He is at it again – something that Sudhir Tailang knows best — drawing cartoons and poking fun at those in the corridors of power. This time he has made corruption the core theme of his book of cartoons.
From Narasimha Rao to Jayalalitha to Laloo Prasad to social evils like communalism and role of money in elections, all find mention among 150 caricatures in the book.
Titled ‘India on Sale', this is his seventh book that was launched in the Capital on the weekend. Interestingly, among those present were senior leaders from three political parties — Kapil Sibal from the Congress, Ravi Shankar Prasad from the BJP and Sitaram Yechuri from the CPM.
Tailang, who has over the years made a name for himself as cartoonist for several mainstream newspapers, started caricaturing at a tender age of 10. He recalls with nostalgia, “My first cartoon was printed in 1970 in a newspaper. I was paid Rs.5 for it. By the time I turned 13, I had hundreds of published cartoons in my kitty. At 14, I got a letter from Manohar Shyam Joshi, the editor of the weekly newspaper Sapatahik Hindustan. He asked me to draw a series of cartoon on corruption. Thinking I was very senior, he addressed me as ‘Respected Mr. Tailang…' I didn't even know what corruption meant, so I asked my mother. She cited some examples of what used to happen at ration shops, banks, government offices and so on, adding, ‘when you grow up, you will understand on your own'.”
Following his mother's explanation of corruption, Tailang sent five cartoons to Mr Joshi and they all got printed. From the Rs.25 he received, he bought a pair of sunglass and “went to watch the film ‘Jhuk Gaya Aasman' at night with sunglasses on!
That was in the late 1970s but many of the issues that he caricatured 30 years ago, for instance Delhi's pot holes and the pathetic conditions in government hospitals, still hold water.
The trigger for his current book came from Anna Hazare's movement. “I thought it will fizzle out soon but the movement swelled in size and stature, so I decided to bring out this book. I am not bothered whether Anna's movement succeeds or fails but for me he became a symbol of a hope as it saw huge response from all across the country,” explains Tailang.