Trivandrum: The best mode of efficient communication always comes in with assistance touch of humour. Humour is what makes humans human and the cartoons of Kesava Shankara Pillai, or simply 'cartoonist Shankar', eternal. A three-day event being held at Kanakakunnu Palace commemorates the legacy of cartoonist Shankar through a display of his cartoons and with a national level seminar on cartoons, which took place on Tuesday, July 31.
V R Ajith Kumar, the Deputy Director of Information and Public Relations, in his welcome speech, mentioned the need of initiating a special observance of the date of July 31, in honour of the memory of cartoonist Shankar.
“The Nehru House in Delhi, where he had established the Children's Book Trust and International Dolls Museum, haven't done anything to commemorate the birth anniversary of this great man. I strongly feel that something should be done every year on his birthday to show our respect to him; as someone born and educated in our state, it is our duty towards him.”
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly G Karthikeyan, however didn't seem to share the same kind of enthusiasm towards the suggestion...
“The day will become special if the Government and the Cartoon Academy will continue to hold this event on an annual basis,” said the speaker, as a way of reply.
However, G Karthikeyan had things of more serious nature to talk about the cartoons appearing in today's newspapers.
“Freedom is the main ingredient that is missing in today's cartoonists and in the cartoons that they draw. Every major media, be it channels or newspapers, carry vested interests and the cartoonists employed in these media are forced to flex their talents according to the guidelines and instructions. Just like pure news has become extinct, pure cartoons too have faded out from the newspapers.”
K Shankar was one among the most influential personalities in India post independence, whose strokes with his brush conveyed to the millions speaking different languages and following different cultures, the true state of affairs in Independent India.
Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of the nation and one of the chief architects of modern India, was his favorite political figure and has been featured in more than a thousand of his cartoons.
K Shankar's cartoons educated the nation about what was going on behind the scenes between the Indian leaders and representatives of the Queen's empire before Independence. Always standing firm on the neutral platform of the common man, Shankar's cartoons could also be intensely critical and many have given rise to controversies – some back then, some even now.
“Indian cartoons begin with Shankar,” said Surendra, cartoonist of 'The Hindu', who gave the keynote address for the occasion. “Standing here, I do not think I am worthy enough to speak about someone like him; he is the reason that all of us are cartoonists.”
K Shankar has been a recipient of the Padma Shri award in 1956, Padma Bhushan in 1966 and the second highest civilian honor of Padma Vibhushan in 1976. His cartoons always sympathised with the ordeals of the poor and the depressed. Through his masterful strokes using brush and paint, Shankar was instrumental in guiding a nation that was suddenly left to itself, after three centuries of colonial rule, to be the biggest democratic nation in the world.
The three-day event would end on Wednesday. The concluding session is to be inaugurated by the Minster of Planning, Rural Development and Culture, K C Joseph