Gandhiji and Lokmanya Tilak were prominent figures in India’s struggle for independence. The impact of Tilak’s political ideology on Gandhiji’s approach is evident in various aspects, such as the adoption of boycott, swadeshi, national education, and passive resistance.

Goal of the national movement:

  • Both Gandhiji and Tilak shared the common goal of achieving ‘Swaraj’ or self-rule for India.
  • They staunchly supported the idea of liberating the nation from colonial rule, prioritizing self-governance over foreign domination, even if it were perceived as benevolent.
  • Example: Tilak’s call for “Swaraj is my birthright” and Gandhiji’s emphasis on “Swaraj for the masses” underscore their commitment to the cause of freedom.

Satyagraha and passive resistance:

  • Gandhiji’s principle of Satyagraha, rooted in non-violent civil disobedience, draws inspiration from the concept of passive resistance in the extremist action plan formulated by Aurobindo Ghosh, Tilak, and others.
  • Both leaders recognized the power of non-violence in mobilizing the masses and confronting the British colonial regime.
  • Example: Tilak’s passive resistance during the anti-Partition agitation and Gandhiji’s Salt March are powerful instances of their shared commitment to non-violent resistance.

Democratization of Indian politics:

  • Tilak and Gandhiji firmly believed in the potential of the masses to bring about national freedom through their collective efforts and sacrifices.
  • Tilak advocated for the active participation of the masses in the freedom movement, while Gandhiji expanded upon this idea, creating a more inclusive and broad-based national movement.
  • Example: Tilak’s mass mobilization during the Ganapati and Shivaji festivals, and Gandhiji’s Dandi March, which saw the participation of people from diverse backgrounds, demonstrate their commitment to involving the common people in the struggle.

Educating people and spreading awareness:

  • Tilak recognized the importance of educating and enlightening the people about the true nature of colonial rule, establishing educational institutions and newspapers for this purpose.
  • Gandhiji continued this work, embarking on long marches, delivering speeches, and launching newspapers to promote satyagraha, non-violence, and create awareness among the masses.
  • Example: Tilak’s founding of Kesari and Mahratta newspapers and Gandhiji’s role in spreading the message of non-violence through various campaigns exemplify their commitment to educating the public.

Bringing together different ideologies:

  • Tilak’s efforts culminated in the Lucknow Pact of 1916, where he brought together extremist and moderate groups to achieve unity in the freedom struggle.
  • Gandhiji, too, emphasized the importance of unity among diverse sections of Indian society, transcending religious and caste boundaries in the fight against British rule.
  • Example: The Lucknow Pact and Gandhiji’s non-discriminatory approach in his movements showcase their dedication to uniting the nation.


Gandhian politics, in many ways, can be seen as a continuation of Tilak’s politics, owing to their shared goals and utilization of similar tools like boycott, swadeshi, national education, and passive resistance. Both leaders aimed for an independent and self-reliant India. Despite some differences in approach, such as their understanding of ‘Swaraj’ and the means to achieve it, their contributions laid the foundation for India’s eventual liberation. Their enduring legacy continues to inspire the nation’s pursuit of justice, non-violence, and inclusive democracy.

Legacy Editor Changed status to publish February 23, 2024