Lokmanya Tilak and Chandra Shekhar Azad

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    • Recently Hon PM of India paid tribute to freedom fighters Lokmanya Tilak and Chandra Shekhar Azad on their birth anniversary.

    Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak

    • Birth: 
      • He was born on July 23, 1856, in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri.
    • Education: 
      • He completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics from Deccan College of Pune in 1877 and obtained his LL.B degree from Government Law College in 1879
      • Tilak was well read in Hindu scriptures, and also he was influenced by Western thoughts of metaphysics and politics.
    • Vocation:
      • He was a freedom fighter, social thinker, philosopher, teacher, one of the first and strongest advocates of Swaraj (“self-rule”) who had played an important role in India’s freedom movement.
    • Title:
      • He was conferred with the title of “Lokmanya”, which means “accepted by the people (as their leader)” and  Mahatma Gandhi called him “The Maker of Modern India”.
    • Death: 
      • 1st August 1920 in Bombay (now Mumbai).
    • Significant Contributions:
      • Political Contribution:
        • In 1890, Tilak joined the Indian National Congress.
        • Lal Bal Pal and Swadeshi movement:
          • The political discourse of the Indian freedom movement significantly changed during the period between 1900 and 1908. 
          • It was under the leadership of the political triumvirate, Lala Lajpat Rai, Bipin Chandra Pal and Bal Gangadhar Tilak, popularly known as Lal-Bal- Pal, Swadeshi movement gained momentum across the country. 
          • The trio also mobilised Indians against the Bengal partition
          • It was during this period that the trio proposed the Swadeshi movement and boycott of foreign goods.
        • Imprisonment:
          • Tilak was arrested by the British on the charges of sedition in 1908 and sentenced to six years of imprisonment in Mandalay (Burma)
        • Home Rule Movement:
          • After returning from Burma, Tilak was involved in the Home Rule Movement and joined Anne Besant’s Home Rule League. 
          • In 1916, he concluded the Lucknow Pact with Mohammed Ali Jinnah, which provided for Hindu-Muslim unity in the nationalist struggle.
          • In 1918, he visited England to popularise the Home Rule Movement.
        • He organized two important festivals, Ganeshotsav in 1893 and Shiv Jayanti in 1895.
      • Educational institutions:
        • After his graduation, Tilak with his friends GG Agarkar, MA Chiplunkar and Mahadev B Namjoshi, started the New English School in Pune in 1880 and later founded the Deccan Education Society in 1884 and the Fergusson College in 1885.
      • Literary Work:
        • He also launched two weeklies, Kesari (in Marathi) and Mahratta (in English), which criticised British policies of the time. 
        • He published The Orion or Researches into the Antiquity of the Vedas (1893) and The Arctic Home in the Vedas (1903).
        • In the Mandalay jail, he wrote his magnum opus, the Srimad Bhagavadgita Rahasya (Secret of the Bhagavadgita), an original exposition of the most sacred book of the Hindus.

    Chandra Shekhar Azad 

    • Birth: 
      • On 23rd July 1906 in Bhavra village of Alirajpur princely state, which currently falls under the Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh
    • Early Life:
      • His father Sitaram Tiwari was a gardener, while his mother Jagrani Devi was a homemaker. 
      • They had migrated from the Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh to Madhya Pradesh in search of livelihood.
      • As a child, Azad played with the Bhil boys in his village and learnt archery from them. He later became an excellent marksman. 
      • He started working at the tehsil office early in his life but soon quit as he hated bowing down to the high officials who came visiting.
      • Later, he was admitted to Kashi Vidyapith of Varanasi where he started his political career in 1921.
    • Significant Contributions:
      • Political Contribution:
        • Non-Cooperation Movement:
          • When Mahatma Gandhi launched the Non-Cooperation Movement in December 1921, Azad, then a teenager, took part in it. He was arrested by the British during a demonstration.
        • The title:
          • When the magistrate asked him his name, he declared his name to be ‘Azad’, his father’s name ‘Swatantra’, and his residence as ‘prison’
          • It is since then that Chandrashekhar got the title of ‘Azad’.
          • He was given the nickname ‘quicksilver’ by Ramprasad Bismil for his ability to move undetected between party hideouts.
        • HRA and Kakori train robbery:
          • After the Non-Cooperation movement was suspended in 1922, Azad joined the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA), which was a revolutionary organisation formed by Ramprasad Bismil.
          • On August 9, 1925, Azad participated in the famous Kakori train robbery against the British Raj. 
            • The robbery put the revolutionaries in direct confrontation with the British Raj. 
            • While most of them were arrested, Azad escaped to Jhansi, where he lived in disguise for some years.
        • HSRA and assassination of Saunders:
          • In September 1928, Azad along with Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev formed the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA).
          • The first task of the HSRA was to shoot JP Saunders at Lahore in 1928 to avenge the death of Lala Lajpat Rai
          • The second task was to bomb the Central Assembly to protest against the Public Safety Bill and the Trade Disputes Bill.
    • Death:
      • Following the arrest of Bhagat Singh after the bombing of the Central Assembly, Azad tried to get him out of prison. 
      • On February 27, 1931, Azad was surrounded by the police when he went to Alfred Park to meet one of his contacts. 
      • He refused to surrender and bravely fought the police battalion for hours before shooting himself in the head. 
    • Legacy:
      • Allahabad’s Alfred Park is now named Azad Park.
      • His Colt pistol is displayed at the Allahabad Museum.

    Source:PIB