Source: “Kashinath Trimbak Telang: A Sketch of His Life and Career”, Indian Biography: Volume II (Madras: Ganesh & Co., 1922)

K. T. Telang

Kashinath Trimbak Telang was born in 1850 to a family of Gowd Saraswat Brahmins. As a young boy, he impressed his schoolmasters with his academic talents.

From 1867-1872, he served as a Fellow of the Elphinstone College, his alma mater. Telang was of the belief that education could not end with university; he spent his time as Fellow perusing the College library’s collection and tirelessly attending the meetings of debating societies. It was in those meetings that he acquired his oratory skills.

He went on to have a successful legal career, while making contributions to the spheres of politics, education and literature. As a scholar, he was not only involved in translations for an English audience such as the Bhagavad Gita, but also translated the works of Chalmers’ ‘Local Self-Government’ and Lessing’s ‘Nathan the Wise’ into vernacular Marathi.

He was also nominated a Fellow of the Bombay University in 1877 and elected a member of the Syndic in 1881. He further drafted a curriculum based on his ideal of education being one that was all-inclusive; this was adopted by the Senate of Bombay University in 1891. Telang believed that to be a potent instrument for the good of the country, the educated Indian had to be aware of English history and political economy. As such, one key change the curriculum brought about was changing the status of History and Political Economy into compulsory subjects from their erstwhile optional status. In addition, he opined that education should be for the masses.

His political ideal and method were inspired by those of the generation that preceded his, which remained loyal to British rule in India while working to secure the same treatment for Indians as their English counterparts received. This ideal was reflected in one of the speeches that Telang is most remembered by, the speech on the Ilbert Bill. Telang also served as Secretary for various political associations, where his long experience in the practical part of political work is credited with his effectiveness as a politician.

In his later years, he served on the Bench, and was appointed the President of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society among other accomplishments. He died in 1893.

Sources: “Kashinath Trimbak Telang: A Sketch of His Life and Career”, Indian Biography: Volume II (Madras: Ganesh & Co., 1922), 1-48; The Indian Nation Builders: Part III, 4th ed (Madras: Ganesh & Co.), 1-17

Works

Rise of the Maratha Power, and other Essays co-authored with M.G. Ranade (Bombay: Punalekar & Co., 1900), 255-324

Selected Writings and Speeches (Bombay: Manoranjan Press, 1916)

Ideas of IndiaIdeas of India