life. Biographies published later, such as Pradhan 1994, Varma 1978, Bakshi 1990, and Singh 2015, are similarly oriented and cover substantially the same terrain.

                              • Bakshi, S. R. Indian Freedom Fighters Struggle for Independence. Vol. 1. Bal Gangadhar Tilak: Struggle for Swaraj. New Delhi, India: Anmol, 1990.

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                                A thematized, political biography with chapters focusing on Tilak’s legal trials, his notion of swaraj, and on the formative early years of public life. A useful source of information on the public support that Tilak’s legal trials attracted across British India and in London. Is, in the main, a compilation of press opinions, Tilak’s speeches and newspaper articles, and trial transcripts.

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                                • Gopal, Ram. Lokmanya Tilak, A Biography. Bombay: Asia, 1956.

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                                  A chronological biography that offers a sympathetic view of Tilak’s political life. Refutes the view that he was anti-Hindu reform and a communalist by revisiting the controversial Shivaji and Ganesh festivals as well as Tilak’s opposition to the Age of Consent Act of 1891. Concludes that Tilak was not against social reform but against legislative reform. Provides evidence from Tilak’s speeches and actions in support of its argument.

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                                  • Karmarkar, D. P. Bal Gangadhar Tilak: A Study. Bombay: Popular Book Depot, 1956.

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                                    Karmakar, a lawyer by training, singles out for mention that to Tilak goes the credit of conceiving of ways by which the public could be politicized and describes him as the first mass leader. The biography focuses on Tilak’s public and political life, including the communal tensions of the time by which Tilak is often judged a communalist, which it refutes.

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                                    • Karandikar, S. L. Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak. The Hercules & Prometheus of Modern India. Poona, India: S. L. Karandikar, 1957.

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                                      A lawyer, Karandikar writes a biography of Tilak that was one of three chosen by the All India Congress Committee in 1955 for publication. A scrupulously detailed biography informed by a clear belief that the judgment of history will be sympathetic to Tilak. Argues that Tilak’s actions and socio-political views are properly attributed to his one aim of politicizing the colonized and educating them into a knowledge of their subservience under British rule. Foreword by C. Rajagopalachari.

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                                      • Kelkar, N. C. Landmarks in Lokmanya’s Life. Madras: S. Ganesan, 1924.

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                                        A variation on the traditional genre of the biography. It is a collection of articles on Tilak and introductions to Tilak’s books written by Kelkar between the 1890s and 1920. Articles included here date back to the time Kelkar was editor of the Mahratta. The chapters cover Tilak’s political life, mostly, with one chapter devoted to the philosophical.

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                                        • Kelkar, N. C. Life and Times of Lokmanya Tilak. Translated by D. V. Divekar. Delhi, India: Anupama Publications, 1928.

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                                          A classic example of a political bildungsroman, teleological in design, in which Tilak is the epitome of his times. Written by a close associate, it is sympathetic to Tilak. Offers much by way of insight into Tilak’s public life, involvement in local politics as well as national, his journalism, and his political and religious philosophy. Reprint of 1987 edition.

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                                          • Pradhan, G. P. Lokmanya Tilak. New Delhi, India: National Book Trust, 1994.

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                                            A sympathetic biography that focuses on various aspects of Tilak’s personality as it was expressed in his public life, teaching, journalism, nationalist-patriotism, and scholarship. There is a particularly useful chapter on Tilak’s development of the concept of Swaraj. The biography offers some interesting stories about Tilak’s incarceration in colonial jails.

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                                            • Singh, Arvind Kumar. Life and Works of Bal Gangadhar Tilak. New Delhi, India: Anmol, 2015.

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                                              A lucid account of Tilak’s political life, political philosophy, controversial views on education, and his reading of and commentary on Vedic texts. Sympathetic to Tilak, the biography challenges the view that he was a communalist and Hindu revivalist. Brings class analysis in to his evaluation of Tilak.

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                                              • Tahmankar, D. V. Lokmanya Tilak: The Father of Indian Unrest and Maker of Modern India. London: John Murray, 1956.

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                                                Was the London correspondent for the Kesari and Mahratta. Frames itself as an evaluation of Tilak’s place in history and suggests Tilak’s contribution to the question of self-determination is without doubt. Refutes the claims that Tilak was a conservative Hindu and a communalist. One of a few biographies that finds Tilak’s most important contribution to history lies in his literary life. Foreword by Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit

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                                                • Varma, Vishwanath Prasad. The Life and Philosophy of Lokmanya Tilak. Agra, India: Lakshmi Narain Agarwal, 1978.

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                                                  Includes an extensive repertoire of Tilak’s public and political speeches, text of the 1908 trial, letters to newspapers, and so on. In the preface, Varma speaks of the difficulty of writing a comprehensive biography of a figure as eclectic as Tilak, versed in Hindu, colonial and English law, Hindu scripture and hermeneutics, India’s past, and Western political thinkers and history, all of which form the scope of the biography.

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                                                  Reminiscences

                                                  A three-volume set of reminiscences was published in the years following Tilak’s death in 1920. It reads like a who’s who of nationalist India and its value as nationalist propaganda cannot be overstated. The series was supplemental to a Marathi series of reminiscences on Tilak that was published around the same time with the first two volumes containing four hundred contributions by Maharashtrians. The foreword to each volume is by a public figure of the time and the series is edited by S. V. Bapat. Together, Bapat 1924, Bapat 1925, and Bapat 1928 establish the reminiscence as a nationalist genre, mobilized in the interest of an anticolonial movement. India in Mourning is, similarly, an archiving of a very particular image of Tilak, as Mahatma.

                                                  • Bapat, S. V., ed. The Reminiscences and Anecdotes of Lokmanya Tilak. Poona, India: S. V. Bapat, 1924.

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                                                    In a short foreword, N. C. Kelkar describes the personal reflections included in the collection as a rich source of material for biographers. In this first volume, there are reminiscences by Annie Besant, C. F. Andrews, M. K. Gandhi, and Sarala Devi Chaudharani, among others.

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                                                    • Bapat, S. V., ed. The Reminiscences and Anecdotes of Lokmanya Tilak. Vol. 2. Poona, India: S. V. Bapat, 1925.

