Mumbai: Maharashtra government and the Centre should stop the "shocking neglect and degradation" of the places associated with the pioneering nationalist leader Bal Gangadhar Tilak, former BJP member Sudheendra Kulkarni said on Friday.
Sardar Gruha in Mumbai, Tilak Smarak in Pune and the house in Ratnagiri district where he was born should be declared national monuments, he said.
"Tomorrow, 23 July, is Tilak's birth anniversary. The year 2016 marks the centenary of Lokamanya Tilak's thunderous slogan 'Swaraj is my birthright and I shall have it' which infused new life into freedom struggle. In this context, I have addressed letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis," he said.
"BJP-Shiv Sena government has continued the previous regime's deplorable policy of neglect and discrimination with regard to the heritage associated with many great sons and daughters of Maharashtra and India," Kulkarni alleged.
"This is evident from the shocking condition of Tilak's heritage, especially, Sardar Gruh where he lived whenever he came to Mumbai and where he breathed his last," Kulkarni said.
"The facade of Sardar Gruh itself is unbearably shabby and the fact that it is right in front of the office of the Police Commissioner of Mumbai makes it more egregious," he said.
The Tilak Museum at Kesari Wada in Pune too was in a bad shape, he said.
"Exhibits are badly organised with no consideration for either chronological or subject-wise categorisation... Neither the Centre nor the state government gives a single rupee in aid to the museum," Kulkarni claimed.
Similar was the condition of Tilak's birthplace in Ratnagiri where he was born on 23 July, 1856, he said.
Kulkarni also demanded commemorative plaques at other places in Mumbai such as the Dongri Jail (where Tilak and Gopal Ganesh Agarkar were lodged in 1882), Shantaram Chawl (where Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi and Mohammed Ali Jinnah addressed public meetings) and Keshavji Naik Chawl in Girgaum (where Tilak started Sarvajanik Ganesh Utsav).