My excitement on being invited diminished as soon as I began to scan through the cartoons I had drawn in 2009 to select the best three.
One fine morning in February this year, while checking my mail, I found an invitation from the Indian Institute of Cartoonists (IIC), Bangalore in my inbox. VG Nagendra, managing trustee, IIC requested me to participate in the Maya Kamath Memorial Awards (MKMA) for Excellence in Cartooning, 2009 and send them three of my best political cartoons.
My excitement on being invited diminished as soon as I began to scan through the cartoons I had drawn in 2009 to select the best three. There were thousands in the files. Going through them was a tedious task. So I put off the whole exercise for sometime later. “The deadline is March 31. There is still more than enough time,” I thought.
From the next day, it was back to business as usual. There were hundreds of absurd things happening, demanding that I respond to them through my toons. There were deadlines to meet and by the beginning of March I almost forgot about MKMA. In the last week of March, I got a call from a very senior cartoonist. While talking he mentioned MKMA and urged me to participate. There were only four days left for the deadline. So I decided to randomly choose three cartoons.
The first cartoon I chose was about Varun Gandhi giving hate speeches during his poll campaign for the 2009 General Elections. I was deeply disturbed by Varun’s speech. It was disgusting to see a young politician on television talking in highly objectionable language. I wanted to come up with some thing equally strong in reaction. Through this cartoon I tried to make a point about Maneka Gandhi, his mother and an advocate of animal rights, who was trying to defend his son at that time.
My second entry was a cartoon depicting Vijay Mallya, an industrialist well known for his high-flying lifestyle. When he bought some Mahatma Gandhi memorabilia for
$1.8 mn in New York and brought it back to India, everybody was very happy.
But as a cartoonist, I was amused by the fact that the belongings of a person who lived his entire life propagating prohibition, was brought back to his country from an auction by a liquor baron. My last entry was on the cartoonist turned politician Bal Thackeray. All his life known as a ‘tiger’, the senior Thackeray was getting old and losing his grip not only over his party and voters but also over his family members. I did this cartoon when his one-time close daughter-in-law criticised his party's policies in a newspaper interview.
I was delighted when I heard that Girish Karnad, one of the jury members of the contest, used the word ‘panache’ for my Thackeray cartoon while declaring it a winner. I’m eagerly looking forward to visiting IIC, Bangalore today, June 18 for the award ceremony and invite all our readers to join me there.
DNA cartoonist Manjul Kishore won the first prize at the Maya Kamath Memorial Awards for cartooning