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                                                      The foreword by D. V. Gokhale offers an authoritative retrospective of Tilak as an embodiment of colonial India’s nationalist aims. The volume includes contributions by Aurobindo, Moulana Shaukat Ali, Rabindranath Tagore, C. R. Das, Ramsay Macdonald, C. Rajagopalachari, Motilal Nehru, M. K. Gandhi, Sarojini Naidu, S. S. Setlur, Surendranath Banerji, Lajpat Rai, and Surendranath Banerji, some of whom were deceased by the time the volume was published.

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                                                      • Bapat, S. V., ed. Reminiscences and Anecdotes of Lokmanya Tilak. Vol. 3. Poona, India: S. V. Bapat, 1928.

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                                                        The foreword by Annie Besant is practically an encomium in which Tilak’s unstinting devotion to the cause of political freedom is celebrated. The volume includes contributions by M. A. Jinnah, J. K. Mehta, J. C. Bose, G. S. Khaparde, Khurshed F. Nariman, Subhas Chandra Bose, and M. Asaf Ali.

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                                                        • India in Mourning. (A Collection of Tributes from British and Indian Press, Eminent Persons to Late Lok. B. G. Tilak and Description of Memorial Meetings). Poona, India: A. P. Bapat, 1920.

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                                                          An interesting collection of articles from the Indian press. Most expressing outrage at the Statesman’s article upon the occasion of Tilak’s death at the same time as they express their sense of loss and support, calling Tilak an important public figure. Includes statements made by M. K. Gandhi, Lajpat Rai, Madan Mohan Malaviya, Annie Besant, and Bepin Chandra Pal. Foreword by N. C. Kelkar.

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                                                          Colonial Records/Archives

                                                          From the 1890s to the time of his death, in 1920, Tilak was one of a few prominent figures of the early decades of the nationalist movement to be discussed in surveillance reports of the political and police departments. There is a fascinating profile of Tilak that emerges in and via these records. It is informed by bureaucratic norms, reporting structures, and discourse. Major archives are the National Archives of India, the British Library, the South Asia collection at the Centre for Research Libraries (Chicago), and the Cambridge South Asia Archive at Cambridge University. What follows is an overview of the India Office Records and Publications archived in the British Library at St. Pancras, London.

                                                          India Office Records at the British Library

                                                          The India Office Records collection at the British Library is extensive. The following series offer insight into the bureaucratic monitoring of Tilak’s public, journalistic, and political life: the Indian Newspaper Reports (Native Newspaper Reports), the Public and Judicial Department Records, 1795–1950; and the Proceedings and Consultations of the Government of India and of the Presidencies and Provinces, 1702–1945 series. The Indian Newspaper Reports (Native Newspaper Reports) are compilations of extracts from Indian newspapers on a myriad of topics. Criticism of the government is a regular topic under which extracts from Tilak’s newspapers, the Mahratta and the Kesari, appear routinely. The reports (with a title of Indian Newspaper Reports (Native Newspaper Reports)) were filed regularly in the presidencies and territories of British India. The Public and Judicial Department Records, 1795–1950 is an annual files series that contains records of reports, intergovernmental correspondence, pages from the Native Newspaper Reports, clippings from English newspapers reporting parliamentary questions on the government’s India policy, all as part of a regular exchange of information between the government of India and the secretary of state for India in London. The Proceedings and Consultations of the Government of India and of the Presidencies and Provinces, 1702–1945 series is the most comprehensive source of information on the government, first of the East India Company and then the British government of India. They cover correspondence, resolutions, and minutes of local governments and the government of India; proceedings in local courts of law; reports from the different departments of local governments; and so on. The records were titled “Consultations” in the pre-1860 period and “Proceedings” in the post-1860 period. “Public Proceedings,” within the Proceedings and Consultations of the Government of India and of the Presidencies and Provinces, 1702–1945, offers the most complete insight, of all government departmental records, into the forming, circulation, and normalizing of a particular narrative of Tilak. This series covers Tilak’s legal trials and surveillance reports in which Tilak features prominently as the government sought to locate definitive proof of his support of revolutionary violence.

                                                          • Indian Newspaper Reports (Native Newspaper Reports), Bombay Series, 1871–1921. British Library, London.

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                                                            The reports show the extent to which Tilak was under surveillance for his opinions and public influence, with extracts from the Kesari and Mahratta appearing regularly. In their extrapolated form they are, nonetheless, the only fragments remaining of many issues of the two papers. See L/R/5/145 (1890) to L/R/5/178 (1920).

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                                                            • Proceedings and Consultations of the Government of India and of the Presidencies and Provinces, 1702–1945. Public Proceedings. British Library, London.

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                                                              See P/3650 (1890) to P/10843 (1920). Some volumes within this list fall under a subcategory, “India Confidential Proceedings” (P/conf). See P/7590 (1907), P/7875 (1908), and P/8153 (1909) for intergovernmental discussions regarding Tilak’s newspaper, the Kesari, leading up to and following the charge of “disaffection.”

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                                                              • Public and Judicial Department Records, 1795–1950. Public and Juridical Department: Departmental Papers: Annual Files 1880–1930. British Library, London.

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                                                                See L/P&J/6/462 (1897) to L/P&J/6/1766 (1920) for reports on Tilak in the years in which he was prominently in the news, starting with 1897, the year in which Tilak was first on trial for sedition.

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                                                                India Office Records, Official Publications (ca. 1760–1957)

                                                                Includes publications of the government of India, local governments, and British official publications with a bearing on the colony and its administration as well. The Indian Law Reports (1791–1947), Bombay Series were published between 1876 and 1947 and contain trial records related to criminal cases, original and appellate, heard by High Courts. The Statement Exhibiting the Moral and Material Progress of India, During the Year 1907–08 offers a digest of all things related to the colony. It was a publication of the India Office in London and drew on the annual reports filed by the various administrative departments of the government in India. In the annual volumes of the post-Bengal partition period, there is sometimes a separate category in the introduction titled “Unrest.” This section, along with the regular chapter titled, “Education, Literature and the Press,” lists the types of cultural activities that (it is claimed) are proof of the presence of countergovernment political discourse and activity in the cultural realm. The East India Sedition Committee Report of 1918, written by the committee appointed to investigate revolutionary conspiracies in India, was submitted to the British Parliament. The report, which draws on surveillance reports filed by the police and public departments of the presidencies, identifies the Chitpavan Brahmins as the originators of revolutionary thought and action and singles out Tilak for mention. He is described as a powerful figure, whose views and influence can be discerned in the discourse and actions of the younger generation of revolutionaries.

                                                                • The East India Sedition Committee Report of 1918. London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1918.

