Recently a few of my schoolmates approached me to talk about my cartoons. They were alarmed by the kind of aggressive attack my cartoons are receiving on Facebook. They asked me to be careful and slow down a bit if necessary. I was touched by their concern. But this alert reminded me about the hatred that cartoons on Modi sarkar attract., which I always ignored.
Few weeks ago, my wife came to know about the abuses, insults, attacks that I receive from trolls for my political cartoons. She was concerned and suggested innocently, why don’t I draw cartoons on other subjects like sports, instead of politics!
You are all aware of this vicious, uncivilised attack on my cartoons on social media. But there’s another kind of attack, from the editors, publications which only cartoonists are aware of. They argue, fight, adjust, compromise and continue to contribute cartoons in spite of suffocating atmosphere.
During the last few years, I was told by few editors not to draw cartoons on RSS, not to draw ‘strong’ cartoons on Amit Shah and Narendra Modi, avoid drawing cartoons on cow, judiciary and religion! One publication went to the extent of saying that their media group has decided not to publish any ‘community-based cartoons’
So, that leaves me with just Rahul Gandhi!
(Before Modi Sarkar, there was one regional newspaper which asked me to avoid drawing cartoons on Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi)
The positive side of this trend is, they are scared of cartoons. The negative part is they are snatching more subjects/topics from cartoonists. This isn’t just my story. I’m sure many other cartoonists swallow the pain silently.
I love this profession. Cartooning is like my breath. I can continue to draw ‘safer’ cartoons and survive. But that will kill me slowly, if I’m not doing justice to this fantastic art form.
Irrespective of political parties governing, this trend to throttle independent voices will continue.
So, what’s the way forward? Can cartoon lovers still get to see fearless, neutral cartoons? Can cartoonists still afford to draw fearless, neutral cartoons?
Then I was fascinated by the idea of Patreon as suggested few cartoon lovers.
Can a creative person be funded by people, so that the independent voice continues to thrive?
Experience of many creative persons all over the world, suggest that this could be possible.
This is a long-term experiment of offering subscription-based cartoon experience. Cartoon-lovers will have a unique advantage here, as well as they will do their bit to support independent voice.
Of course, this may not suit everyone, because many of them are used to the idea of freely available cartoons on social media. Some may not be able to afford this. They will continue to get my cartoons on social media like earlier.
But the subscribers can expect unique cartoon experience after subscribing. That’s the promise.
Hope lots of cartoon lovers will support this initiative.
There are two platforms to subscribe.
If you are on Paypal, you can use Patreon to subscribe.
If you’re comfortable doing net banking or card payments, there’s Payumoney platform.
Once you subscribe, please send your whatsapp number to [email protected]
Thanks for your valuable time.