21 October, 2020

Cho's 'Thuglak' -- 50 Years Of Poking Fun At Power, Donkey Style

Cho Ramaswamy's 'Thuglak' was the first-ever Tamil political magazine. It continues to be a top draw for its ability to make fun of politicians and their never-ending stories of faux-pas

Cho's 'Thuglak' -- 50 Years Of Poking Fun At Power, Donkey Style

Cho Ramaswamy launched Thu­g­lak in January 1970 with a cartoon of two donkeys on the cover, promising them a steady feast now that the magazine had arrived. Many expec­ted the magazine would prove to be “a donkey diminishing into an ant before disappearing”, as a popular Tamil phrase goes. But Thuglak, named after Cho’s fam­ous Tamil play Muh­a­m­med Bin Thuglak, a roaring political satire, has been as doughty as a donkey. There were a few more covers with India’s most verbally abused animal during the first Tamil political magazine’s 50-year journey as Thuglak became an inseparable part of Tamil ­Nadu’s Dravidian-dominated pol­itical narrative. Brahmins might form the bulk of its loyal readers, but no major politician could aff­ord to ignore its contents, especially when Cho was around.

Thuglak used to be a prized poss­ession of student leaders during the 1970s and one issue would go around our hostel before the next one hit the...



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