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                                                                  An important source document for understanding the political context within which Tilak was positioned in surveillance and bureaucratic reports. The report aims to convince authorities in England that a youth-driven revolutionary culture was, alarmingly, on the rise in British India.

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                                                                  • Indian Law Reports (1791–1947), Bombay Series. British Library, London.

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                                                                    The Bombay series (1876–1943) has the following relevant volumes: V/22/174 (1898), V/22/181 (1908), and V/22/182 (1909). Also see reports on Tilak’s 1897 and 1908 trials for sedition (Public and Judicial Department Records, 1795–1950, cited under India Office Records at the British Library).

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                                                                    • Statement Exhibiting the Moral and Material Progress of India, During the Year 1907–08. London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1909.

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                                                                      As an example, see the report for 1907–1908. The section titled “Literature and the Press” lists titles of biographies, poetry, and drama beginning to be published in a largely fugitive nationalist propaganda industry, including some on Tilak.

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                                                                      Historiography

                                                                      An early example of the standard imperial view of Tilak is in Chirol 1910. Ghose 1975 is an informative study of Tilak’s politics in the context of ideological divides in early nationalism. Kaur 2004 and Cashman 1975 discuss the contentious topic of Tilak’s seminal role in the revival of the Shivaji and Ganapati festivals while Cashman, more generally speaking, looks at the conditions of possibility that produced Tilak as Lokmanya, a larger than life figure of popular nationalism. Shay 1956 considers the history of Hindu political philosophy, the tradition in which Tilak locates himself, to shed light on Tilak’s views of the right ordering of individual and state. Rao 2010 makes a case for regarding Tilak’s politics as driven by the desire to preserve caste and class privileges. Pati 2011 is a wide-ranging set of chapters that, together, cover the many issues that make Tilak a controversial figure of nationalist India even today. Fasana 1999 explores the shaping influence of the 19th-century Italian nationalist, Giuseppe Garibaldi, and Italian revolutionary, Giuseppe Mazzini, on Tilak’s political vocabulary. Shruti 2007 addresses Tilak’s working out of a politics of (nationalist) self and nation in the Gita Rahasya in which is embedded a critique of liberalism.

                                                                      • Cashman, Richard. The Myth of the Lokmanya: Tilak and Mass Politics in Maharashtra. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975.

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                                                                        On the making of Tilak, as a nationalist myth, and the economic, social, and political histories that underwrote it. The study concludes that Tilak’s emergence as a nationalist heroic figure is best understood as a myth of an Indian nationalism in transition, and one based in the notion of charismatic leadership. The study is valuable also for its nuanced reading of the politics of the festivals with Tilak is said to have politicized.

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                                                                        • Chirol, Valentine. Indian Unrest. London: Macmillan, 1910.

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                                                                          This highly influential figure of colonial India has gone down in history for crediting Tilak with being the “father of Indian unrest,” a title that in nationalist propaganda counteridentifies Tilak as the embodiment of justified defiance in a classic instance of domestication of imperial vocabulary.

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                                                                          • Fasana, E. “Deshabhakta: The Leaders of the Italian Independence Movement in the Eyes of Marathi Nationalists.” In Writers, Editors and Reformers: Social and Political Transformation of Maharashtra 1830–1930. Edited by N. K. Wagle, 42–63. New Delhi, India: Manohar, 1999.

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                                                                            An important examination of the ways in which Tilak attempted to map Italy, geographically, socially, and politically, on to India, focusing in particular on Garibaldi and Mazzini.

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                                                                            • Ghose, Sankar. Political Ideas and Movements in India. Delhi, India: Allied, 1975.

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                                                                              A consideration of Tilak in the context of other prominent thinkers of the time who were also labelled extremist or militant. A useful introduction to the political divisions which emerged in the late 1890s and early 1900s, to which Tilak was a significant contributor.

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                                                                              • Kaur, Raminder. “At the Ragged Edges of Time: The Legend of Tilak and the Normalization of Historical Narratives.” South Asia Research 24.2 (2004): 185–202.

                                                                                DOI: 10.1177/0262728004050108Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                On the misplaced emphasis in Tilak historiography that credits him with reviving the Ganapati festival. Argues that ethnographic research shows it to have been well in place before Tilak and his politicizing of it.

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                                                                                • Pati, Biswamoy, ed. Bal Gangadhar Tilak: Popular Readings. Delhi, India: Primus, 2011.

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                                                                                  A collection that provides a sense of controversies that continue to swirl around Tilak. Chapters cover Hindu nationalism, Tilak and the urban working class, Tilak the pragmatist and/or communalist, and nationalism’s making of Tilak the leader.

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                                                                                  • Rao, Parimala V. Foundations of Tilak’s Nationalism: Discrimination, Education and Hindutva. New Delhi, India: Orient Blackswan, 2010.

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                                                                                    Argues that Tilak’s orthodoxy and conservatism were not marginal to his status as a nationalist but constitutive of it, Maintains that Tilak’s nationalism was about preserving caste privileges and class interests. Plays down some of the contradictions that other studies take note of when considering the same issues. Nonetheless a useful counterbalancing of the many sympathetic biographies and histories of Tilak.

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                                                                                    • Shay, Theodore L. The Legacy of the Lokmanya: The Political Philosophy of Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Bombay: Oxford University Press, 1956.

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                                                                                      A comprehensive exploration of Tilak’s political philosophy. Useful for an understanding of Tilak’s background in Hindu political concepts, such as Dharmarajya, and personal-political concepts such as Swarajya. Takes the position that the Indian tradition of political philosophy that informs Tilak’s views is misread by his contemporaries and historians alike to label Tilak anti-reformist and antidemocratic in his politics.

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                                                                                      • Shruti, Kapila. “Self, Spencer and Swaraj: Nationalist Thought and Critiques of Liberalism, 1890–1920.” Modern Intellectual History 4.1 (2007): 109–127.

                                                                                        DOI: 10.1017/S1479244306001077Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                        Exploration of Tilak’s working out of a politics of the self and nation in Gita Rahasya as a critique of liberalism. An interesting argument about Tilak’s making ethics central to the politics of self and nation. The discussion is also inflected by a consideration of the (Herbert) Spencerian views of two other important radical nationalists of the time, Har Dayal and Shyamji Krishnavarma.

