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Saturday, 14 January 2017

PM Modi's Homage To Cho S Ramaswamy Turns Political Event

[580 words]

From TSV Hari

Southern Features & News Service Exclusive

Chennai, January 15 [SFNS]: Lavish praise from Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi etched the uniqueness of the late journalist, satirist, dramatist and political guru Cho S Ramaswamy at the 47th annual meet of the weekly news magazine Thuglak here Saturday.

It was a major political event. Chennai's premier concert hall - the Music Academy was full. The crowd spilled on to the parking lot of the southern metropolis's Mecca of classical music. 

If someone has to write the political history of India, it cannot be done without including Cho Ramaswamy and his political commentary,” Modi observed.

Terming Cho’s December 7 demise a ‘personal loss,’ Modi pointed out that India had lost an intellectual “who offered invaluable wisdom to whoever came his way.

Modi pointed out that Cho had incredibly turned adversity to advantage. The instance of miscreants pelting eggs at the editor who in turn asked his tormentors not waste them but supply omelettes instead recalled by the PM had the audience in splits.

Paying encomiums to the magazine and its editor, Modi said, “Thuglak had become a weapon against divisive forces”. “Cho would carry views hostile and abusive of him in his magazine,” the PM added emphasising on the democratic character of Cho.

India’s highest paid ‘superstar’ Rajnikant supplied funny moments in a somewhat restrained speech which also quietly touched on the financial brain of the late editor and also of Cho’s successor – auditor Swaminathan Gurumurthy.

“Several years ago, when cricket’s Indian Premier League began, Cho advised me to buy the Chennai cricket team franchise – then costing only a few lakhs. I turned it down. I now know it is worth several thousand crores,” the thespian said, causing commentator Sumant C Raman – seated in the front row to squirm.

Raman has been supportive of one of cricket’s modern-day alleged villains – N Srinivasan.

It was the turn of RSS ideologue Gurumurthy to frown when Rajnikant made a clear reference to the “consultation charges” of the auditor. “People faint when they hear the figure,” the actor said.

In his acceptance speech, Gurumurthy pointed out that Rajnikant is India’s highest paid actor. “When compared to what Rajnikant charges for a movie, my fees would be a very minor figure. For me, editing Thuglak could entail lesser income. But, it is a historically necessitated responsibility bequeathed to me by Cho,” Gurumurthy averred.

The new owner of Thuglak – Varadarajan – who runs the successful Kumudam Group had his tense moments as well.

Without naming the state’s political upstart Sasikala, Gurumurthy revealed that ‘friends were advising to take it easy’ on the ongoing political imbroglio in Tamil Nadu.

Significantly, Kumudam group’s weekly “Reporter” has a soft editorial stance towards TN’s indirect ruler VK Sasikala and her husband Natarajan – which is diametrically opposite to the line being pursued by Gurumurthy.

Speaking from a prepared speech in English, The Hindu scion N Ravi recalled two instances of Cho’s humorous methods of journalism that disarmed his adversaries.

When the crowd began melting, a few journalists were heard remarking in a cynical tone that that ‘though a PM in harness addressing a homage meet of magazine editor was unprecedented, the political milking of the apolitical Cho’s legacy had begun’.


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  1. dear hari sir, nicely narrated Thuglak weekly magazine's annual function.

  2. Dear Sir,

    Thanks for the wonderful piece on Cho after the Thuglak anniversary. Modi is right perhaps in stating that political history cannot be written without the contribution of Cho as a political commentator. Rajankinant's speech marked the centre of attraction. He should have listened to Cho and opted for the purchases of CSK franchise. Gurumurthy, if one goes through the earlier Thuglak issues was reluctant to accept the Editor post in Thuglak, considering the money and time factor. Like Cho, he is all rolled into one, but it seems, Gurumurthy is under the apprehension that Thgulak work will prevent him from earning adequate money from his other interests. About the Hindu, Cho always had a grievance that they have not reported the proceedings when Thuglak magazines were seized by the DMK regime before the 1971 Lok Sabha and assembly elections. Cho wrote, how even Vali and M.S. Viswanathan had to work for his film 'Mohammed Bin Thuglak' under tremendous pressure from MGR, as the DMK was united then. Valli even went to the extent of telling him that he cannot incur the wrath of MGR for his sake. Kumudam Varadarajan, is also known for his double-tongue. If one goes through the Kumudam editorial or articles, it is careful in not antagonising Stalin, but will project Karunanidhi as their deadly-foe. Varadarajan's opposition to Karunanidhi is mostly due to the latter's support to his one-time partner 'Jawahar Palaniappan', if I am not wrong. We knew, how in 1970s and 1980s, especially during the tenure Indira Gandhi, Kumudam and Thuglak were at loggerheads. Many times were confused at that time over the editorial stance of both the weeklies. If Kumudam went out of the way to defend Indira and Sanjay Gandhi, Thuglak saw to it that they were opposed vehemently. It seems, Varadarajan's father, Parthasarathy was a staunch admirer of Indira Gandhi. Cho never believed in celebration of birthdays and observance of death days, as according to him, there was nothing special in it, as we are supposed to born on any particular day. Why should not Rajanikant, Gurumurthy and Varadarajan follow is austerity measure by staring with shunning aside birthdays. It is true that nobody can replace the indispensable Cho in Thuglak, but if Gurumurthy is not inclined to continue, it is better for some other staffer to take the mantle on his shoulder, as a mark of tribute to Cho, whose loss is irreparable to the nation. The readers will be missing his columns, especially, question-answer badly, but whether we like it or not, the reality cannot be disowned.
    Thanks and regards,

    1. Thank you, Venu, as always you are very kind to me