A personality of untiring activeness
Dr George Onakkur
Sunny Kulathakkal signifies heartfelt love. He is the symbol of relentless efforts and hard work. An optimism that never gets lost in the face of odds is success secret. This good friend has enough to be genuinely proud of when he attempts introspection in the noontime of his life.
I first got aquatinted with Sunny when he was a student and at a time when he was the President of the Malayala Manorama Balajana Sakhyam.He was the successor of Oommen chandy in that much celebrated post. He thus became the centre of attraction of the young. I also used to take note of his name and photos appearing in the Manorama daily and had rated him as a great promise of the future.
I naturally expected that Sunny would land in politics and reach the leadership front very fast. But he had opted for a broader spectrum of activity. Motivated by humane love Sunny became the head of YMCA. He presented noted performances in Ernakulam and Thiruvalla. Organised seminars and training programmes for the Youth. He became the guiding force of a generation of energetic and active youth.
The role played by Sunny in building a headquarters for Thiruvalla YMCA was historic.. Subsequently he was appointed as Assistant Development Director of the United Theological College in Bangalore. And very soon he became its Director.
It is only accidental that the earthquake of crisis occurs while stepping from one step to the other of progressive growth. It might also be the great calling of the destiny. Sunny who became a victim of personal animosity did not waver in the face of adversities. He faced it all alone. Shunning the cozy comforts of life he gained the strength for a test of fire.
Then it was as a free lance journalist Sunny Kulathakkal had appeared later. He was in the forefront of all the agitations of the Malayalees of Bangalore for their genuine rights. He could also easily become a significant force in political and administrative echelons. It was while venturing into preparing a series on the issues being faced by the Gulf Malayalees, the novel idea of compiling a Gulf Directory hit his mind. He also launched a publication titled “Gulf Asian Magazine”.
Sunny’s Gulf Directory is a commendable and distinctive contribution. This reference manual introduces rulers as well as politicians. This assumes more importance in the wake of Globalisation. Thus Sunny’s field of activity is growing and flourishing in both Gulf countries and Bangalore.
Sunny’s individuality is also bright as an author, especially in respect of three books-The World of Drugs, The World of Prostitutes and The Story of a Martyr. These books are testifmonials to his ability to closely observe and evaluate facts. Apart from this Sunny has published several articles of contemporary relevance both in English and Malayalam.
What makes Sunny dearer to me is his loving mind which always reacts to contemporary realities quite powerfully. More correct would be to say that he is one who runs around with love. He is least bothered about his status and comforts. Sunny is there to help any who requests for it. There he never takes into account one’s social or financial status. He may be a job seeker approaching with lot of expectations, a top person in the ruling hierarchy, a person from any part of India or even from abroad. Sunny is there for everyone, everywhere with his self less mind and energy.
Sunny might be entering into the latter half of his life. But the youthfulness of his mind is still blazing as a mid-day sun. I am optimistic of a bright future wherein Sunny’s personality of persistent activeness is recognized and honoured even more.
The propriety of publishing as a book, the different articles written by Sunny Kulathakkal at various occasions is quite commendable. The book is full of the recollections of how he had overcome a lot of tough experiences and negative situations through his hard and sincere efforts after his migration to Gulf through a little bit of political clout after his initial stint as a journalist in India. It is commendable that he found time to care for his family matters while struggling to build up his future. One of his distinctive contributions was the Gulf directory which he compiled for the benefit of Gulf Malayalees while he was in the Middle East.
I consider that this series written in beautiful and stylish language without a tinge of exaggeration on several subjects of interest to the ordinary people are highly informative. There is no doubt that this book will give an interesting and informative reading to the Malayalees in Gulf and especially their relatives back home. I would also like to particularly point out that the Keralites and Non resident Malayalees are equally obliged to him for this venture.