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                                                                                        Comparative Studies

                                                                                        One of the more standard ways in which Tilak is evaluated is in the context of other leaders, most notably Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Numerous articles and books thus historicize Tilak’s politics by looking at the social and political relations within which Tilak’s views take shape and change over time. Bhattacharyya 1990 is on a little-explored relationship, of influence, between Tilak and Rabindranath Tagore, which it explores through a discussion of a Tagore play in which, the author argues, the heroic central figure is Tilakian. Kapoor 1991 presents a comparison of Tilak with Aurobindo that demonstrates the affinity in their approach to nationalism. Joshi 1990 offers insight into the influence of Tilak on revolutionary circles of the Bombay and Bengal presidencies in turn of the century India. Jose 1990, Parvate 1990, Sharma 2001, and Khimta 2017 address the fundamental differences in the political philosophy of Gandhi and Tilak, particularly as it emerges in their readings of the Gita. In addition, they discuss and evaluate the key relationship between religion and politics in the thinking of the two nationalist leaders. Shabbir Khan 1992, Wolpert 1989, and Jagirdar 1990 focus on the differences and disagreements between Mahadev Govind Ranade and G. K. Gokhale on the one hand and Tilak on the other.

                                                                                        • Bhattacharyya, Devipada. “Tilak and Tagore: In the Light of the Character of Dhanajay Vairagi.” In Political Thinkers of Modern India: Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Vol. 4. Edited by Verinder Grover, 518–532. New Delhi, India: Deep and Deep, 1990.

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                                                                                          Counters the view that the central figure in a play by Tagore is a Gandhian one. Claims that the figure resembles Tilak. A good source of information on Tagore’s interest in and support of Tilak. An important piece for showing the ways in which literature was a space for debating the merit of different nationalist ideologies.

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                                                                                          • Jagirdar, P. J. “Tilak and Ranade.” In Political Thinkers of Modern India: Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Vol. 4. Edited by Verinder Grover, 533–547. New Delhi, India: Deep and Deep, 1990.

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                                                                                            Corrects what Jagirdar considers to be an overemphasis of the clash between Tilak and Ranade to emphasize the fact that there was much respect on both sides and shared views on economic issues. Does address the fundamental disagreements between the two on social reform in colonial India, a disagreement which spanned fifteen years. Is of the view that Tilak supported militant nationalism.

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                                                                                            • Jose, P. K. “Gandhi and Tilak: Values in Conflict.” In Political Thinkers of Modern India: Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Vol. 4. Edited by Verinder Grover, 372–396. New Delhi, India: Deep and Deep, 1990.

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                                                                                              A readable account of the philosophical disagreements between Gandhi and Tilak, including a summary account of the moments in which they engaged one another, and a discussion of the difference in their reading of the Gita.

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                                                                                              • Joshi, V. S. “Tilak and the Revolutionaries.” In Political Thinkers of Modern India: Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Vol. 4. Edited by Verinder Grover, 363–371. New Delhi, India: Deep and Deep, 1990.

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                                                                                                An in-depth look at the ways in which Tilak figures in revolutionary nationalism of late 19th-and early 20th-century India starting with an account of radicalism in the Bombay presidency and followed by an account of the emergence of the Bengal revolutionaries. Is of the view that Tilak’s actions and thinking are best understood as stemming from his political pragmatism.

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                                                                                                • Kapoor, Sumeera. Sri Aurobindo Ghosh and Bal Gangadhar Tilak: The Spirit of Freedom. New Delhi, India: Deep & Deep, 1991.

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                                                                                                  A useful introduction to the thinking of Tilak and Aurobindo on the notion of freedom as one that encompasses spiritual, political, and social realms. An informative discussion of the Vedic term and concept of Swaraj and the meanings the two attributed to the term. Basis of the comparison is the fact that both figures held that Indian nationalism must include the Indian history of ideas.

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                                                                                                  • Khimta, Abha Chauhan. Lokmanya Tilak and Mahatma Gandhi: Evolution of Concept of Swaraj. New Delhi, India: Anamika, 2017.

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                                                                                                    A useful study of Tilak’s interpretation of swaraj in the context of the Vedic texts in which it first finds mention. Argues against reading Tilak as a Hindu revivalist and communalist but acknowledges that the distinction Tilak draws between political ends and means was problematic for its lending itself to a justification of violent action.

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                                                                                                    • Parvate, T. V. “Tilak and Gandhi: Conceptions and Misconceptions.” In Political Thinkers of Modern India: Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Vol. 4. Edited by Verinder Grover, 397–414. New Delhi, India: Deep and Deep, 1990.

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                                                                                                      A comparative study that emphasizes elements common to the approach and thinking of Tilak and Gandhi before discussing their differences. A broad-strokes discussion of the two leaders.

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                                                                                                      • Shabbir Khan, Mohammed. Tilak and Gokhale. A Comparative Study of their Socio-Politico-Economic Programmes of Reconstruction. New Delhi, India: Ashish, 1992.

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                                                                                                        Starting point for the comparison of the two is the fact that Tilak and G. K. Gokhale were Chitpavan Brahmins and nationalists, yet diverged widely in their philosophies, which informed their politics. Discusses the widely divergent philosophical affinities of each and sets the two up as representatives of opposing camps of political and social thought.

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                                                                                                        • Sharma, Jyoti. Tilak and Gandhi: Perspectives on Religion and Politics. New Delhi, India: Gyan, 2001.

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                                                                                                          Examines the relationship between religion and politics in the political philosophies of Tilak and Gandhi.

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                                                                                                          • Wolpert, Stanley. Tilak and Gokhale: Revolution and Reform in the Making of India. Delhi, India: Oxford University Press, 1989.

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                                                                                                            Informed by Wolpert’s assumptions about the unquestioned value of the Western history of ideas, a position which makes him assimilate Gokhale to the western worldview and dismiss Tilak. His Tilak is a figure who ignores social issues internal to Hindu social formation and locates all of India’s problems in its colonial status. The book demonstrates the inherent Western bias of an influential historian of South Asia studies from the 1960s.

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                                                                                                            In the Indian Freedom Movement

                                                                                                            Tilak, his political life, legal battles, and slogan-like statements were prominently featured in nationalist propaganda press and pamphleteering cultures in the decades following his 1908 trial for disaffection and incarceration. Much of this material was proscribed by the British government in India. Fragments of this body of material remain and have been archived at the British Library, the National Archives of India, and the Centre for Research Libraries in Chicago. There are two catalogues of this material, Barrier 1974 and Shaw and Lloyd 1985. Both provide a history of the mostly underground propaganda industry that did much to vernacularize and regionalize the nationalist message, played a major role in the lionizing of nationalist leaders, including Tilak, and was as heterogenous as was the discursive output of the political class.

