Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Cartoon Capers

Cartoons give a funny yet striking view of life around us. Humour is an important component of existence. It is our ability to laugh at ourselves that defines who we are. Right from independence we have had graphic communicators in the form of Vijayan. Keshav, Laxman, Abu and others who painted our society in satire and parodied the wrongs. One cannot imagine a newspaper without its front page political cartoon. It adds a different dimension to the news (facts) and views (opinions).
Many cartoonists have been in trouble in the past. But there haven't been any major source of apprehension about this freedom to express. Today, things have taken on ugly turn. Cartoonists, one after another are facing arrests. They have been charged with serious crimes for using the medium to make important political statements. The latest causality is Aseem Trivedi, who caricatured the corruption that is eating into the very entails our system. He was charged with sedition for denigrating the national symbols. People who have looted the country are going scot-free and those protesting against that are being jailed.
Freedom is always fragile. Interested groups are willing to go to any lengths to stop being exposed. Freedom of expression is sacred, not the symbols we are told to revere. It is extremely heartening to see so many reasonable people protesting Aseem's arrest. If we give up our right to defend our rights, we may as well lose them.