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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Tribute to Cho Ramaswamy

To many of us, since a few decades, the week would not be complete without reading this magazine – only for its founder, editor and alas, this becomes the last issue.

Muhammad bin Tughluq was the Sultan of Delhi of Turkic descent through 1324 to 1351. He was born in Kotla Tolay Khan in Multan. His wife was the daughter of the Raja of Dipalpur. All of us heard of him so many times, though not too keen students of history.  Back home, Muhammad bin Thughlaq, a comedy film hit the screens in 1971,  directed and written by Cho Ramaswamy. It was the movie  version of the stage play of the same name. Both the play and the film were conceptualized, written and directed by Cho who also starred as the title character. The film is a satirical take on the then political and social affairs of India and is considered a fine portrayal of the political attitude existent till today.

Cho Ramaswamy founded magazine named it ‘Thuglak’ - has been the editor of the magazine ever since and has penned several columns. The magazine features on its front cover a satirical cartoon, pertinent to an issue of current social and public interest – many a times, donkeys have adorned its cover page.  The magazine reportedly stopped for 2 weeks during emergency and when resumed it had a black front cover.  Thuglak was the only magazine in India, whose advertisements were also censored during this time.

Cho was a real multi-faceted genius.  His comedy rolls had him speaking madras bashai – his legal acumen was flawless.  Sad, Journalist, political analyst and satirist Cho Ramaswamy died today morning  at Apollo Hospital in Chennai, where he was admitted. He was 82. He is survived by his wife, a son and daughter. A former BJP Rajya Sabha member Ramaswamy was ailing for some time and was in the hospital.

Srinivasa Iyer Ramaswamy Called as Cho Ramaswamy -  actor, comedian, character actor, editor, political satirist, playwright and dialogue writer, film director and lawyer – political advisor and man respected by millions is sadly no more.   His popularity in the Tamil Nadu literary circles is mainly due to assessment of political issues, and the audacity with which he published his viewpoints.  Many politicians have been some of the targets of his editorial attacks.  

Cho's plays, though staged some decades back, still remain fresh in the minds of the people. Cho's satire, which scrupulously stays away from personal animosity or vulgarity, hold immense appeal. The plays advise, comment, expose and tickle and tease only to correct but never to hurt any individual or institution. His dramas provide clean and wholesome entertainment to the family. Cho S. Ramaswamy's plays have set a trend for Tamil theatre, especially in political satire. 

"Judgement Reserved" is about a sensational court case, exposing the crass hypocrisy and opportunism of the elite segments.

Tamil World will certainly miss this great gentleman who always spoke truth. His commentaries on Hinduism and Mahabaratham will remain great pieces showing indepth knowledge, imparting tradition, culture and values to youngsters.

With profound regret – S. Sampathkumar

7th Dec 2016.

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