                                                                                                            • Barrier, N. Gerald. Banned Controversial Literature and Political Control in British India 1907–1947. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1974.

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                                                                                                              Listing of banned literature, including titles on Tilak. Also provides a detailed history of the press and publications policy of the colonial government, including the increase in legal restraints, from 1907. The story of the Indian underground propaganda industry is glimpsed through the account of the history of censorship and in the annotations to each of the banned literature titles mentioned in the book.

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                                                                                                              • Shaw, Graham, and Mary Lloyd. Publications Proscribed by the Government of India. London: British Library Board, 1985.

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                                                                                                                In this work, which has a comprehensive introduction to the topic, the editors list banned titles on Tilak that are archived in the United Kingdom, India, and in the Barrier collection at the Centre for Research Libraries in Chicago as well as providing access numbers and a short description of titles. Biographies of Tilak, poems celebrating his heroic defiance of the law, hagiographic posters in which he is included are mentioned.

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                                                                                                                Tilak and Colonial Law

                                                                                                                There is not much written on Tilak’s legal entanglements outside of biographies in which his political trials, in particular, are a subject. Setlur and Deshpande 1897 has comprehensive coverage of Tilak’s 1897 trial under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code for “disaffection.” The volume includes a useful commentary on the law (see Public and Judicial Department Records, 1795–1950, cited under India Office Records at the British Library). Kelkar 1908 is similarly an account of the 1908 trial. Both draw on trial transcripts to generate the detailed account of the trials in question. Noorani 2005 is an important discussion of the legal points in Tilak’s political trials for sedition, one of which shows the government’s bending the law to its own purposes. Belvi 1999 offers an overview of Tilak’s legal entanglements with substantially the same conclusion about the law being ideological in political trials of British India. Ganachari 2009 examines the meanings made of the language of Section 124A by the state prosecution and the counterreadings of this law by nationalists to their own advantage. Kamra 2016 reads Tilak’s 1897 trial as a pivotal moment in which courtroom proceedings were transformed into an enabling melodrama in the Indian nationalist press, pushing to the side the uncomfortable question of insurrectionary violence, with which Tilak’s newspaper Kesari was charged along with Tilak. Chicherov 1966 looks at the impact of the widely reported 1908 trial on the urban working class of Bombay and discusses Tilak’s attempt at mobilizing this class. Makes a point of noticing the contradictions in place as Tilak’s naturalized caste and class assumptions dictate his sense of the forms of working class engagement in the nationalist movement. Noorani 2010 sheds light on an important legal and political relationship, that between Tilak and Mohamad Ali Jinnah. Tilak vs. Chirol and Another is the trial transcript of the courtroom trial of Valentine Chirol for defamation, a charge leveled at him by Tilak.

                                                                                                                • Belvi, Shriniwas B. Lokamanya Tilak: In the Temple of Justice. Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1999.

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                                                                                                                  A concise account of Tilak’s entanglements with the law in chapters that provide a narrative of each court case. The author, a lawyer, practiced in the Maharashtra Judicial Service and retired as Chief Judge in the Court of Small Claims, Mumbai. Useful for understanding the ways in which law was employed by the government in British India to criminalize dissent.

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                                                                                                                  • Chicherov, A. I. “Tilak’s Trial and the Bombay Political Strike of 1908.” In Tilak and the Struggle for Indian Freedom. Edited by I. M. Reisner and N. M. Goldberg, 545–626. New Delhi, India: People’s Publishing House, 1966.

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                                                                                                                    Examines the impact the 1908 prosecution of Tilak (for articles that appeared in the Kesari) had politically on working-class nationalism. Writes about Tilak’s political work among the urban working class of Bombay, speaking at the meetings of workers on nationalism and organizing and attending protests. Useful for its pointing out of the contradictions brought to the fore as vocabularies of class and caste frame Tilak’s interactions with the workers.

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                                                                                                                    • Ganachari, Arvind. “Combating Terror of Law in Colonial India: The Law of Sedition and the Nationalist Response.” In Engaging Terror. A Critical and Interdisciplinary Approach. Edited by Jane Haig, Anas Karzai, Herminio Meireles Teixeira, and Marianne Vardalos, 93–110. Boca Raton, FL: Brown Walker, 2009.

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                                                                                                                      An engaging account of the ideological use to which Section 124A, the law on disaffection, was put by the government of India and its counteruse by Tilak, to mobilize the public. Discusses the key contention by which Tilak questioned the moral status of this law on sedition (but which was termed “disaffection”) when he questioned whether it was the Indian people or the Government of India that was seditious.

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                                                                                                                      • Kamra, Sukeshi. “Law and Radical Rhetoric in British India: The 1897 Trial of Bal Gangadhar Tilak.” South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 39.3 (2016): 546–559.

                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1080/00856401.2016.1196529Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                        Focuses on the arena in which Tilak was most powerful: the courtroom of the political trial in nationalist India. Proposes that the 1897 emergence of colonial courtroom drama as a powerful, mobilizing force was also the moment in which the radical approach to history, for which Tilak was on trial, was contained, in a manner of speaking, and given meanings that were more acceptable to a majority of Indian publics.

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                                                                                                                        • Kelkar, N. C. Full and Authentic Report of the Tilak Trial (1908): Being the Only Authorized Verbatim Account of the Whole Proceedings with Introduction and Character Sketch of Bal Gangadhar Tilak Together with Press Opinion. Bombay: Indu-Prakash Steam, 1908.

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                                                                                                                          The preface offers a sense of the phenomenon of the trial in the post-Bengal partition years. The coverage of the trial is comprehensive, and draws on trial transcripts, much of which it reproduces. The volume has a testimonial-style evaluation of Tilak which endeavors to distinguish, for the benefit of the public, between political trials and prisoners and other types of criminal offences.

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                                                                                                                          • Noorani, Abdul Gafoor Abdul Majeed. Indian Political Trials: 1775–1947. New Delhi, India: Oxford University Press, 2005.

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                                                                                                                            In his chapter on Tilak, which focuses on the 1908 trial of Tilak for disaffection, Noorani examines many legal points in which the law, in its application, was compromised, as it was, in his reading, in its jury composition and selection, and in the choice of judge who was, Noorani proves, hostile to Tilak. Indeed, Noorani describes the trial as a travesty.

