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`Veracity of Tilak`s audio clip matter of faith`

Even as a record collectors` group said a rare recording of `Lokmanya` Bal Gangadhar Tilak`s voice is fake, the late freedom fighter`s family maintained that the clip is accurate.

Pune: Even as a record collectors` group said a rare recording of `Lokmanya` Bal Gangadhar Tilak`s voice is fake, the late freedom fighter`s family maintained that the clip is accurate and should be accepted in good faith.

On August 24, Tilak`s booming voice echoed at a jam-packed gathering in Pune 92 years after his death.

In the 90-second clip, Tilak chides a noisy crowd and urges silence at the start of a music concert featuring legends such as Master Krishnarao, Bal Gandharva and Devgandharva Bhaskar Bakhlebuva.

The concert was held during the Ganeshotsav celebrations in Pune`s Kesariwada are September 21, 1915.

However, the Society of Indian Record Collectors (SIRC) claims the voice in the recording is not Tilak`s.

Countering the claim, Tilak`s great grandson Deepak Tilak said thay had furnished newspaper clippings and cited references from books to prove the genuineness of the audio clip.

"It is in our good faith to accept it to be that of Lokmanya Tilak`s," said Deepak Tilak, who still lives in the family`s ancestral house in Kesariwada.

He said a businessman from Karachi, Sheth Laxmichand Narang, had recorded his great grandfather`s voice.

Narang had an expensive hobby of recording all the concerts and music programmes he attended, said Deepak Tilak.

The Kerasi Ganeshotsav of Kersariwada was a popular event in Pune`s cultural calendar and Narang, when invited, came with his recording machine, said Deepak Tilak.

He said the recording stayed preserved and was recently passed on to him by Sheth Laxmichand Narang`s grandson Mukesh Narang.

But SIRC member Rajan Thakurdesai claims there are many discrepancies in the story.

He said on Friday that according to memoirs of Master Krushnarao, who sang during the event, Tilak was present at the 1914 Ganeshotsav and not 1915 event as claimed by the recording.

But Deepak Tilak told a news agency on Saturday that Kesari newspaper listed the event on September 21, a Wednesday.

Thakurdesai, however, said Kesari was a weekly and was not published on Wednesdays.

To this, Deepak Tilak said Kesari had announced the event and he still had a copy of it.

Thakurdesai also questioned the recording process. He said till 1925, only acoustic recorders, as large as a wardrobe -- were used for live concerts. He said it would have been difficult for Narang transport such a huge device from Karachi to Pune.

On this, Deepak Tilak said the recording might have been transferred from one medium to another and experts should find out how.

He said it was "saddening" and "disappointing" to hear that a recording given to him in good faith was being considered fake.

"This is not a matter of money or copyright. It (the recording) has high emotional value. Besides, there is no way to ascertain whether the voice belonged to my great grandfather. It is a matter of faith," he said.


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