Early Life

Bal Gangadhar Tilak, popularly known as Lokamanya Tilak, was born on 23 July 1856 in Chikhalgaon in Dapoli Taluka of Ratnagiri District. The Tilak family belonged to the Chitpavan Brahmins or the Konkanastha Brahmins, a Hindu Brahmin community from the Konkan region. Gangadhar, Tilak’s father, was a Marathi teacher by profession. However, he later acquired proficiency in mathematics and Sanskrit as well. He married Parvatibai, and was blessed with a son, who was originally named as Keshav Tilak (after his great-grandfather, Keshavrao). Though he was called as ‘Balwant’ at home, he was commonly known as ‘Bal Gangadhar Tilak’. Tilak started his schooling in 1861. He was an excellent student who made rapid progress in his studies under the able guidance of his learned father. From an early age, he made himself well versed with Sanskrit, grammar, literature, and also arithmetic. By the age of 16, he had lost both his parents, and was later taken care of by his uncle Govindrao. Tilak’s English studies were completed in the Poona High School. However, he had a very rough time with his teachers at the school. In one of the incidents, difference arose between Tilak and the Sanskrit teachers, over a book. Mr. Jacob, the Headmaster of the school, favoured the teachers, and Tilak was made to leave the school for a few days. He got married to Tapibai, daughter of Ballal Bal of Ladghar in Ratnagiri, at the age of 15 in 1871, while he was still completing his education. Tilak finally cleared his matriculation examination in 1872, and enrolled himself in Deccan College in 1873. He completed his B.A. in the year 1876. In 1877, he appeared for M.A. in mathematics but left it midway, and instead opted for the LLB course, which he completed in 1879. Tilak had six children named as Krishnabai, Vishwanath, Durgabai, Mathubai, Ramachandra, and Shridhar.