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                                                                                                                            • Noorani, Abdul Gafoor Abdul Majeed. Jinnah and Tilak: Comrades in the Freedom Struggle. Delhi, India: Oxford University Press, 2010.

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                                                                                                                              In the initial chapters of this book, Noorani writes of the early association of the two with Jinnah representing Tilak in some of his legal cases, the disagreements between the two, on points of law, and their political friendship.

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                                                                                                                              • Setlur, S. S., and K. G. Deshpande, eds. A Full and Authentic Report of the Trial of the Hon’ble Mr. Bal Gangadhar Tilak, B.A., LL.B at the Fourth Criminal Sessions 1897. Bombay: Education Society’s Press, 1897.

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                                                                                                                                In addition to covering the trial proceedings, the book has useful indices, one on the interpretations of Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code by some of the definitive legal authorities in British India; and another on the response of the Indian Press to the case. In his introductory remarks, Setlur offers a brief history leading up to the charge against Tilak and his newspaper, the Kesari.

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                                                                                                                                • Tilak vs. Chirol and another. King’s Bench Division. Transcript of the Shorthand Notes of Mr. William Rogers, 8 New Court, Carey Street, Lincoln’s Inn, W.C. 2, and Messrs. Walsh & Sons, 4 New Court, Carey Street, Lincoln’s Inn, W.C. 2. 1919.

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                                                                                                                                  There is no introduction, editorial note, or annotations; only the trial transcript.

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                                                                                                                                  Tilak and Hindu Nationalism

                                                                                                                                  Works included here shed light on Tilak’s controversial positioning of cultural nationalism, grounded in Hindu traditions and texts, as constitutive of the projected future of an independent India. Chaturvedi 2010 shows the influence Tilak’s unorthodox reading of the Gita had on radical nationalists such as Savarkar. Seth 2006 looks at the Gita Rahasya and Tilak’s push to revitalize Hindu festivals and the Hindu past of Shivaji to prove that these were forums intended by Tilak to produce nationalism’s requirement of sameness in an Indian socio-cultural context oriented toward multilayered difference. Kaur 2004 situates Tilak’s politicizing of Hindu festivals in the context of the history of such mobilizing in Maharashtra and` then the Bombay presidency. Shakir and Shinde 1983 claims Tilak’s views show him to be a true democrat and ecumenical in his Hinduism. Shah 1983 considers Tilak to be a misread figure whose views and actions are properly attributed to his pragmatism. Sharma 2007 similarly rejects the view of Tilak as a communalist. Rao 1990 also counters this view, arguing (erroneously) that the view originates with Pakistani historians in the years following the 1947 formation of Pakistan.

                                                                                                                                  • Chaturvedi, Vinayak. “Rethinking Knowledge with Action: V. D. Savarkar, the Bhagavad Gita, and Histories of Warfare.” Modern Intellectual History 7.2 (2010): 417–435.

                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1017/S1479244310000144Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                    An article concerned with exploring the ways in which Savarkar’s political radicalism was informed by the Gita. It includes a brief account of Tilak’s Gita and its influence on Savarkar.

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                                                                                                                                    • Kaur, Raminder. “Fire in the Belly: The Mobilization of the Ganapati Festival in Maharashtra.” In The Politics of Cultural Mobilization in India. Edited by John Zavos, Andrew Wyatt, and Vernon Hewitt, 37–70. Delhi, India: Oxford University Press, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                      A book chapter that provides a historical context for understanding the mobilizing of the Ganesh festival by the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, as an example of the uses made of culture by groups professing Hindutva. There is a brief discussion of Tilak’s role in publicizing the festival (p. 44) in the 1890s and as an example of the mobilization of culture in colonial era politics.

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                                                                                                                                      • Rao, Vasant D. “Tilak and the Muslims: A Re-Assessment.” In Political Thinkers of Modern India: Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Vol. 4. Edited by Verinder Grover, 461–482. New Delhi, India: Deep and Deep, 1990.

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                                                                                                                                        Sets out to dispute the view that Tilak was anti-Muslim and claims that this view can be traced back to the post-independence era and the formation of Pakistan with Pakistani historians rereading nationalist history to present him as such.

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                                                                                                                                        • Seth, Sanjay. “The Critique of Renunciation: Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s Hindu Nationalism.” Postcolonial Studies 9.2 (2006): 137–150.

                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1080/13688790600657819Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                          Looks at the issue of Hindu nationalism from the perspective of the ideology of nationalism and its fundamental requirement of a culture of sameness, whether it is of religion or language, or something else. The critique of Tilak focuses on the latter’s attempt at producing a unified Hindu public and bringing Hinduism into consonance with the politics of anticolonial nationalism.

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                                                                                                                                          • Shah, A. B. “Tilak and Secularism.” In Political Thought and Leadership of Lokmanya Tilak. Edited by N. R. Inamdar, 201–220. New Delhi, India: Concept, 1983.

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                                                                                                                                            A helpful chapter that opens with a history of the culture of religious and social reform in nineteenth century Maharashtra (then Bombay presidency) as a context for evaluating Tilak’s stance. Looks at the reasons he came to be misread, in Shah’s view, as a social conservative and errs on the side of the debate that finds Tilak’s views are informed by political strategy rather than by deeply held beliefs.

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                                                                                                                                            • Shakir, Moin and J. R. Shinde. “Tilak and the Question of Religious Politics in India.” In Political Thought and Leadership of Lokmanya Tilak. Edited by N. R. Inamdar, 221–232. New Delhi, India: Concept, 1983.

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                                                                                                                                              Rejects the standard political framework by which Tilak is labeled a conservative to the moderates’ claim of liberalism. Argues that Tilak’s views are more closely aligned with a democratic model of governance and leadership at a time when elitist notions of the same were the norm. Also engages with Tilak’s working with Hindu ideals of self and society to find him ecumenical in his working within the tradition.

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                                                                                                                                              • Sharma, Naveen Kumar. Lokmanya Tilak. New Delhi, India: Mahaveer, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                A political and philosophical study of Tilak that seeks to correct what it sees as a prevalent and incorrect reading of Tilak as a communalist, an extremist, and a regionalist. Offers a clear account of the important notion of the right ordering of individual and society, and its informing of Tilak’s approach to (India’s) anticolonial nationalism as it is developed in the Tilakian interpretation of Swaraj.

