Government to consider setting up a memorial to cartoonist Shankar

The government will consider the Kerala Cartoon Academy’s proposal to set up a memorial to cartoonist Shankar, Finance Minister K.M. Mani has said.

He was inaugurating a three-day exhibition of Shankar’s cartoons and seminar at the Kanakakkunnu Palace here on Monday.

“Cartoonist Shankar is one of the legends of the country, but it is doubtful whether he has been bestowed with accolades befitting his stature,” said Mr. Mani, adding that the government would take all steps to promote the cartoonist’s works.

The exhibition was organised to mark the cartoonist’s 110 birth anniversary.

Mr. Mani said Shankar’s cartoons spoke about the political scenario in the country during the Nehruvian era and after. He asked the large number of students who were present at the inaugural function to enjoy the wealth of the cartoonist’s work. Schoolchildren, including those from Manacaud Higher Secondary School, Carmel Girls’ Higher Secondary School, and Karthika Tirunal Government HSS were present.

Cartoon Academy chairman Prasannan Anikkad told The Hindu that Shankar’s work should be promoted as the new generation was largely unaware of how skilfully the cartoonist portrayed complex political situations during the Nehruvian era. Moreover, “the relationship between Shankar and Nehru [the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal] was very unusual.” Despite the fact that a majority of Shankar’s satirical depictions were at the expense of the Prime Minister, Nehru applauded his work. A close bond as such between a cartoonist and a high-level politician was not apparent elsewhere, he said.

Mr. Anikkad said the pen and brush, which used to be the cartoonists’ main tools, had been replaced by more refined and sophisticated equipment that allowed cartoonists to redraw and enhance their creation.

Mr. Anikkad said the academy was keen on associating with schools to conduct workshops and classes, besides organising cartoon-drawing competitions. The academy hoped to coordinate with the Department of Education before bringing out a structured curriculum for the purpose.

A workshop and demonstration on the ‘Modern Techniques in Cartoon Drawing’ was led by cartoonist G. Hari and Triambak Sharma, editor of ‘Cartoon Watch.’

Three documentaries —‘The Devil of Delhi,’ ‘Don’t Spare Me, Shankar’ and ‘Eminent Cartoonists of India-Shankar’—will also be screened as part of the exhibition.

Speaker G. Karthikeyan will inaugurate a national seminar on Tuesday.

The event jointly organised by the Kerala Cartoon Academy and the Department of Information and Public Relations will come to a close on Wednesday.