New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday offered floral tributes to noted freedom fighter Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, on his 158th birth anniversary in the Central Hall of Parliament.
Lok Saba Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Union Minister for Urban Development, Parliament ary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar, senior BJP leader LK Advani, and other dignitaries were also present on the occasion.
Tilak, was an Indian nationalist, journalist, teacher, social reformer, lawyer and an independence activist. He was the first leader of the Indian Independence Movement. The British colonial authorities called him "Father of the Indian unrest." He was also conferred with the honorary title of "Lokmanya", which literally means "accepted by the people (as their leader)".
Tilak was one of the first and strongest advocates of "Swaraj" (self-rule) and a strong radical in Indian consciousness. He is known for his quote, "Swaraj is my birthright, and I shall have it!" in India. He formed a close alliance with Muhammad Ali Jinnah, later the founder of Pakistan, during the Indian Home Rule Movement.
Tilak joined the Indian National Congress in 1890. He opposed its moderate attitude, especially towards the fight for self-government. He was one of the most-eminent radicals at the time
Tilak, who started his political life as a Maratha propagandist, progressed into a prominent nationalist after his close association with Indian nationalists following the partition of Bengal.
When asked in Calcutta whether he envisioned a Maratha-type of government for independent India, Tilak replied that the Maratha-dominated governments of 17th and 18th centuries were outmoded in the 20th century, and he wanted a genuine federal system for Free India where every religion and race was an equal partner.
He added that only such a form of government would be able to safeguard India`s freedom. He was the first Congress leader to suggest that Hindi written in the Devanagari script be accepted as the sole national language of India.
He died on August 1, 1920.