Bal Gangadhar Tilak (1856–1920) attempted throughout his public life to mobilize the Indian populace for mass political action. He did this by means of his speeches, journalism, leadership and philosophy. His desire was to throw off the yoke of British colonialism, to deliver his countrymen out of bondage. To this end Tilak sought a cogent and comprehensive, yet distinctly Indian, justification for anti-British pro-Hindu activism. He believed that the divergent sects of India could converge to form ‘a mighty Hindu nation’ if they would only follow the original principles of the Hindu tradition as set forth in such texts as the Rāmāyana and the Bhagavadgītā. And this convergence should be the goal of all Hindus.1 Tilak's interpretations of these texts, especially the Gītā, provided him with his ‘justification’ which rationalized his political work in religious guise.
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