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Dear Friends,

We are living in times where groups which win the battle of media often succeed in serving their purposes/propaganda. Our founders had expected that media shall stand as a fourth pillar of Democracy to make it vibrant. Media shall provide power to the people and make them believe in Democratic principles. Reality however did not encompass the expected. This fourth pillar of Democracy, instead of standing up with people as a fourth underpin, as a fourth guard is apparently dominating even the other three pillars. Instead of strengthening the people, it is often making them weaker, helpless and undermining the essence of Democracy. Media, therefore cannot be ignored now. It is an inescapable fact of life. Ravish Kumar of NDTV India says, "Sanchar madhyam bimar ho gaya hai, aur wah janta ko bhi bimar kar raha hai".

Architect of Indian constitution, Dr. Ambedkar's below thoughts are relevant and apt here. He says, "Journalism in India was once a profession. It has now become a trade. It has no more moral function than the manufacture of soap. It does not regard itself as the responsible adviser of the public. To give the news uncoloured by any motive, to present a certain view of public policy which it believes to be for the good of the community, to correct and chastise without fear all those, no matter how high, who have chosen a wrong or a barren path, is not regarded by journalism in India its first or foremost duty. To accept a hero and worship him has become its principal duty. Under it, news gives place to sensation, reasoned opinion to unreasoning passion, appeal to the minds of responsible people to appeal to the emotions of the irresponsible. Never has the interest of country been sacrificed so senselessly for the propagation of hero-worship. Never has hero-worship become so blind that as we see it in India today. There are, I am glad to say, honourable exceptions. But they are too few and their voice is never heard".

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We, a group of young Indians in Mumbai began our journey with the Initiative of 'New India Debate society' in 2014 with the below idea in mind:

New India debate society has been making an attempt to interpret and comprehend Ambedkar in a holistic manner trying to locate the missing thread of 'his nationalism'. This we do and shall continue to do so in a strict academic discipline and hence the initiative has been considered only as an academic pursuit with no ulterior motives of any social or political action.

Though, we were always of a mind that we will welcome any action springing out as a result of this exercise which would give India a push towards its ultimate destiny – a destiny common for all the elements of the national life.

In line with the said thoughts, we lately came up with the idea of IFIL - INDIAN FIRST INDIAN LAST.

ABOUT IFIL:

IFIL - (which may also be read as I-Feel) is an initiative which envisages to generate and provoke a kind of Public conscience among Indians which rises above the closets of Caste, Creed, Religion, Language, Region, even Nationalism and creates a mindset to fight against any form of Injustice.

Meaning of I-FEEL(IFIL) is that 'I am Sensitive'. I feel the joy and pain of each Indian and I pledge to stand-up for the people in need with full sincerity.

IFIL also means 'I-FILL', I shall determine myself to fill the expected democratic and progressive leadership which at present, is regretfully lacking in Indian society.

IFIL initiative shall time and again continue to put forth various activities, programmes, demonstrations, symposiums, events workshops, lectures et al.

We intend to launch the IFIL initiative with one such activity. We have organised a demonstration 'In solidarity with the emerging democratic, progressive voices in Indian media' on Monday, 14th March 2016 at Azad Maidan, Mumbai between ⏰3:00 p.m to 6:00 p.m. ⏰

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Sindhu Sooryakumar, chief coordinating editor of Asianet News TV, threatened, abused after moderating debate on Mahishasur Jayanti

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Sansad Marg on 14 April 2015: Shannon, a young student of journalism, came running towards me. I thought she was approaching me for a selfie, but she wanted to show me a selfie of my profession. She asked a question that had troubled her all morning. ‘Why isn’t Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar on television screens and in the newspapers?’ The media routinely broadcast images of festivals and anniversaries, but when it comes to Babasaheb there is a blackout. Shannon’s question actually hints at a larger concern from which we have insulated ourselves. Though Shannon was smiling, she was also angry. She kept stating, ‘There is such a massive crowd on Sansad Marg, but absolutely no coverage of the event. Even when there are only a few people protesting at Jantar Mantar, the media is there to cover of the issue.’ I could have answered her, but my response would have sounded (and rightly so) hollows  - Ravish Kumar
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" Bheedtantra se Jung mein, hum hai tere sang mein - IFIL"
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" Loktantra ki baat mein, hum khade tere saath mein - IFIL "

This is to express our solidarity and support to some exemplary voices we heard and observed during the tragic Rohith Vemula or JNU episode. These voices (like Ravish Kumar of NDTV India, Nikhil Wagle of Maharashtra One TV, Sindhu Suryakumar of Asianet etc) went against the flow of otherwise Profit-making, Capitalist, Brahminical & populist image of Indian media. Amidst the noise of 'deshdrohi, deshdrohi', these mediapersons gave a voice to the oppressed in unprejudiced manner and discharged their duty of digging out the truth behind the stories. For such courageous journalism (fourth pillar of democracy) and their democratic spirit, they certainly deserve a word of recognition from the responsible citizenry.

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A day comes when you have to take call of your conscience. When principles are more imp than small benefits of life, u become a free bird! - Nikhil Wagle

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Therefore, do join us at Azad Maidan on Monday 14th March 2016 between 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. to be a part of this solidarity demonstration and help us make it a big success.

P.S: The demonstration is not in support of some specific people in media but with all those sincere democratic voices in Electronic, Print or even Social media.

Do contact, Sumedh , Pratik, Kiran, Pathak, Vivek, Anita, Mrs. Geeta, Chetan, Chandrashekhar, Prasad,  and Team IFIL (I-feel) INDIAN FIRST INDIAN LAST  to join the demonstration mail: pratikse_2007@rediffmail.com; .

You can also register through the below Facebook event link.

