Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, lauding political satirist and editor Cho Ramaswamy for having mastered the art of satire and humour, said “both are needed to build bridges betwwen communities and societies”.
“That Cho had mastered the art of satire, humour and irony need not be overstated. His satire made his criticism loveable even to those he criticised.
“I think we need more satire and humour. Humour brings happiness in our lives. Humour is the best healer. The power of a smile or the power of laughter is more than the power of abuse or any other weapon. Humour builds bridges instead of breaking them,” said Modi in his address, delivered via video conferencing to the “47th Thuglak Anniversary – A Tribute to Cho Ramaswamy” in Chennai.
“And this is exactly what we require today – building bridges. Bridges between people. Bridges between communities. Bridges between societies,” he added.
Describing Cho as one of the most multi-faceted personalities he had ever come across, Modi said: “He was an actor, a director, a journalist, an editor, a writer, a playwright, a politician, a political commentator, a cultural critic, a highly talented writer, a religious and social critic, a lawyer and so much more.”
“Of all his roles, his role as the editor of the ‘Thuglak’ magazine was the jewel in the crown. For 47 years the ‘Thuglak’ magazine played a stellar role in the cause of safeguarding democratic values and national interest,” he added.
“‘Thuglak’ and Cho – it is difficult to imagine one without the other. For nearly five decades, he was in charge of ‘Thuglak’. If someone has to write the political history of India, he cannot write it without including Cho Ramaswamy and his political commentary.”
Modi also said it is easy to admire Cho, but it was not very easy to understand him. “To understand him, one needs to understand his courage, conviction, his sense of nationalism which went beyond parochial, regional, linguistic and other divisions,” he said.
“His greatest achievement is that he made ‘Thuglak’ a weapon against all divisive forces. He was fighting for a clean and non-corrupt political system. In that struggle, he never spared anyone,” he added.
Modi further said:”In my opinion, his thought and contributions were not merely limited to Tamil milieu and Tamil people. He inspired many generations of aspiring journalists and politicians spanning many societies in India.”
“And all of us know that ‘Thuglak’ magazine was not a mere political commentary. It was the ears and eyes of millions of Tamil people. Cho, through ‘Thuglak’, was the connecting bridge between masses and rulers,” he added′