A rare audio recording of Lokmanya Tilak done 97 years ago,believed to be the only one of its kind,has now come to light for hearing the voice of the father of Indian unrest who passed away in 1920 after initiating the country’s freedom struggle against the British rulers.
While a vast collection of the Lokmanya’s articles and books has been carefully preserved over the momentous years at the ‘Kesari’ trust library,the audio of his voice was not available as of now,according to Dipak Tilak,the great grandson of the Lokmanya,who had famously declared Swarajya is my birthright.
Interestingly,the voice of Tilak is captured during the recording of a music concert held in Pune on September 21,1915 to celebrate Ganesh festival — started by Tilak himself to mobilize masses — which was done by one Seth Lakhmichand Narang,who had specially come for the event from Karachi.
A connoisseur of music,Narang had carried a US made recording machine with him to record the concert of famous classical singers of the time— Master Krishnarao,Pandit Bhaskarbua Bakhale and Narayanrao Rajhans alia Balgandharva — who were invited by Tilak for the festival held at Kesari wada.
The minute long recording of Tilak’s voice intermixed in the recording of the concert is accidental.
In the recording,Tilak is heard appealing to a mammoth gathering turned out for the concert to keep quiet for smooth conduct of the programme.
It is my wish that the audience should maintain silence. I will not tolerate noisy interruptions. People can go out but the concert should be conducted as per the schedule, the Lokmanya is heard saying in Marathi trying to pacify the excited audience,according to the available account kept by Suhas and Sudhir Datar,grandsons of Bakhale and grand daughter-in-law Shailaja Datar.
A similar reference about the incident is found in a book written by Master Krishnarao on remembrance of Tilak in which he had mentioned the intervention by him at the Ganesh festival concert to calm the large audience eager to listen to the doyens of Hindustani classical music. A mention of the episode calling for the Lokmanya’s intervention is also noted in the documents relating to Pandit Bakhale.
According to Dipak Tilak,who is also chairman of the Tilak Trust,the recording,the only one available to hear Lokmanya’s voice,had been preserved by Mukesh Narang,grandson of Seth Lakhamichan which was accessed by the Datars. Seth Narang died in 1939 in Karachi.
The available accounts and evidence is a pointer to the authenticity of the recorded voice as that of the Lokmanya, he noted adding that the record will be played for public hearing.