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HindustanTimes Thu,10 Jul 2014

Cartoonists strike back with online show on Didi

Snigdhendu Bhattacharya, Hindustan Times  Kolkata, April 17, 2012
First Published: 00:37 IST(17/4/2012) | Last Updated: 00:38 IST(17/4/2012)

If Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee thought Professor Ambikesh Mahapatra's arrest would make spoofs go away, she was wrong.

The move has only endeared her to the nation's cartoonists.

On April 14, within 24 hours of the arrest, the Kerala Cartoon Academy (KCA) -- a 30-year-old organisation with over 100 members -- launched an exhibition on Banerjee on its website keralacartoonacademy.com.

“The arrest was a clear assault on the minimum democratic right of freedom of expression,” wrote cartoonist and KCA chairman Prasannan Anikkad in his invitation. By Tuesday, 49 cartoons were displayed at the site.

While most deal with the arrest of Mahapatra and sacking of former railway minister Dinesh Trivedi, others target Banerjee's relation with the UPA government.

Pruning chapters on Karl Marx from history textbooks and banning newspapers from libraries were popular topics too.

One cartoon titled Apur Censor (an allusion to film-maker Satyajit Ray’s Apur Sansar) shows Banerjee with a handcuffed child on her shoulder.

Another depicts Banerjee telling Trivedi, “Ask not what you can do for the country. Ask what you can do for the party.” In yet another, Kolkata has been declared a “no-fun zone”.

The pick of the lot, perhaps, is by DR Sringery, in which a man contemplates the Trinamool Congress symbol. “Didi, it looks like a cartoon, shall we ban it?” he asks.


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