Debate on ‘Line of Control on Line of Cartoons’ organised jointly by the Kerala Cartoon Academy and the Thiruvananthapuram Press Club in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday

When the discussion was on line of control on cartoons, a sketch on the occasion had to do something with controls and defiance. And V.T. Balram, MLA, drawing a cartoon of Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan, with the latter watching him solemnly, made most of the occasion to depict the veteran stepping out of the LoC of the party.

Mr. Balram had a sly smile on his face as he signed the cartoon, showing Mr. Achuthanandan, stern face, folded dhoti and all, with one foot precariously stepping out of the LoC, depicted by the CPI(M)’s hammer, sickle, and star lying like rope around his legs. Amidst the continuous flashes from cameras,

Mr. Achuthanandan slightly strained his neck to have a look and then smiled, immediately extending a handshake to Mr. Balram before leaving with the customary wave to the audience that sat with bated breath to see his response.

That was the quintessential Mr. Achuthanandan for the cartoon world, always tolerant and despite being almost a daily subject for cartoons, enjoying the sketches, as he himself said while inaugurating a debate on ‘Line of Control on Line of Cartoons’ organised jointly by the Kerala Cartoon Academy (KCA) and the Thiruvananthapuram Press Club here on Monday.

Intolerance

Intolerance to criticism was increasing and even reaching a stage of violence, Mr. Achuthanandan said adding that there was a need to examine why some cartoons, like those of R.K. Laxman and Shankar that got into controversy recently, several decades after they actually appeared in newspapers, were being targeted. Mamata Banerjee had started the trend, he said, even arresting a lecturer allegedly for spreading cartoons of her among his friends. This was one of the most serious attacks on freedom of expression after the Emergency, Mr. Achuthanandan said, adding that the trend was dangerous for democracy.

He himself, the Leader of Opposition said, was a regular subject for cartoonists in the print media, but he had never felt angry and actually enjoyed these, considering them only as opinions of the cartoonist or the media in which they appeared.

Cartoonists Toms, Sukumar, Sudhirnath, and KCA chairman Prasannan Anikkad and others spoke.