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                                                                                                                                                Tilak’s Moral and Religious Philosophy

                                                                                                                                                A majority of works that focus on Tilak’s moral and religious views tackle the ways in which they inform his thinking about the political. Harvey 1986, Karandikar 1990, Kulkarni 1973, Mackenzie Brown 1990, Saroja 1985, and Stevenson 1986 address Tilak’s interpretation of the Gita. Harvey and Saroja spend considerable time on the Indic tradition of commentary on the Gita, with which Tilak was familiar and address the manner in which Tilak assimilated the Gita to the political. Mackenzie Brown 1990 is a clear articulation of Tilak’s development in Gita Rahasya of a politics of action. Chelysheva 1989, Gosavi 1983, Mishra 2005, and Thomas 1987 are comparative studies. Chelysheva compares Tilak’s reading in Vedanta with that of Vivekananda and Aurobindo specifically for the ways in which it informs their politics. Gosavi is an accessible account of the philosophy of the Gita as it is differently developed in Gandhi and Tilak. Mishra usefully goes over key Vedantic concepts that appear in Tilak, Aurobindo, and Gandhi. Thomas is a more dense engagement with the history of interpretation of the Gita and discussion of the place of Tilak, Gandhi, and Aurobindo in this tradition.

                                                                                                                                                • Chelysheva, Irina. Ethical Ideas in the World Outlook of Swami Vivekananda, Lokmanya B. G. Tilak and Aurobindo Ghose. Translated from Russian by I. Perper. Calcutta: Vostok, 1989.

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                                                                                                                                                  The chapter on Tilak contends that Tilak’s key contribution has been his retooling of the notion of (moral) duty as a patriotic responsibility, harnessed to the cause of national liberation, not a concept that takes on meaning in the context of caste. This is a contested view, with another prominent view being that Tilak’s politics are informed by a will to preserve caste and caste privileges.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Gosavi, D. K. Tilak, Gandhi and Gita. Bombay: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1983.

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                                                                                                                                                    A concise look at the philosophy of the Gita as it is developed by Tilak and Gandhi, concluding in a short comparative chapter which, schematically, lays out the differences. Useful for a beginner, with little knowledge of Vedanta, the philosophy of Advaita, and the Gita. Foreword by V. S. Page.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Harvey, Mark J. “The Secular as Sacred?—The Religio-political Rationalization of B. G. Tilak.” Modern Asian Studies 20.2 (1986): 321–331.

                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1017/S0026749X00000858Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                      Situates Tilak’s very particular and contentious interpretation of the Gita in the hermeneutical and exegetical traditions which it engaged. Demonstrates precisely how the Gita is assimilated to Tilak’s political ideas and aims.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Karandikar, V. R. “Tilak’s Religious and Moral Philosophy.” In Political Thinkers of Modern India: Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Vol. 4. Edited by Verinder Grover, 33–36. New Delhi, India: Deep and Deep, 1990.

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                                                                                                                                                        Karandikar finds that Tilak’s views on ethics and religion are most fully expressed in Gita Rahasya, where Tilak makes a case for the inseparability the two.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Kulkarni, B. R. Lokmanya Tilak’s Metaphysic of Morals. Poona, India: University of Poona, 1973.

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                                                                                                                                                          Delivered as a lecture on the Gita Rahasya, which Kulkarni was invited to give as part of the Lokmanya Tilak Memorial Lectures. Kulkarni claims the work is better described as a philosophy of ethics, not a treatise on ethics per se. The argument proceeds by way of comparison with Immanuel Kant.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Mackenzie Brown, D. “The Philosophy of Bal Gangadhar Tilak: Karma vs. Jñāna in the Gītā Rahasya.” In Political Thinkers of Modern India: Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Vol. 4. Edited by Verinder Grover, 3–16. New Delhi, India: Deep and Deep, 1990.

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                                                                                                                                                            An examination of the Gita Rahasya, which Brown considers to be among the most important philosophical treatises of the nationalist era. Situates the work in the context of Tilak’s political pragmatism and his education in Hindu philosophical traditions and adherence to these traditions. Offers a cogent reading of the text.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Mishra, Sunil Chandra. Ethical Philosophy of Tilak, Aurobindo and Gandhi. Patna, India: Janaki Prakashan, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                              There is a chapter on each, which features a biography in which Mishra speaks of key moral and political categories developed by them, such as Dharma. In a concluding chapter Mishra brings his discussion of the three figures together. Serves as a readable introduction to the key concepts in the system of thought developed by three prominent figures of the nationalist period.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Saroja, G. V. Tilak and Sankara on the Gita. New Delhi, India: Sterling, 1985.

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                                                                                                                                                                A detailed account of Tilak’s study of the Gita, the Upanishads, and the Brahma-Sutra and its leading commentators. Is useful for understanding Tilak’s politics as a politics grounded in this tradition. Concludes that Tilak was fundamentally wrong in reading the Gita as a treatise on right action.

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                                                                                                                                                                • Stevenson, Robert W. “Tilak and the Bhagavadgita’s Doctrine of Karmayoga.” In Modern Indian Interpreters of the Bhagavad Gita. Edited by Robert N. Minor, 44–60. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1986.

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                                                                                                                                                                  The book chapter looks at the political conditions within which Tilak developed his political philosophy, including the competing views of the social reformists with whom Tilak had fundamental disagreements. Useful discussion of Tilak’s aim of reviving a sense of pride in India’s Hindu past.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Thomas, P. M. The Twentieth Century Indian Interpretation of Bhagavadgita: Tilak, Gandhi and Aurobindo. New Delhi, India: Indian Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1987.

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                                                                                                                                                                    Engages with existing scholarship on the Gita as well as readings of Tilak, Gandhi, and Aurobindo. This makes it quite specialized but the work is nonetheless a useful indication of the complexity of Indian traditions of interpretation of Hindu canonical texts such as the Gita.

