14 May, 2021

Laugh, Riotous Politics!

A first look at ‘Wit and Wisdom’, a new compilation from ‘The Parsee Punch’, a London ‘Punch’ clone, published from 1854 to the 1930s.

Laugh, Riotous Politics!

The Parsee Punch, a London Punch clone, was published from 1854 to the 1930s. A first look at Wit and Wisdom, a new compilation by Mushirul Hasan. Here, he writes for us on politics and humour.

‘Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand’, wrote Mark Twain. Many of our leaders during the freedom struggle enjoyed sketches, photographs and cartoons. “If I had no sense of humour,” Gandhiji said, “I would long ago have committed suicide.” His humour was gentle and sympathetic. He ridiculed human folly in general rather than attack specific persons. Jawaharlal Nehru was pleased to see an exceedingly beautiful picture by Boris Georgiev, a Bulgarian artist, representing an Indian peasant with all his misery and resignation. He knew Shankar the cartoonist well and found him very “nice”.

Maulana Azad has some passages of great satirical ingenuity in his Urdu writings. The intellectual diversions that engaged his liveliest wit and those of...

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