Mr. Muraleedharan, in his presidential address, spoke of how a mere glimpse of Shankar’s cartoons would reveal the political situation in India, pre-Independence, during and after.

A grim memorial service was set to be under way at the Kanakakkunnu Palace, with dignitaries making their usual pronouncements about the personality being honoured. But with laughter evoked by the recollections made by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and K. Muraleedharan, MLA, of comic renderings of themselves and of events past, the programme on Tuesday evening, part of a three-day event commemorating cartoonist Shankar on his 110 birth anniversary was one befitting the artist.

Mr. Muraleedharan, in his presidential address, spoke of how a mere glimpse of Shankar’s cartoons would reveal the political situation in India, pre-Independence, during and after. He described a cartoon that came out in 2001, mocking him. “On meeting with cartoonist later, he asked me if I was angry with him. On the contrary, I quite enjoyed it,” recalled the MLA.

“A cartoon can be deemed respectable, if it effectively points out the flaws in the actions committed by a politician. But at the same time, if it demeans the person involved, then the cartoon loses its quality,” he said.

The Chief Minister spoke highly of Shankar for the standard he set for other cartoonists to follow. “The speciality of cartoons is that they have the ability to reach out to the people more effectively than an entire page of words,” Mr. Chandy said.

He also stressed the need for the attention to detail and close scrutiny, mentioning an instance when he was shown wearing a watch, when he never usually does.

“A call for the construction of a memorial and a cartoon academy has come up. I have discussed the matter with Cultural Affairs Minister K.C. Joseph. Necessary measures will be taken, possibly in coordination with the Kerala Lalitakala Akademi,” the Chief Minister said.

Mr. Joseph said lack of space in the city was a constraint to constructing a memorial.