Mark Twain is believed to have said, ‘Humanity has unquestionably one really effective weapon—laughter. Power, money, persuasion, supplication, persecution—these can lift at a colossal humbug, push it a little, weaken it a little, century by century, but only humour can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.’ Urdu literature has had an illustrious history of humour and satire which can lay claim to a rather robust repertoire of writers and poets of this genre. However, if one were to name the most prominent of them from the early and mid-20th century, Shaukat Thanwi would certainly figure high up on the list. From novels and short stories to radio drama and newspaper columns (and even some occasional songs and a film), his works spread across a relatively wide canvass.
October 2017, volume 41, No XLI