Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday said freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak was the one who made the freedom struggle started by the Congress meaningful and truly Indian.
Mr. Shah was addressing the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) online conference on Tilak, marking 100 years since his death on August 1, 1920. The Minister urged the youth of the country to study Tilak’s speeches and life for inspiration.
“Those who know the Congress’s history and their work, will know this. If anyone made India’s freedom struggle Indian, it was Tilak,” he said.
Citing Tilak’s famous slogan of “Swaraj is by birthright and I shall have it”, he said this statement changed the freedom struggle, making the “Congress’s freedom movement” into a people’s movement.
Tilak fought for Independence on one hand while campaigning against cow slaughter on the other. His influence was visible in the lives of Mahatma Gandhi, Veer Savarkar and Madan Mohan Malviya, Mr. Shah noted.
ICCR president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe said Tilak’s idea of swadeshi had many dimensions, including language. Tilak encouraged delegates within the Congress to speak in their mother tongues during meetings, he said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government had honoured Tilak by focusing on promotion of Indian languages in the recently approved National Education Policy, he added.