People crowned Balagangadhara Tilak
with the honorific prefix ‘Lok Manya’, to mean ‘beloved of the people’. As an editor he was always on the progressive side of the conservative community of Brahmins in which he was born. Tilak
joined the Congress in 1889. He was elected to the Bombay Legislative Council in 1895 and ’96. But the government had charged him of treason and so he had to resign the membership. Bombay-Pune belt was in the grip of famine during the period and the deadly plague too struck hard. Tilak worked hard to alleviate the difficulties using his organization called sarvajanik sabha.
At the same time he attacked the government’s inability to handle the situation properly. The chairman of the plague eradication project and a lieutenant of the British army were killed by the angry people. Tilak
attacked the government again for its failures in his journal. And the authorities went mad thinking that this man Tilak was instigating the people by filling their minds with hatred towards the government and arrested him. And he was promptly punished with 18 months of imprisonment. But they had to release him after 11 months considering the demands from several prominent persons from India and England.