Satire's Doughty Donkey

Outlook|January 27, 2020

Satire's Doughty Donkey
The first Tamil political magazine is still going strong after 50 years of poking fun at power
G.C. Shekhar

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.

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January 27, 2020