Tag Archives: cartoons

This, that and other cartoons: Prabhat Kumar

Guest post by PRABHAT KUMAR

I wish to intervene in the ruckus over usage of Shankar’s cartoon in the NCERT’s political science text book. At the outset I want to clarify my personal impression (although inconsequential!) of the book and the cartoon therein. I feel the textbook in general is pedagogically superior to the previous ones for it does not infantilise young students as lacking critical ability. I also believe, as Aditya Nigam has rightly pointed out, it has accorded Ambedkar the status of a leading political and intellectual figure so far ignored. The cartoon in particular, both in the context of the narrative of the textbook as well as of its production in 1949, is not attacking Ambedkar the crusader of Dalits’ rights.

Continue reading This, that and other cartoons: Prabhat Kumar

When Laughter becomes a laughing matter: Statement by CSSSC Faculty Members on the Cartoon Controversy

Going by the ruckus surrounding cartoons these days, by the angry, at times violent, reactions of elected lawmakers against any kind of caricature of prominent personalities, it seems ‘laughter’ itself has become a laughing matter in contemporary India. And, this indeed is puzzling. The emerging trend of automatically equating lampooning with character assassination, of treating every expression of joviality targeting persons deputed by people to run the republic as being fundamentally slanderous and libelous, cannot but result in undermining the nation’s democratic charter.

Those who now readily question the public right to parody celebrities or icons are also guilty of forgetting that India has a long tradition of producing social and political commentaries in the form of hilarious visuals and words. The lack of sense of humour of persons at the helm of power today is so profound now that we may very soon lapse into a state of amnesia in relation to the deeply admired and dearly loved cartoonists, such as, Gaganendranath Tagore, R. K. Laxman, K. Shankara Pillai (better known as Shankar), Attupurathu Mathew Abraham (known popularly as Abu Abraham), O. V. Vijayan, Mario de Miranda (better known as Mario).

It is on behalf of the ‘little men’, from whose perspectives the celebrated cartoonists dared to make light heavy-going matters, that we condemn the somber Indian politicians’ and their lathi-wielding goons’ zeal to persecute persons committed to the cause of irony, irreverence and critical humour in public life.

Tapati Guha-Thakurta

Sibaji Bandyopadhyay                                                                     Lakshmi Subramanian

Indraneel Dasgupta                                                                        Sugata Marjit

Manabi Majumdar                                                                           Jyotsna Jalan

Dwaipayan Bhattacharyya                                                          Prachi Deshpande

PranabKumar Das                                                                           Priya Sangameswaran

Rosinka Chaudhuri                                                                        Anirban Das

Saibal Kar                                                                                           Somnath Ghosal

Bodhisattva Kar                                                                               Partha Chatterjee

Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta (CSSSC)

May 14, 2012