Vice-President pens tributes to Tilak, Azad on their birth anniversaries

New Delhi, Jul 23 (TSIT Bureau) Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday called for greater focus in school books on the tales of sacrifice, patriotism and valour of iconic national leaders and freedom fighters to inspire the younger generation. In a Facebook post penned on the occasion of the 164th birth anniversary of freedom fighters Bal Gangadhar Tilak and 113th birth anniversary of Chandra Shekhar Azad, the Vice-President paid rich tributes to them and asked people to strive to realise their dreams for this great country. Asserting that present-day youth must read about their lives and invaluable contribution made to the freedom struggle, Mr Naidu highlighted the contribution of Lokmanya Tilak and Chandrashekhar Azad who both played pioneering and inspiring roles in shaping India’s struggle for Independence. Tilak, who was often referred to by the colonial forces as the ‘father of the Indian unrest’ was among the first and strongest advocates of ‘Swaraj’. Mr Naidu said he was a scholar, mathematician, philosopher, journalist, a social reformer and a fierce nationalist. “His famous declaration “Swaraj is my birth right, and I shall have it” served as a powerful clarion call to the future revolutionaries of India’s struggle for independence,” the Vice-President said. He praised Lokmanya Tilak for galvanising the national spirit and taking it beyond the circle of educated elite by transforming household festivals such as worship of Lord Ganesha into grand public events like the Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav. Two weekly newspapers owned and edited by Lokmanya Tilak — Kesari and The Mahratta — healped in awakening the political consciousness of the people, he added. Mentioning that Lokmanya was one of the founding fathers of the Deccan Education Society created in 1884, Mr Naidu said the former saw education as a force multiplier in the dissemination of the ideas of democracy and liberalism. “He was a strong believer in educating the masses,” Mr Naidu wrote. Referring to the patriotic fervour, valour and selflessness displayed by Chandra Shekhar Azad, the Vice-President said he was drawn into the Indian national movement at a very young age.
He lauded Azad for supreme leadership skills and organisational ability which helped him reorganise HRA as Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HRSA) and strengthen it. Calling Azad as a “mentor, philosopher and guide to a number of young freedom fighters, including Bhagat Singh”, the Vice President said in his post at the age of 25 years, he was one of the most inspirational youth leaders of the freedom movement.