The school textbook cartoon of BR Ambedkar which created a furore in parliament on Friday was sketched by cartoonist Keshav Shankar Pillai in the 1950s while the Constitution was being framed, said a human resource development ministry official.
Shankar, as he was popularly called, later founded the publishing house, Children's Book Trust, in 1957. He made cartoons for newspapers and his magazine, Shankar's Weekly, started in 1948. The government of India honoured him with Padma Shri in 1956, Padma Bhushan in 1966 and Padma Vibhushan in 1976.
The controversial cartoon was probably first published in 1948 and has been a part of NCERT's (National Council Of Educational Research And Training) Class XI textbook in Tamil Nadu since 2006. The cartoon is credited to Children's Book Trust.
It shows Ambedkar, a Dalit leader and creator of the Indian Constitution, seated on a snail with 'Constitution' written on it and India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, whipping the snail. In the background is a crowd.
Several groups in Tamil Nadu have been demanding the removal of the cartoon from the textbook and punishment to those responsible for its publication.