I had the fortune to acquaint and earn the love of Sunny Kulathakkal who is entering his 60’s as a generous host, a dynamic organizer, a selfless person in the service of public, and a pot filled to the brim with knowledge gained through wide reading and true life experiences. But it was only through the touching life sketch written by my friend George Onakkur, I learnt that it was with clarity in ideologyth and hardwork as his only assets he has reached his 60th birth day braving on the way many odds like “stone, dirt, thorn and fierce cobra” to borrow the language of Appan Thampuran. With this realisatrion, let me say that my love and respect towards him has doubled. This book, which is just going to be published, too was an added reason for my feelings towards him getting doubled. What takes Sunny closer to the readers is not just the fact that he writes in such a beautiful and simple style as if in an encyclopedia about a variety of subjects which apparently do not have any connection among them. Whether it is about Martin Luther King, life of prostitutes, the Christian shrine of Tirupathur, the Salar Jung Museum of Hyderabad, the menace of drugs, transcendental meditation or visit to the Himalayas, there is a red thread linking them. It is nothing but the humaneness in him. It is this very humaneness that made him a YMCA activist, a partner of movements which propagate liberation theology as well as attracted him to leftist politics. Even those who have met him at least for once might have felt the cool gentle breeze of humanness in him.
Don’t we happen to see Christ who walked to Calvary bleeding from the wounds inflicted on the crown of thorns hammered down on his head and meekly suffering the spitting, lashing and frown is now being given the colour of the white man and lead in procession with golden crown and golden cross and in glittering attire? But the real Christ was the saviour and liberator of all those who were sidelined like lepers, the downtrodden, the oppressed and debtors in the society. Even amidst this festive clout attached to Christ in modern times, sincere efforts to rediscover the real Christ who tirelessly traveled through the length and breadth of his country giving solace and good advises to the oppressed, discarded and the suffering lot was a distinctive feature of the dawn of the Socialistic era. For these reasons it is not surprising that Sunny in his high voltage ideological passion of the youthful days was lured into services and organizations having a basic Christian approach. His subsequent swing towards the much broader leftist ideology can be described only as a continuation of his Christian social service legacy of the earlier days. This compilation of articles as a whole is true mirror of his ideological transformation.
For example take the case of his touching and highly meaningful article titled “a few tears for the hapless women” itself. The question whether Mary Magdalene was a prostitute which surfaced with the discovery of the “Gospel of Maria” in 1896 assumed the nature of fierce controversy debated across the globe after Dan Brown’s novel “Da Vinci Code was published. Whatever it is, the social and philosophical connotation of Christ the Lord washing away the sins of the deer eyed Maria who pleaded “Though I have done what I should not have, please don’t despise me” during the supper at Simons beautiful chamber cannot be ignored. All priests and leading reformers had always been compassionate to harassed women. Sunny was also influenced by this great humanitarian bend of mind. His wonderful book on prostitutes is an excellent reflection of this fact. Let me quote a few lines from chapter 8 of the book.
“Oh World, shed tears for the prostitutes who die due to venereal ailments in the stinking drainages of the society after dispensing pleasure to man. Prostitutes are angels, they are sages, and they are goddesses, shed tears for them” this plea is from the pen of M Mukundan. Those who have directly heard and read prostitutes’ “confessional secrets” which have the “dampness and taste of tears” would never hesitate to shed tears for them. Whether just tears are enough for those thousands of young women who are spending their days and nights within the confines of bird like nests behind iron railings with stories that have the sour taste of tears is a different question. Many of those hapless women who had to lead an immoral life after being cheated by bogus romance might deserve respectful sympathy. What they could tell are not just the heart rending stories of a sinful life and the pathetic condition of the dirty drains on which they had been drifting. Also they need not consider the offensive things they had commited in their cursed life are all wrong. To them the border line between right and wrong will be very thin. (Page 60)
Many of the articles in the book reflect Sunny’s intense passion towards the great Indian traditions and his boundless respect for the legacy of the motherland’s struggle for freedom. The attempt made during the 1563 Udayamperoor Synod by the Portuguese imperialists along with their representative Bishop, Menesis to uproot the ancient Christian church moored in the Indian soil and the scent and transform it into a foreign faith as well as the later attempt to replant and nurture the Christian Church back in the soil of the Mother land through the resistance movement of Hunchback cross oath (Koonan Kurisu Sathyam) of 1653 are two indelible chapters of History. In the article titled “The Christian Shrine of Tirupathur” one could feel the reverberations of the nationalism and national pride reflected in the oath of “Hunchback cross”. In the same way, Tippu Sultan was a freedom fighter who made a strong offensive against the British imperialist occupation of India. After Tippu’s killing in the Battle at Srirangam, The British annexed Mysore to their empire and shifted Tippu’s family members to Calcutta and settled them under the British supervision. After Indian independence they did not have any problem to return to their native place of Mysore. Sunny’s National pride is quite eloquent in his article telling the story of the return of Tippu’s grandson who finally returned to Mysore.
Translation: Saj Mathews