SWARAJ AND SWADESHI

Remembering Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak on his 165th birth anniversary, it is time to realize the significance of his philosophy of Swaraj and Swadeshi that needs to be adopted devotedly by all Indians in true letter and spirit especially keeping in view the scenario through which the nation is passing today. Though during his times the focus of Tilak’s philosophy was on achieving freedom from Britishers, today the society in independent India remains engulfed in multiple problems especially when a substantial proportion of the Indian population continues to indulge in superstitious activities sansany productivity. Moreover, people indulge in questioning the government what it has done for them without asking their own selves as to what little contribution they are making towards nation building. Last but not the least, there is a coterie of some politicians who are relentlessly trying to demean the patriotic and nationalist feelings so much so that even common Indians sometimes feel that the script of their highly obnoxious statements seems to be written by the nation’s inimical neighbours Pakistan and China thus endangering nationalism and patriotism which are sin quo non for the honour, integrity and prosperity of a nation. Lokmanya Tilak who was a great national leader who contributed much to the rise of Indian nationalism, asserted that it can be achieved by fostering a strong feeling of patriotism and self-respect among the people. It was in 1884 that Lokmanya Tilak founded the Deccan Education Society with the aim of teaching nationalist ideas to Indian youth. Tilak believed that nation is like a tree of which the original trunk is Swarajya and the branches are Swadeshi and there is a dire need for myths, superstitions and redundant traditions to be thrown into impenetrable darkness. What a coincidence that in the current era even PM Modi gave a clarion call for being ‘Vocal for Local’ while Tilak had said ‘ Swadeshi will be our cry forever and by this, we will grow.’ What Tilak reminded Indians during the freedom struggle needs to be propagated among Indian masses today? Every Indian needs to recall the precious words of the great leader i.e. “No one can expect providence to protect one who sits with folded arms, and throws his burden on others. God does not help the indolent. You must be doing all that you can to lift yourself up, and then only you may rely on the Almighty to help you.” And realize that the real spirit is to make the country, your family and yourself work together instead of working only for one’s own self. This is the real spirit of nationalism that flows as a consequence of realization of the people that they are the real power. So let all Indians conduct themselves as per Tilak’s ideology of nationalism and patriotism which will not only be service to the nation only but to the humanity at large also. This would be our best tribute to the great leader Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak on his birth anniversary.