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Dilli remembers Lokmanya Tilak

By Vijay Satokar
Aug 01, 2016
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His famous quote “Swaraj is my birth right and I shall have it” is what most people remember Lokmanya Tilak for. Which year was it when Tilak uttered these words? It was sometime in June in the year 1916- after his release from Mandalay (1914?), that the father of Indian unrest is said to have thundered these words.

 If it was indeed 1916, then 2016 would be the 100th year of the warning by Tilak to the British.

 Did Lokmanya Tilak ever visit Delhi? Delhi was not what it became when the British made it the capital in 1922. Tilak died in 1920. Delhi had no High Court those days- the only high courts in the country being Bombay, Calcutta and Madras.

 The statue of Tilak in Delhi has its back to the imposing building of Supreme Court. Surrounded as it is by tall trees, the statue is hardly visible to hundreds of thousands of people who pass by the busy ITO junction- notorious as one of the most polluted not only in India but in the world.

 The Sarvjanik Utsav Samiti, the apex organization of Maharashtrians in the capital has been organizing death anniversary of Lokmanya every year for the last several years. Students from Marathi schools in the capital, this year it was Nutan Bharat HS School sing Vande Mataram and the national anthem as a handful of people (yes, almost handful when one considers the population of Maharashtrians in Delhi in runs into some lakhs) gather to pay tribute to Tilak, address the school children and offer garlands to the bust of Tilak.

 Justice Vikas Sirpurkar, former judge of the Supreme Court, Rajya Sabha MP from Nagpur Dr.Vikas Mahatme gave brief speeches this year exhorting children to learn from the great leader.

 Functions were also held elsewhere in Delhi. The Maratha Mitra Mandal run Chougule School had a function where children presented cultural programme.











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