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16 Jan 2021, Edition - 2013, Saturday

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Coimbatore

Cho Ramasamy – courageous journalist who lampooned the high and mighty

U Bharath

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“Political analyst Cho Ramasamy was a multifaceted personality and one of the few journalists who openly criticised the Emergency imposed by the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in the late 70s. He had his magazine “Tuglaq” published with a black cover signifying the dark days of the Emergency, which stands for his journalistic courage,” said GC Shekhar, a senior journalist who had a two-decade-long association with Cho.

Cho even lampooned the Congress Government for the postage stamp released in honour of Sanjay Gandhi after he died in a plane crash. He published a similar stamp in “Tuglaq” for Captain Subhash Saxena (who died in the crash along with Sanjay Gandhi) and noted, “If Sanjay Gandhi deserves a postage stamp in his honour, so does Subhash Saxena.”

Later Cho told me that he received a letter from Mrs. Subhash Saxena thanking him for the honour.

Recalling another incident from Cho’s life, “Once thespian Sivaji Ganesan was invited to watch a play staged by Cho’s Viveka Fine Arts. After watching the play Sivaji, who spoke on the occasion said, “I noticed that all the actors delivered their dialogues to perfection, but may I request them to learn acting too.”

Though Cho Ramasamy was affected by Alopecia universalis, an autoimmune condition which led him to lose all the hair on his scalp and body, he took it in his stride and never complained. “He often had to paint his eyebrows with an eyebrow pencil, but he wasn’t in the least perturbed by the condition,” Shekhar said.

Cho’s brand of humour and satire were said to be unique, which he showcased in his films as biting political satire. Often he would take humorous digs at himself, which according to the late humourist is humour at its best.

His legacy in journalism would continue as the famous columnist Gurumurthy is all set to take up the editorship of “Tuglaq,” which Cho had edited with passion since the 1970s.

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