Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth was established in 1921, as an educational memorial of Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, 'the Father of Indian Unrest' and an advocate of National Education. The establishment of the Vidyapeeth was aimed towards imparting National Education conceived by Lokmanya Tilak in his four-fold formula (other three were Swaraj, Swadeshi and Boycott).
The Vidyapeeth had formulated a long-term national education programme and implemented it successfully in those days in all its affiliated colleges / institutions. It co-ordinated the efforts being made by similar institutions and provided much-needed educational facilities in the faculties of Arts, Science, Commerce, Engineering and Ayurveda at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels. Emphasis was laid on the study of Sanskrit - the language of the national culture. The Vidyapeeth's policy to provide instruction through Marathi marked a beginning of a revolutionary change in the education system.
The Vidyapeeth being devoted to national education, teachers and students actively participated in the non - cooperation movement in 1930 and 1932 and in the 'Quit India' movement of 1942. As a consequence; the activities of the vidyapeeth were ceased. The Vidyapeeth, however, survived this trying period with the efforts of national - minded institutions and individuals and continued to maintain its unique identity.
Thereafter, in the changed circumstances, the Vidyapeeth took up the work of rural development and basic education. The Tilak Rashtriya Vidyalaya, Khamgaon, an affiliated institution of this Vidyapeeth is even today a centre of "Sarvodaya" examination which is recognized as equivalent to SSC examination
Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth is known at the national level for its unique identity for the realization of the ideal of imparting national education and igniting patriotic sentiments amongst the youths during the pre-independence era.The Vidyapeeth had the required structure right from its inception with all its constituents, namely, the Board of Management, the Academic Council, Planning and Monitoring Board, Faculties, Finance Committee etc. along with the Chancellor,Vice-Chancellor and the Registrar as executive heads. Shri. Shankaracharya Vidyashankar Bharati (Kurtakoti), was the first Chancellor of Vidyapeeth. This post has been held by other prominent persons of intellectual eminence and recognition at the national level such as a great Sanskrit scholar Bharatacharya Shri. C. V. Vaidya, the first premier of Bombay Presidency Shri. B.G. Kher, Dr. M.S. alias Lokanayak Bapusaheb Aney, a great Sanskrit scholar and a historian Maha Mahaopdhyay Datto Vaman Potdar, and Honourable Shri. Y. B. Chavan, Shri. S. B. Chavan, Shri. Shivraj Patil - all former Union Home Ministers & Shri. Sushilkumar Shinde, the Union Minister of Power.
Several eminent personalities such as Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr. Zakir Husain, Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma, Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar, Dr. Anil Kakodkar, Shri. Sharad Pawar, Shri. Pranab Mukherji and others during their visit to the Vidyapeeth campus have appreciated its uniqueness, culture and research work.
After Independence, the Vidyapeeth entered into the discipline of Social Sciences and provided the facilities for Post Graduate Education and Research in it. The teaching and research work carried out by the Departments of Saskrit, Ayurveda and Social Sciences are well acclaimed. The concept of non - formal education was first discussed at the national level in the year 1985. Eminent scholars associated with the Vidyapeeth gave a serious thought to the promotion of non - formal education and thus in 1985 itself, the Department of Distance Education (initially known as Mukta Vidya Kendra) came into function.