January 2015 \ Diaspora News \ Diaspora—Gulf
Sunny Kulathakal

Every once in a while an individual is born, who by his sheer energy and enthusiasm, shakes up the world and influences thousands of others to wake up, take note and act. Sunny Kulathakal is one such individual. After serving the nation’s leading publications as a journalist and an author, he went on from India to the Middle East and set about co-ordinating activities to help the less fortunate of the NRI and PIO community tide through hard times and benefit from a collaborative awareness of opportunities and solutions. Walking the talk, he uses his acres of land back home in Bangalore and his flagship venture Sunliz Publications, to pursue nature friendly initiatives and employment generating projects. A vibrant personality brimming with positive energy, Sunny and his wife Elizabeth have nurtured Sunliz Publications to the status of an iconic publishing house across the whole of the Middle East

A vibrant childhood and a self made man

Sunny’s childhood was an eventful array of incidents which spoke of the man in the making. Leadership was ingrained into his DNA and visible to all when way back as a 15 year old, he became a working committee member of Balajanasakyam focussed on identifying and nurturing future leaders. In fact he later succeeded none other than the current Kerala Chief Minister, Mr. Oommen Chandy, as its President.

In 1962, as a 17-year-old, Sunny wanted to host a reception for former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in Maramon, Kerala. But Mrs Gandhi was in the middle of a heated election campaign and the Congress candidate Raveendra Varma wouldn’t allow it. Sunny persisted and threatened to block the former PM’s motorcade all by himself, by standing in the middle of the road. Varma had to relent. Impressed by his teenage exuberance, C.M. Stephen, former Union Minister, who was in the entourage, introduced him to Mrs Gandhi.

After completing post-graduation in Economics from St Berchmans’ College, Changanacherry, Kerala, Sunny joined the editorial team of a leading Malayalam daily. But the restless soul in him sought greener pastures and the penchant for social work took him to the YMCA where he had an eventful stint as Secretary. In fact it was the YMCA stint that brought Sunny to Bangalore, when he first came to the city he would later call his home in India, in 1967 for a training program.