Dear friends, Bal Gangadhar Tilak was born at Chikhali, in Ratnagiri in the year 1856. We all know him as Lokamanya, due to his well acclaimed saying, ‘Swarajya is my birthright and I shall have it’. He was very upright and fearless since his childhood days. Let us learn how he was upright and fearless from the story given ahead.
Bal’s father Gangadhar Shastri was a Sanskrut scholar. Bal started taking lessons from his father in Sanskrut. He was studying in a Primary school at Ratnagiri. One day the teacher was engaged in teaching Arithmetic in the class. That time, he asked a problem in Arithmetic which was to be solved orally. He asked, “If 5 goats took 28 days to finish eating the grass in a meadow, then how many goats would finish it in 20 days? Immediately there was an answer “seven goats”. The teacher started looking for the one who could answer the problem before his question was over. The teacher asked Bal, “Did you solve the problem in a notebook ? Bal pointed his index finger to his head, without replying in words. We can perceive his sharp memory through this minor incident.
Lokmanya Tilak (Bal Gangadhar Tilak) was a bright and very talented student during his school days.Once, in primary school, the teacher entered the class after the lunch interval and found groundnut shells scattered in the classroom. He asked the students, “Who has thrown these groundnut shells like this?” There was silence in the classroom. No one spoke. This angered the teacher.He asked again angrily, “Speak up, who ate the groundnuts?” No one confessed. The teacher lost his temper. He decided to punish the entire class. He began to hit each boy twice with his cane. When Bal’s turn came, he did not hold out his hand. He said to the teacher, “I did not eat the groundnuts. So I will not receive the punishment”.”Then who ate the groundnuts?”, asked the teacher. Bal replied, “It is said that telling tales is bad. So I won’t tell. “Bal’s straight-forwardness and truthfulness made the teacher very uncomfortable. He became very annoyed. He sent him out of the school. Bal’s father Gangadharpant received a complaint against his son.
Next day, his father brought Bal to the school. He said that what his son had said was true. Bal was not in the habit of eating anything outside his home and he, the father, never gave his son money to buy anything.
Lokamanya Tilak’s upright nature is evident through this incident. It is due to this fearless nature he was able to make invaluable contributions to the Bharatiya freedom movement. With these qualities young Bal turned out to be a patriot with no equal!
Friends, we also should be fearless like Bal. We can achieve it through sadhana (Spiritual practice). The sadhana of Lokamanya Tilak was patriotism (Deshbhakti). He had tremendous faith in Hindu Dharma. He could write the great book ‘Geetarahasya’ when he was in Mandale jail. Let us also uproot the injustice meted on us by evil persons by becoming fearless and strong by doing sadhana.