“ I love cartoons. I love sarcasm “ Strange, ironical, you might frown when you get to know that these big words were from a politician, Mr.Ananth Kumar, Union Minister of Culture and Tourism. The occasion was fitting, almost perfect for such remarks to fill the art: Inauguration of the Indian Institute of Cartoonists.
For the Governor, Mr. V. S. Rama Devi, who launched the institute, a cartoon was something special, something more of medicine. She gave her verdict, ‘ A cartoon is a silver coated pill given to every politician”. O f course, rarely do the details pass the intense scrutiny of cartoonists eye and politicians are invariably subject to their sarcasm and humor.
For the launch function, the members of the institute decided to change that norm and let the guests try their hand at cartooning. “Press scrutiny is most welcome”, that is Anabnth Kumar speak for you again. The ma in question believes criticism is a strict yes-yes in a democracy. A curve is said to be the cartoon of straight line but in case of politicians there is no trace of a straight line – that should be he statemen of the year.
Cartooning that is an art which was introduced in India by the British, and has come a long way. Today, cartooning is an integral part of every newspaper. A cartoonists has to be alert and sensitive. “The greatest thing about a cartoon is that it inexorably brings a smile on your face”, feels Publicity, in the Krishna Cabinet.
Perhaps, the time is just right for the bigwigs of the field, the cartoonists of name and fame to speak up, comment, make value judgments, “ Each days cartoon depends largely on the cartoonists state of mind and how his day has been”, says Mr.Mario Miranda, the Goan artists.
Bangalore's own man, the stylish greyhound of cartoonists Poonappa had a word of caution, “ It (the institute) is good beginning” he was sure, “But we should see to it that not too much money is spent on it so that we can concentrate on art”.
Nice things sometime come bity and in the end, “ The Ministry of Culture will accommodate the Institute in the National Gallery of Modern Art”, Mr. Ananth Kumar promised. The ministry, he continued in the same vein, was prepared to give the Institute a grant of Rs.15 lakhs if the State provided land. Cartoonists, who says, they only make you laugh!
The Hindu – 9th June 2001