Cartoons, corruption, sedition

What the cartoons are is representative of the Indian middle-class, such as it is, and whatever anger the middle-class has against politicians, and bureaucrats, and ‘corruption’. This is the definition of political satire. And the state locking the cartoonist up for the crime of satirising the people running the state is the definition of totalitarianism.

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You may have read about Aseem Trivedi, a cartoonist from Kanpur, was the latest victim of India’s ban-fetish. Trivedi, to boot, faces life in jail for sedition under a British era law whose existence, more than anything he did, calls into question India’s democratic credentials.

Trivedi is also the founder of ‘Save your Voice‘, a movement for freedom against internet censorship.

His website was blocked last year for hosting ‘objectionable content’ — a term so vague and vacuous that only the Indian government can use it without flinching. He moved all his cartoons to the Blogspot blog after this.

Below are two of the cartoons he has been arrested for. There’s more of the kind on his blog.

Now, the cartoons may not be to your taste. They may not be respectful of the powers that are. I don’t even think they are particularly good. (Or all that subtle.) They paint the black and white picture of corruption that Anna Hazare and company are so fond of. What the cartoons are is representative of the Indian middle-class, such as it is, and whatever anger the middle-class has against politicians, and bureaucrats, and ‘corruption’. This is the definition of political satire. And the state locking the cartoonist up for the crime of satirising the people running the state is the definition of totalitarianism.

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