Thursday, May 23, 2024

Akademi stands up to Vijayan’s govt. in Kerala

No praise is too high for Kerala Lalithakala Akademi for standing up to the repressive move of Pinaryi Vijayan’s Left government in Kerala and refusing to withdraw the award it had conferred on KK Subhash for his brilliant cartoon.

NewsBred happily concedes that it misreported on Akademi succumbing to Vijayan government’s pressure as it was taken in by the fake news published in Hindustan Times.

Under the pressure from the Christian clergy, CPI-M led state government had asked the Akademi to review its decision to award the cartoon. The Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council had protested against the award, saying it insulted religious symbols of Christianity.

The cartoon, drawn by Subhash is a caricature of Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar diocese who has been arrested on charge of serial rapes on a nun. Following his arrest in September last year, Mulakkal was removed from his post.

The cartoon (see the picture) is a brilliant work of art. Mulakkal is depicted a rooster trampling the police cap, propped up by his supporter MLA PC George and an approving PK Sasi of the CPI(M) who himself has been accused of sexual harassment. Both the bishop and Sasi are wearing the same headdress, implying “cock” of the same feather. A beaming bishop is upholding the crosier (staff) strapped by a pink-coloured lingerie while a bunch of nuns are running for cover. The cartoon’s caption– “Vishwasam Rakshati” (Your Faith Will Save You)–is the knockout punch.

This one cartoon is enough to know everything concerning Mulakakal and the alleged over a dozen rapes he committed on a nun for two years (2014-2016) while he was Bishop of Jalandhar. Kerala Police sat on the case for months before a public outrage left them with no option but to knock at the door of Mulakakal. Vijayan’s government, by transferring investigating police officials, played its role of a laggard to a perfection.

Indian Express reports that after a council meeting of the Akademi, an autonomous body, Chairman Nemon Pushparaj said the Akademi’s executive and council has unanimously decided not to review to the jury’s decision to choose the cartoon for the award.

Kerala Lalithkala Akademi upholds the tradition of the state producing some of the best cartoonists of the country. PKS Kutty and Shankar Pillai are two names which instantly come to mind.

“Almost every newspaper in Kerala has a front-page cartoon and sometimes inside as well,” said seasoned Indian Express cartoonist EP Unny in an article celebrating Kerala’s cartooning centenary in Bhashaposhini, a Malayalam literary journal published by Malayala Manorama. 


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