Cartoonists in Chennai decry arrest of Aseem Trivedi - The New Indian Express

Cartoonists in Chennai decry arrest of Aseem Trivedi

Published: 12th September 2012 08:54 AM

Last Updated: 12th September 2012 08:54 AM

The arrest of Aseem Trivedi has raised the hackles of cartoonists in Chennai, most of whom are angry that such an action was taken against a creative person. The episode, apart from evoking strong views, has also stirred the creativity of some cartoonists, particularly who do it out of passion and upload the images on social networking sites. The

result: Facebook has a plethora of cartoons reflecting the general mood.

Chennai-based Sreeram, who is also a Kravmaga expert, has uploaded three cartoons after Trivedi was arrested. The first one shows a woman with a baby in lap (Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi?) and sitting on a throne getting annoyed as among the band of men fanning her, one holding a painting brush.

The second one shows a mouse with a brush frightening two cats curling up together. The latest one, however, shows a cartoonist at a police station wishing to be arrested as it might help him in his career.

Speaking to City Express, Sreeram said that charging Trivedi with sedition was too much. Calling it an over-reaction of the Mumbai police, he said disrespect to national symbols cannot be taken as sedition. He also said that the incident should be an eye-opener to other cartoonists, who should be careful while dealing with national symbols as subjects. For, the message that they would like to send across could be lost when such issues like disrespect to national symbols were raised.

Cartoonist Bala said that no cartoonist can bring dishonour to the nation more that the politicians who swindle people’s money. “It is corruption and communal politics that are lowering the image of the nation more than any work of a cartoonist,” he said.

S Mathikumar, the popular staff cartoonist of Dinamani, who signs as ‘Mathi’, was very vocal in expressing his anger. He said it was totally undemocratic. Besides, it is cartoons that provide an insight into the feelings and aspirations of the common man to the rulers. By stifling such creative work, rulers would only cut themselves from people, which, in a democracy, would only lead them to disaster, he said.

On the whole, the incident is indicative of politicians’ intolerance, he said. Muhilan, another cartoonist who draws for some magazines and is also an activist, said that the ruling class was always out to suppress free expression at any cost. Recounting the troubles he faced when he organised an exhibition of his cartoons against Coca Cola in 2001, he said people in power were always intolerant to criticism. He even recalled the killing of a cartoonist, Irfan Ali, and said the ruling class would go to any lengths to silence critics.

Another amateur cartoonist, Rajkumar Palanichamy, who regularly uploads his work done through photoshop on Facebook, raised a very pertinent question in a recent post. By putting together a collage of  three of Trivedi’s cartoons, including the one that landed him in jail, Palanichamy said: “Cartoonist Aseem Trivedi likely to be punished for expressing his view on Indian ‘DemoCrazy’. What is wrong in these cartoons if the message conveyed here is true”.

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