THEEKKATIR has completed its Golden Jubilee on 29th June 2013. Now it is advancing towards its Diamond Jubilee on 2023. It was a rough and tough journey throughout the years. Theekkatir was born as a weapon for the ideological fight within the Communist Party of India. The pioneers of that idealogical fight, named the paper as THEEKKATHIR, which means ' the spark of fire'. The word was derived from 'ISKRA' , a Russian newspaper which had been managed by Comrade Lenin. ( Iskra (Russian: Искра, IPA: [ˈiskrə], the Spark) was a political newspaper of Russian socialist emigrants established as the official organ of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP). Due to political repression under Tsar Nicholas II, it was necessary to publish Iskra in exile and smuggle it into Russia. Initially, it was managed by Vladimir Lenin, moving as he moved. Iskra's motto was "Из искры возгорится пламя" ("From a spark a fire will flare up") — a line from the reply Alexander Odoevsky wrote to the poem by Alexander Pushkin addressed to the anti-tsar Decembrists imprisoned in Siberia. The editorial line championed the battle for political freedom as well as the cause of socialist revolution. The paper also ran a number of notable polemics against "economists", who argued against political struggle in favour of pure trade-union activity for the worker's economic interests, as well as the Socialist Revolutionaries, who advocated terror tactics. As outlined by Lenin in What Is To Be Done?, Iskra took the place of a central project to cohere the RSDLP nationally.) It was It was June 29, 1963 when Theekkathir was started as a weekly organ from Chennai with the fund collected by Coimbatore mill workers. Its first editor was Comrade Arputhasamy, fondly called as Appu. When the Communist Party of India (Marxist) was formed in 1964,Theekkathir became the official organ of the Party's Tamilnadu state committee and its regular edition was launched in 1969 at Madurai, a stronghold of the Party. Theekkathir became a daily newspaper in 1971 with headquarters at Madurai. The paper's second edition was started from Chennai in 1993. It was inaugurated by Comrade EMS Namboodiripad. Its third edition, in a multi-colour form, was launched from the industrial city of Coimbatore on May 23, 2007. It was inaugurated by CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat. The fourth edition from Tiruchirapalli was inaugurated by CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury on September 5, 2010. Digital Edition of the paper was launched on 23rd February 2012 by Prakash Karat, General Secreatsry of the party at Nagapattinam.
From the very first day, Theekkathir established itself, in a militant and vibrant journey, as an organiser of the Party and as a spokesperson in the political-social history of modern Tamil Nadu. It played a crucial role in the history of class struggles of the working class in Tamil Nadu for the past 58 years. Under the editorship of the veteran leaders of the CPI(M) M R Venkatraman, N Sankarish, K Muthiah, and V Meenakshi Sundaram, W R Varadharajan, V.Parameshwaran the daily's contributions for the buildup of the Party, class and mass organisations as well as imparting Party education have been priceless. In this connection , Theekkathir is remembering the veteran leaders, who dedicated themselves for the growth of the paper, late Comrades P. Ramamurthi, M. R. Venkatraman, A. Balasubramaniyam, A. Nallasivan, R.Ramaraj, A.Abdul Wahab, N.Varadharajan, S.S.Giri and V.Sundaram. The newspaper had to undergo strict censorship during Emergency from 1975-1977. Despite the restrictions, the newspaper could conduct and active campaign against Emergency. During the time, Theekkathir was published without an editorial which symbolized the people’s strong resentment towards the government. The paper was the first to trigger a public debate on the dangers of globalisation in the country. Detailed reports were published on the future dangers in each sector. The newspaper introduced to the public anti-globalisation campaigns in different parts of the world. Theekkathir also takes pride in forecasting the possible destruction of Babri Masjid by Sangh Parivar forces. The Indian Government’s subservience to the US in nuclear policy and the dangers of the Nuclear Agreement with that country were revealed by “Theekkathir”. Communist newspapers helped Tamil Nadu to retain the spirit of the fight and stride towards commendable social development. Theekkathir also fights against the trend of portraying anti-socials as gentlemen with the help of mainstream media. Ideologies which take side with people’s interests will only have the ultimate win. The present-day experience prove that the stand of Communist newspapers were quite relevant in the context of social progress. Communist media in Tamil Nadu have a great tradition of helping and preserving social progress. This tradition helps Theekkathir to expose contemporary issues and to make use of scientific and technological advancements for people’s welfare. Modernisation will only help the newspaper to effectively reach out to the people and take up their issues. Now the paper is run by Toiling Masses Welfare Trust, Tamil Nadu under the publishership MNS Venkattaraman and the editorship of C.Ramalingam, both are state secretariate members of Communist Party of India (Marxist), Tamil Nadu state committee.
HISTORY OF PUBLICATION
- 1963 June 29 : Theekkathir started publication as a weekly organ from Chennai.
- 1969 March : Theekkathir regular edition launched at Madurai
- 1971 April : Theekkathir became a daily news paper
- 1973 November 7 : Theekkathir statred publishing from its new building at Madurai
- 1987 November : Theekkathir started printing by a new web offset machine, launched by EK Nayanar, the then Chief Minister of Kerala
- 1993 November 7: Theekkathir Chennai Edition launched by EMS Nampoodhiripad, the fromer Chief Minister of Kerala
- 2007 May 23: Theekkathir Coimbatore Edition launched by Prakash Karat, the then general secretary of CPI(M)
- 2010 Theekkathir Tiruchirapalli Edition launched by Sitaram Yechury, current general secretary of CPI(M)
- 2012 February 23: Theekkathir Digital Edition launched by Prakash Karat