Sudhir Tailang, a famous political cartoonist, is known for presenting, in a unique style of caricaturing, politicians in unsparing satire, laced with wit and vitriol.
For those who do not know, Sudhir Tailang began his professional career as a cartoonist in 1982 when Smt Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister. He found that she ?fitted the slot reserved for cartoons quite naturally: a pointed nose, a white strip of hair, a rudraksha mala and a snooty attitude. That'swhat made Indira Gandhi the darling of cartoonists?There was something beyond her external features, something that was outside the reach of a camera ? from her dictatorial streak to her arrogance?No politician has been able to replace her since!?
Sudhir Tailang has drawn some nine Prime Ministers and many other politicians but his favourite has been PV Narasimha Rao, with ?flaring nostrils, the lovely pout, the long sleeves of his kurta.? His second favourite is NDA'sprime ministerial candidate LK Advani, with ?his bald pate, tooth-brush-like moustache and bushy eyebrows?.
This book contains about 150 cartoons focusing essentially on Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, as the cartoonist finds that Dr Singh is not a run-of-the-mill politician. Through his cartoons, he tries to show that the Congress leader'sLeftist allies never allowed much elbow room for him to manoeuvre and made life miserable for him (there is a cartoon depicting Manmohan Singh sleeping under the bed while CPM leader Karat is reading a newspaper on which is printed, ?Honeymoon over but marriage will continue!?); his boss Sonia Gandhi never loosened the reins and so he remained just ?a sidekick in my earlier cartoons? ( in a cartoon Sonia Gandhi sits on a large chair in the centre of the table but Manmohan Singh sits at the side like a small man in a small chair. Sonia Gandhi is shown reading a newspaper saying ?No two power centres ? Sonia?). Sudhir says that he never imagined that Dr Singh would reach the pinnacle of power.
Tailang draws many cartoons on the Indio-US Nuclear Deal which was Dr Manmohan Singh'sobsession (in a cartoon, Dr Manmohan Singh is shown sending the signed nuclear deal to George Bush while a minister is saying to him, ?Smart move, sir! They?ll never plant a mole in the PMO to get our nuclear secrets ? We?ve already given them all.? The cartoonist adds, ?It had been a matter of life and death for him ? much more important than even his government. That'swhy he made his government get rid of the major stumbling block ? the Leftist allies.?
Tailang seems deeply affected by the effects of terrorism in the South Asian region. He depicts a terror-hit and bandaged Dr Manmohan Singh taking a photograph of Pervez Musharraf who in his army uniform is propping up a dummy of himself as a victim of terrorism to show that he too is affected by it, when in reality he is a party to it. Dr Manmohan is shown telling him to stop smiling but frown.
The book can be finished in a single sitting; it, however, gives a glimpse to show why Sudhir Tailang receiving the Padma Shri for his life'sworks in 2004.
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