We want to keep ideas and principles of Lokmanya alive, says Kunal Tilak, co-founder, The Tilak Chronicle
Kunal Tilak, great-great-grandson of Lokmanya Tilak, completed his Master of Laws (LLM) international relations, law and security from University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, and came back to Pune last year and began working with Pune International Centre’s (PIC) thinktank on their foreign policy outreach initiative. Kunal now focuses on his month-old web portal, The Tilak Chronicle, which provides a space to have an intellectual discussion and highlight Pune’s rich political legacy and freedom movement.
While working, the Fergusson College and Brihan Maharashtra College of Commerce (BMCC) alumnus, interacted with several intellectuals, and it was Vijay Kelkar, eminent economist, who encouraged him to start writing.
Kunal says, “He guided and encouraged me. So, my first article was on illegal migration from Bangladesh to India. As a novice, I lacked confidence and was wondering how people would react to my work. I was a closet writer and was unsure about how to go about research and putting together my article. It was received well and I went on to work on a few more papers too.”
The birth of The Tilak Chronicle
He quit the thinktank earlier this year as he wanted to focus on research, public policies and governance. “During this time, I had a discussion with co-founders Gauri Noolkar-Oak and Amogh Oak. We spoke about creating a platform that will present neutral views. Today, if you watch any news channel, within five minutes you know which party they lean towards. We wanted to work towards a neutral space. The Tilak Chronicle is a space to start a dialogue, have an intellectual discussion and highlight Pune’s rich political legacy and freedom movement.”
Being the great-great-grandson of Lokmanya Tilak just added boost to the initiative. Kunal shares that during the Lucknow Pact in 1916, Tilak managed to report the entire episode in a span of two days. “He was in Lucknow, yet within two days, Kesari, Pune had detailed coverage of what happened. It must have been so difficult through telegram.”
He adds that Tilak has been known for being a unifying force, unfortunately his popularity doesn’t match the likes of Mahatma Gandhi and Veer Savarkar. “Although Tilak is not forgotten, his ideologies or principles are not out there. My main motive with this portal is to highlight his journalistic legacy. His ideologies should be able to reach out to more people. I don’t want his ideas to be disregarded or misinterpreted.”
A web portal works great as it has mass appeal and targets audience in the age group of 18-40. “It is a platform where you can put forth your opinions and analytic pieces. We don’t have a pay model yet as we are operating it on a non-profit basis. We hope to get in investors soon. It is a non-propoganda website. We will stand firm on our filters/values.”
Learning from the best
Kunal shares that he is too raw to imbibe anything from Tilak. There is no comparison, but he tries to stick to his qualities of being frank, to the point and outspoken. “I try to keep it clear, crisp and analytical. In the next two months, we are planning to digitise all his articles and work. We have started a social media account now. Slowly we will be creating a digital library of his pictures, first copies among other things.”
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