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Between the lines

Anger is the force that drives Irfan's political cartoons

“I have always desired to do something for voter awareness since I see that, nowadays, the youth tend to be more interested in cricket and entertainment rather than in politics. With my art I want to show the power of the vote: every citizen, during elections, is a star for one day and it is only through participation that things can be changed,” says political cartoonist Irfan Khan about his solo cartoon exhibition held at the Lalit Kala Academy recently.

The gallery displayed more than 100 cartoons drawn over the years with the aim of showing that the vote is the bedrock of every democracy, and the reasons why every citizen should exercise its power.

The message is clear and there is no propaganda in it: there are no endorsements for a specific party but only for the exercise of voting, the focus is not on who to vote for but just on the vote. “Cartoons are a powerful instrument of communication and, also, of education,” Irfan adds. “Since we are children we are exposed to cartoons and they are a form of art with which it is easy to relate.”

Asked how he came to be a cartoonist, Irfan says it came to his mind when he was young and felt the necessity to give his opinion about controversial aspects of the political life of the country.

“Since I do not approve of the use of violence, I wondered how I could raise my voice, how I could facilitate the empowerment of weaker people. And I decided to draw my anger,” he elaborates.

Despite the often ironical style, in fact, there is anger against injustices behind his political cartoons. Until now he has always felt free from censorship while drawing political and satirical cartoons that make fun of politicians, but the fear that this can change does not abandon him.

“Sometimes, the risk of drawing satire is that you are accused of being an anti-national artist, while satire is nothing more than an expression of the freedom of thoughts, and no political leader should be untouchable,” states Irfan.

Not everyone seems to accept irony these days, especially supporters of parties who often “post very rude comments on social networks after the appearance of satirical cartoons” on their leaders, says the cartoonist.

Irfan and his cartoons do not spare anyone, but, as he himself confesses, he derives a lot of fun from drawing cartoons featuring L.K. Advani and his long and unfulfilled expectation of becoming Prime Minister.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 1:39:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/between-the-lines/article5985705.ece

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