Prime Minister Narendra Modi was conferred with the Lokmanya Tilak National Award on Tuesday, August 1, during his visit to Pune. PM Modi is in the city to launch several development projects.
The award, constituted by the Tilak Smarak Mandir Trust, honours the legacy of freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak on his death anniversary every year. The Lokmanya Tilak National Award is given to individuals who have worked for the progress and development of the country in an extraordinary manner.
After receiving the honour, PM Modi dedicated the Lokmanya Tilak Award to the 140 crore citizens of India. He donated a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh to the Namami Gange Project. Calling the award an “unforgettable”, PM Modi paid tribute to Lokmanya Tilak and his institution-building capabilities.
PM Modi also said that “Lokmanya Tilak is the ‘tilak’ of India’s freedom struggle” and paid homage to his unparalleled contribution to the development of the concept of self-rule or ‘swarajya’. He also spoke about Lokmanya Tilak’s ability to build confidence to fight against British rule among his followers.
“Tilak broke the myth of inferiority complex among Indians and showed them their capabilities”, PM Modi said, according to PIB.
The Prime Minister also explained the close relationship Lokmanya Tilak had with the state of Gujarat, including the one-and-a-half months he had spent in the Sabarmati Jail in 1916. PM Modi said that Tilak’s speeches had inspired several people, including Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who later installed a statue of Lokmanya Tilak when he headed the Ahmedabad Municipality.
As per a PTI report, PM Modi is the 41st recipient of the award. The Lokmanya Tilak National Award has been presented to former Presidents Pranab Mukherjee and Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma as well as former Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and Indira Gandhi.