New Delhi : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday paid tribute to Lokmanya Bal Gangdhar Tilak on his 151st birth anniversary and said he would have been a happy person on the election of Pratibha Patil as the country's first woman president as they both belong to Maharasthra.
Releasing a set of commemorative coins featuring Tilak, the prime minister took a dig at political parties using religion, saying Tilak "used religion to seek freedom, not spread hatred. Those who use religion to divide people and to promote hatred must learn from the constructive lessons of Lokmanya Tilak's life and work".
He said social and political leaders like Tilak placed great emphasis on gender equality and on the rights of women. That is why the people of Maharasthra, both men and women, have been at the forefront of women's emancipation and empowerment in the country.