Journalist who strengthened the fourth pillar of democracy – journalism and provided intellectual stimulation to the readers of Maharashtra
Born: 22 July 1925
Govind Shripad Talwalkar is a prominent name in Maharashtra’s editorial tradition. Talwalkar finally molded the culture created by Balshashtri Jambhekar, nurtured by social activists like Lokmanya Tilak, S. M. Paranjpe and N.C.Kelkar. Talwalkar’s name is prominent among the select few editors who have left an indelible mark on their newspapers. Just as Jambhekar is to Darpan, Tilak is to Kesari, Paranjpe is to Kaal, and so is Maharashtra Times permanently indebted to Govind Talwalkar.
Talwalkar was born in Dombivali. After acquiring a Bachelor’s degree in Arts in 1947, he began his career with Shankarrao Deo’s Nav Bhaarat. Later, for 12 years from 1950 – 1962, he was the assistant editor of Loksatta. He got an opportunity to work with Maharashtra Times between 1962 to 1967. Eventually, in 1968, he accepted the responsibility as the Editor of Maharashtra Times and for approximately 28 years, he became well known as the editor of a forward Marathi newspaper like the Maharashtra Times. He contributed a lion’s share in perfecting the newspaper and transforming it into Maharashtra’s most read daily.
Along with Maharashtra Times, his articles in English newspapers and magazines like the Times of India, Illustrated Weekly of India, The Hindu, The Deccan Herald, Radical Humanist and Frontline, were also well known.
Talwalkar justified being recognized as Agralekhancha Badshah (the emperor of editorials) and created a new level of editorials. His intellect, depth of diligent study, breadth of general knowledge, precise writing and language expertise, rendered his writings profound and his word carried weight.
His editorials and articles on national and international politics, finance, biographies and such other topics enriched the bright journalistic heritage of Marathi newspapers. His style of writing was straightforward, simple, but catchy. One gets a feel of his contemporary thinking and epoch making viewpoint. Talwalkar was never prejudiced towards any person or party. He had the unbiased analytical bent of mind, which was perfectly suitable for an editor, clearly seen in his articles written during the Emergency period and immediately after.
At the beginning of his carrier, he was influenced by M. N. Roy. He therefore bowed to the Congress party, which tended towards communalism. But in 1980, after Emergency when the Congress Party returned to power under the leadership of Indira Gandhi, he became a bitter critic of the party; this is clearly visible through his editorials like Sattavadacha Bali (victim of dictatorship), Daav Udhalla (the game fell apart), Vijayanantarcha Avivek (indiscrimination after victory). Despite reporting clearly and fearlessly on issues and politics that he disliked, he never crossed the limits of decency or civility.
An important chapter in his career is his fight against the politics and corruption of the Chief Minister then. His crusade has established an important lesson in fearless and unbiased journalism. His editorials traversed easily from literature to international politics. His books, like Naurojee to Nehru (1969), Bal Gangadhar Tilak (1970), Vachta Vachta (While Reading) (1979, 92), Sattantar (Change of leadership) (1977, 83, 97), Parikrama (Revolution) (1987), Abhijaat (Classic) (1990), Badalata Europe (The Changing face of Europe) (1991), Granth Saangati (Books Talk) (1992), Pushpanjali, Akshay (1995), Bahar (Bloom), Soviet Samrajyacha Uday ani Asta (The rise and fall of the Soviet nation), Afghanistan and Agnikaand are a proof of this. We get an idea of his intellect from his review and commentary on regional, national and international issues.
Govind Talwalkar not only gave a direction to the Marathi man’s thought processes, but also made him capable of understanding the references and events around him. Two generations were intellectually nourished by his writings. It is thus practically impossible for a Marathi man of any generation to forget this Saraswat (a person from the Saraswat Sect).