Bal Gangadhar Tilak, being good at heart, always wished for an ethical society. He, along with Vishnushastri Chiplunkar, Gopal Ganesh Agarkar, M.B. Namjoshi, Vamanrao Apte, and others, started the New English School in Poona, in January 1880. He realized that the education system brought on by the British was to capture the will, intellect, and imagination of the young mind to their benefit. He wanted to bring back all that was lost in the last 100 years. Started with a handful pupils, it gradually gained popularity resulting in a significant increase in the number of scholars within a short span of time. Tilak started his career with the hope of inducing the Government to transfer the whole of secondary education (and college education, if possible) to popular control. The President of the Education Commission, Dr. Hunter, was absoutely pleased with Tilak’s wonderful spirit and solid improvements. Tilak taught mathematics in the school, and the first improvement brought about by him and his friends was the introduction of a systematic study of subjects like history, geography, mathematics, and science over the different standards of school. On 24 October 1884, the Deccan Education Society was formed, which undertook the management of the New English School. An application was made to the University for the permission to start an Arts College. Thus, in 1885, the Society successfully established Fergusson College for the post-secondary studies.

Tilak and his colleagues also started two weekly newspapers viz., Kesari in Marathi and Mahratta (Maratha) in English, in 1881. Both the newspapers were treasured by the locals.