Govind Talwalkar

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Govind Talwalkar
गोविंद तळवलकर
Born (1925-07-23)23 July 1925
Died 22 March 2017(2017-03-22) (aged 91)
Occupation Journalist
Years active 1950 – 2017

Govind Shripad Talwalkar (23 July 1925 – 22 March 2017, also known honorifically as Govindrao Talwalkar) was a journalist, former editor of Maharashtra Times, and author of 25 books. He received the Lokmanya Tilak Award from the Government of Maharashtra, India and also the B. D. Goenka Award and Durga Ratan Award for excellence in journalism, and Ramshastri award for social justice..

Early life[edit]

Talwalkar was born on 23 July 1925 in Dombivali, in the Indian state of Maharashtra.[1]

Coming from a family with limited means, Talwalkar graduated from the university of Mumbai while doing odd jobs at the same time to pay for his fees. Talwalkar's family has a special place in Maharashtra. Talwalkar's uncle Gopinath Talwalkar was a well-known poet and writer.[2] His other uncle Sharad Talwalkar was a famous actor in Marathi films and on stage.


Editing Loksatta[edit]

After getting a degree, Talwalkar joined an intellectual magazine. After that, he was invited by Mr. H.R. Mahajani, the then editor of Loksatta, a Marathi daily of the Indian Express Group, to join as a sub-editor.[1] The work was not clearly defined. Talwalkar started writing editorials in the daily and the weekly edition of the paper. In fact, he wrote an editorial the first day he joined Loksatta at the age 23. He was greatly influenced by the writings of Lokmanya Tilak, M.N. Roy, and other intellectuals. From 1950 to 1962 he served as assistant editor of Loksatta.[1]

Editor of the Maharashtra Times[edit]

Talwalkar worked as assistant editor of the Maharashtra Times, a new Marathi daily launched by the Times of India group for almost six years. He became chief editor in 1968, remaining in that role for 27 years until he retired in 1996.[1] He also established a record as the longest serving editor in Bennett Coleman and Co. which owns the Times of India Group. The company is more than 150 years old.

Talwalkar is best known for his editorials and articles. According to Raj Thackeray, "Talwalkar justified being recognized as Agralekhancha Badshah (the emperor of editorials)".[1] Late famous Marathi writer, journalist and intellectual, S. M. Mate.[3] admiringly remarked that Talwalkar had a felicity of pen, while poet G. D. Madgulkar used to call him "DnyanGunSagar".[4] In the tradition of Lokmanya Tilak & the Maharashtra saint Samarth Ramdas, he used simple Marathi to make difficult subjects easily understandable to ordinary readers, while at the same time making all salient points with notable gravitas. Several of his editorials and articles are collected in his books, includingAgralekh, Bahar, Pushpanjali, Lal gulag ('Red Gulag'), Niyatishi karar.

Shri Govind Talwalkar had been a Guiding Light for two generations of Maharashtrians. He had the greatest influence over the literary, political, educational, social, cultural and intellectual fabric of post-independence Maharashtra over forty years. As an editor, he made his mark as an intellectual, interested in diverse subjects. He educated his readers. He became an institution.

He was best known for his editorials, which appealed to the reason. His hard-hitting editorials were feared but respected by the politicians and people in powerful places; and immensely admired by the masses and the scholars. In this he followed the tradition of Lokmanya Tilak and Ramdas. He did so selflessly. He exposed corruption in politics, universities, hospitals, social and public matters. It is said that some politicians have blocked giving him PadmaVibhushan award, while honouring many undeserving people.[citation needed]

Though proud of his mother-tongue, Marathi, Talwalkar thought that his readers should know whatever best was produced in the literature in various languages. He started a popular column introducing books in English, writing under the pseudonym Vachaspati. His articles on books have been published as collections – Vachta vachta, 1& 2.

On his retirement in 1996, Talwalkar settled with his daughters in the United States, but continued to write critical articles and essays in Marathi and English on world politics, economics, history, social issues and books. He died on 22 March 2017 at the age of 92.[5]

Author of books on modern Indian history and the world[edit]

Talwalkar has written several books on modern history. His book on the transfer of power in India ( Sattantar – 3 volumes) is now in its third edition.

Many of Talwalkar's books are on the leaders of India's freedom movement: Naoroji, Nehru, Justice Ranade, Tilak, Gopal Krishna Gokhale. The books Naoroji te Nehru, Virat dnyani – Nyaymurti Ranade, Tilak darshan, Bal Gangadhar Tilak were awarded various prizes. He translated his Marathi book Nek Namdar Gokhale into English, entitled, Gopal Krishna Gokhale: Life and Times, published by Rupa and Co. The Tribune's review of Gopal Krishna Gokhale: Life and Times praises Talwalkar as "a versatile journalist", and describes the book as a "comprehensive study" with a "lucid and straightforward" narrative.[6]

Talwalkar's recent book Bharat Ani Jag[7] is a scholarly analysis of India's foreign policy and economic and political situation in the post-independence era (i.e. since 1947). It is a valuable reference book.