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                                                                                                                                                                    Tilak’s Social and Political Thought

                                                                                                                                                                    There are many scholarly works that engage with Tilak’s political views, his public life as the proprietor and editor of two newspapers, Kesari and Mahratta, his public speeches and actions, and his public resistance of the social reformers. There are a few that discuss Tilak’s interest in education and approach his politics from the perspective provided by this life-long interest of his. The majority of works that consider Tilak’s social and political thought address the ways in which the two are intertwined and make Tilak the controversial figure that he is. His apologists speak approvingly of Tilak’s refusal to make Indian nationalism derivative and, instead, to draw on an Indian tradition of political, social, ethical, religious, and metaphysical thought to imagine national identity and values. His critics attack him for precisely this fact, seeing in it a legitimizing/authorizing of the divisive politics that later dominated the political and social landscape of nationalist India. Arti 1999 and Doctor 1997 are readable introductions to Tilak’s development of a distinctive political philosophy in the context of nationalism. Arti has a helpful account of Tilak’s version of the Vedic concept of Swaraj, which is the central concept in his political philosophy. Grover 1990 and Inamdar 1983 are wide-ranging edited collections. They represent a range of approaches to Tilak’s contentious political and social views. These approaches are almost always informed by the history of debate in which Tilak is claimed, on the one hand, as a communalist, anti-reformist, and conservative Hindu, and on the other as a pragmatist whose assimilation of Hindu social, legal, and cultural ideas to anticolonial nationalism is (purely) strategic. Chousalkar 1990 and Pinney 2011 are comparative accounts. Chousalkar focuses on the history which Tilak, Aurobindo, and Gandhi’s political ideas aimed to transform and takes a long view of the culture of resistance in colonial India. Pinney examines the views of Gandhi and Tilak on the question of violence in emancipatory history. Naik 2004 is an edited collection focused on Tilak as an educator, with chapters that in the main claim Tilak to be, first and foremost, a political, social, and legal educator. Rao 2008 is an important contribution to the debate on Tilak’s views on social reform and argues that Tilak’s adherence to caste and patriarchal norms dictates his public participation in debates. Taylor 1978 is an enlightening study of the concept of duty as it is developed in Gandhi and Tilak’s thinking. Reisner 1990 considers the post-Bengal partition decade for the emergence of the very notion of mass protest and Tilak’s participation in this mobilizing of opinion across class, region, and gender.

                                                                                                                                                                    • Arti. Indian Nationalism and Tilak: A Critical Analysis. New Delhi, India: National Book Organisation, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                      Examines the relationship of Tilak’s philosophical views, grounded in his reading of the Vedas, and his anticolonial nationalism. A useful introduction to Tilak’s education in Indian and western socio-political traditions of reform. Also takes on Left critiques of Tilak that claim Tilak was anti-Muslim, anti-reform, and ambivalent about the role of violence in anticolonial nationalism.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Chousalkar, Ashok S. Indian Idea of Political Resistance: Aurobindo, Tilak, Gandhi and Ambedkar. Delhi, India: Ajanta, 1990.

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                                                                                                                                                                        Focused discussion of the three nationalists who, in Chousalkar’s view, set the boundaries of debate on political freedom. Takes a long view of the history of resistance in colonial India, starting with company rule. This view contextualizes the discussion of Aurobindo, Tilak, Gandhi, and Ambedkar. In the concluding chapter Chousalkar considers the ways in which Gandhi’s political thought and program of action intersected with that of the other three.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Doctor, Adi Hormusji. Political Thinkers of Modern India. New Delhi, India: Mittal, 1997.

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                                                                                                                                                                          The book follows the broad distinction by which prominent thinkers of nationalist India are usually framed—liberal/moderate in their politics and views on social reform on the one hand, and Hindu/extremist on the other. A good overview of Tilak in the context of competition between the two opposed groups.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Grover, Verinder, ed. Political Thinkers of Modern India: Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Vol. 4. New Delhi, India: Deep and Deep, 1990.

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                                                                                                                                                                            A wide-ranging collection that covers Tilak’s political, moral, and religious philosophy, his economic thought, the political controversies that surrounded Tilak. Some chapters discuss Tilak’s views in the context of other prominent nationalist thinkers. Is a useful introduction to the range of views on Tilak and the controversies that persist.

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                                                                                                                                                                            • Inamdar, N. R., ed. Political Thought and Leadership of Lokmanya Tilak. New Delhi, India: Concept, 1983.

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                                                                                                                                                                              Edited collection of papers presented at a 1981 seminar on Tilak’s place in nationalist historiography. Informative chapters on Tilak’s brand of nationalism (spiritual, territorial, religious are some of the approaches explored), his social and political theories, and some on less visible aspects of Tilak’s public life, such as his economic thought, his formidable legal knowledge and theorizing of law, and views on world politics. Wide range of views.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Naik, Chitra, ed. Lokmanya Tilak as Educational Thinker. Pune, India: Indian Institute of Education, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                Wide-ranging and balanced discussion of the many forums of Tilak’s public life—law, educational institutions, political journalism, platform on national education and social reform—from a perspective that regards Tilak as, first and foremost, an educator. Wide range of views represented.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Pinney, Christopher. “The Tiger’s Nature, but not the Tiger: Bal Gangadhar Tilak as M. K. Gandhi’s Counter-Guru.” Public Culture 23.2 (2011): 395–416.

                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1215/08992363-1161967Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                  A comparative account of Tilak and Gandhi that seeks to probe some givens of nationalist historiography, including the view that Tilak and Gandhi were fundamentally opposed on the question of violence and national histories of emancipation.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Rao, Parimala V. “Nationalism and the Visibility of Women in Public Space: Tilak’s Criticism of Rakhmabai and Ramabai.” Indian Historical Review 35.2 (2008): 155–177.

                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1177/037698360803500209Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                    An important and detailed study of the major political controversies, such as the Age of Consent Bill, which mobilized debate between the reformists and the nationalists (of which Tilak was one) in late 19th-century Maharashtra. Focuses in particular on Tilak as an influential spokesperson of the latter and argues that caste and patriarchal interests are misrecognized by Tilak as religious and cultural tradition.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    • Reisner, I. M. “Social and Political Contribution of Bal Gangadhar Tilak.” In Political Thinkers of Modern India: Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Vol. 4. Edited by Verinder Grover, 70–102. New Delhi, India: Deep and Deep, 1990.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      Places Tilak in the context of the post-1905 Bengal Partition attempt to build a broad based nationalist protest culture. Labor unrest, press mobilization, middle-class activism are histories that contextualize Reisner’s discussion of Tilak’s program of antigovernment political action (boycott, civil disobedience, swadeshi).

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                                                                                                                                                                                      • Taylor, David. “Concepts of Duty Held by Indian Nationalist Thinkers.” In The Concept of Duty in South Asia. Edited by Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty and J. Duncan M. Derrett, 205–216. New Delhi, India: Vikas, 1978.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        A concise and clear consideration of the notion of duty as it informs Tilak’s framing/reading of the Gita and Gandhi’s. David compares and contrasts the two. The book chapter covers the views on duty held by other nationalist leaders as well.

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