Talwalkar was the author of books on the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan – Iraqdahan, Agnikand.

His books have been well received for their wealth of information, insight, scholarship and style. He writes fluently in Marathi as well as English. He always wrote & still continues to write in beautiful, cultured, decent Marathi in the tradition of Lokmanya Tilak & Ramdas Swami, making even very difficult and scholarly topics easy for the common people to understand. His books are a treasure trove of scholarship and a great joy to read.

Freethinker, writer on the Soviet empire, China and communism[edit]

From the 1950s, India sought economic and technological help from the Soviet Union. When it was fashionable to be a communist, Talwalkar remained an independent and wrote against the totalitarianism of the Right as well as the Left. He was steeped in the humanist thoughts of M. N. Roy, George Orwell, Karl Pauper, Arthur Koestler, and Kolakowsky.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Talwalkar toured Eastern Europe and wrote journalistic essays on the changing scene. These are collected in his book – Badalta Europe.[8] He is a scholar of Russian studies. He wrote a four volume book in Marathi on the rise and fall of the Soviet empire: Soviet Samrajyacha Uday Ani Asta in 4 volumes, winning the Kelkar prize.[7] His book Lal Gulag is a collection of his articles on communist Russia and China.[9]


Talwalkar contributed articles in English to newspapers including The Times of India,[10] The Telegraph (of Calcutta), The Illustrated Weekly of India, Frontline magazine, The Mainstream and the Deccan Herald and Asian Age.[11]

He regularly wrote articles in Marathi for a literary magazine Lalit. After retirement he wrote a regular column – Saurabh – in Lalit each month on books & other topics such as 400 th anniversary of saint Ramdas Swami. These articles are published by Majestic prakashan under the title Sourabh, vol. 1 & 2. Grantha Sangati is another collection of his book reviews published by Popular Prakashan.

He has received the Durga Ratan and B.D. Goenka Awards for excellence in journalism, and the Ramshatri Award for social justice.[citation needed]

After retirement, Talwalkar wrote regularly for the daily, Divya Marathi and weekly Sadhana and occasionally for Maharashtra Times and other Marathi newspapers, and in English for rediff.india.[citation needed]


  • Doctor Ziwagocha Itihas Marathi article in Monthly Lalit,Diwali issue,2015.
  • Subhash babuncha Kaavya-shastra-vinod:Marathi article in Mauj Diwali issue,2015
  • Govind Talwalkar. Gopal Krishna Gokhale: his life and times. Rupa and co, 2006. ISBN 978-81-291-0877-7 Exotic India (bookshop) Rupa and co (publishers)
  • Govind Talwalkar. Bāḷa Gaṅgādhara Ṭiḷaka. Mumbaī: Mǎjestika Buka Stǎla, 1977. WorldCat
  • Open Library (LISTING of 11 books published by Talwalkar)
  • He has written 25 books. The list of his books in Marathi:[12]

Tilak Darshan; Vachta Vachta; Agralekh; Parikrama; Niyatishi karar; Virat dnyani: Nyaymurti Ranade; Abhijat; Badalta Europe; Prasangik; Granthasangati; Pushpanjali vol 1 & 2; Akshay; Bahar; Vyakti ani vangmay; Soviet samrajyacha uday ani asta, vol 1–4; Lal gulag; Agnikand; Bal Gangadhar Tilak; Navroji te Nehru; Nek namdar Gokhale; Manthan; Iraqdahan; Bharat ani jag; Sourabh; Sattantar: 1947, vol 1–3.

  • His books in English – Gopal Krishna Gokhale: Life and Times.[13]


  1. ^ a b c d e MANASE Biography of Govind Talwalkar by Raj Thackeray (Maharashtra NavNirman Sena) Retrieved 20 October 2011
  2. ^ Amche Vachaspati Baba : Govind Talwalkar – article in Lalit magazine, July 2005
  3. ^ Amche Vachaspati Baba : Govind Talwalkar, published in Lalit magazine, July 2005
  4. ^ Amche Vachaspati Baba, an article on Govind Talwalkar, published in Lalit magazine, July 2005
  5. ^ Veteran journalist Govind Talwalkar passes away
  6. ^ Datta, V.N. (6 August 2006). "The Sunday Tribune:Spectrum". A gentle colossus. The Tribune of India. Retrieved 20 October 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Mouj prakashan
  8. ^ Majestic prakashan
  9. ^ Popular prakashan
  10. ^ "Times of India: Govind Talwalkar". Govind Talwalkar (contributor). The Times of India. Retrieved 20 October 2011. 
  11. ^ "Asian Age: Govind Talwalkar". The Asian Age. Retrieved 20 October 2011. [permanent dead link]
  12. ^ given on the cover his book Bharat ani Jag, published by Mouj prakashan
  13. ^ published by Rupa & Co

External links[edit]