Demonstration in Solidarity with the emerging Democratic, Progressive voices in Indian media'

2

It is the day for cute messages and wearing your patriotism on the sleeve. It is a day that has increasingly lost meaning for me. We got independence from the British Raj. That was 68 years ago. Are we free?

What does independence mean? Was really racist enough to think that we needed the white skins out? I don't think so. Many freedom fighters too enaged with the world beyond India, got educated in the west. Indeed most of those we bother to remember as leaders of our freedom struggle were. They have continued the thought, the methods, the dysfunctional laws to keep the natives in line.

But if you take a moment to think about it, was this why the Indian masses fought for freedom? Poor starving masses have no ideology. They resist oppression. Their ideology is survival. Their ideology is their right to thrive. Many places had every home throwing up a satyagrahi or a rebel. They did not do this because of inspiring ideologies. They did this because they could not thrive under the British. They did not like being second class citizens, they did not like their wealth being stolen, their grains feeding far off wars while they died in famines. They fought against the British because the British WRONGED them. At the top, those with fancy ideologies, who were rarely poor enough to worry about whether they could survive formed grand theories about how they were the rightful custodians of India. But the Indian masses supported them for the hope to an end of their , not fancy ideologies or even democracy.

These people are still struggling. They are still being evicted from their homes and roots in the name of development that happens elsewhere. They are still providing cheap food so that the subjects of the Raj don't revolt, even as they the drought with their sweat and blood. They are still demanding their rights. they aren't revolting because they don't know how. There are no elite with their ideologies to tell them how to fight this time, because the elite are busy squabbling over the loot from the last time. Besides, there is a danger in reminding the masses that they didn't fight for freedom because the colonists were British - many invaders have ruled India without uprisings. There is a danger in reminding that they fought the British because they were harmed and humiliated. Because they still are.

The danger in reminding people of this is because very little has changed for those who gave uprisings their power. Their living conditions have very little change. Most freedom fighter stories - it is the season now, check them out - still describe the freedom fighters living in poverty, forgotten. These stories talk of India's lack of gratitude for their contribution. But these stories also stand witness that the conditions that led those people to revolt for their freedom still exist. In effect, they achieved nothing for their own realities.

The that made a career out of hyperbolic patriotism as idolizing soldiers evicted protesting soldiers on the day before Independence Day celebrations. The 68th "Independence Day" and soldiers can't even ask for their rights without being attacked by the state. What were they asking for? Their basic rights. One rank, one pension. . An old age without needing to beg from those they put their lives on the line to defend. The country is dotted with struggles. I doubt if there is a single district in all of India without some struggle still going on. Whether it is desperate slum dwellers fighting for their homes, or farmers fighting for something as pitiful as allowing them the income for survival so that they continue to subsidize the food for this colony. A government that is asking people to give up their LPG subsidies never thinks of asking people who can afford it at least to pay the actual cost of what it takes to grow food and profit from it. We hide the harm to farmers, sneer at any effort to make their lives easier as "handouts", while filling our bellies with the handouts from farmers.

Aren't celebrations a bit premature?

India is STILL bleeding money, draining most of the country for the prosperity of a few. Is it even freedom if criticizing the government means being declared a supporter of India's enemies and jeered at and being asked to leave the country? "Go to Pakistan!" Why? Because this is the country of your colonists. Not yours for you to stay here, right?

We have a  poverty line that is so absurd, it is more like a miracle line - incredible people who can survive on nothing. And we still have about a fourth of us living UNDER it. MAGIC. Perhaps we can earn TRPs if we turn it into a TV series. Oh wait they usually don't survive. They exist starving till something they can't afford to cure takes them down. There is a government hell bent on emptying vast swathes of India for the profit making industries with little regard for the people or the forests. We are now redefining things so that they don't sound so terrible. We tweak statistics to make them sound less terrible. We call the cutting down of age old forests as reforestation because surely, someone plants a few saplings somewhere.... Forest dwellers are now the homeless. Massive displacements "compensate" the development hit masses for the loss of their livelihood, their homes, their sustainable communities that were their support structures and nurtured the environment, their sources of food... with pigeon hole housing - because hey, if we give them a home, we just shifted them for progress and didn't really harm them. Right?

Celebrating 68 70 years of complacency over colonization this IndependenceDay

The drought saw young daughters studied till the 12th class come to Bombay to work as prostitutes and send money home instead of dreaming weddings their families can't afford. Parents gave daughters to bride traffickers to feed the remaining family even as trafficked brides get shared among brothers, discarded if the husband dies or no longer wants her. Parents marrying daughters off with just one consideration - that the boy's home is in a place where there is water. There are men marrying water wives to fetch water for their real families. While resorts boast of swimming pools and cities suck up water from hundreds of kilometers away while people nearby die of heatstroke chasing the scarce water tankers. We saw those accused in the irrigation scam give themselves a clean chit while others condemned them. Not one voice spoke of the need to make reparations to those development-hit people denied water for 10 years.

Today is the deadline for providing feedback on Net Neutrality. The government and internet providers are deperately looking for ways to make massive profit from an unequal internet by finding ways to call it equal. The previous feedback seems to have gone into some blackhole and there is a new, short deadline for providing new feedback if you are still planning to persist on fighting for your internet. Poetically, your chance to have a say ends on independence day. Oh and the government has formally declared in court that you don't have a right to privacy, even as your information torrents into big data for someone's profit. With the government's blessings.

The British jailed journalists and editors who wrote to oppose them. Our government has sent notices to on how they were reported. Crimes against inconvenient natives go unpunished. We are actually diluting the laws for whistleblowers making it illegal to expose wrongdoings that the government doesn't allow you to. Propaganda continues to convince the people that the rulers are their best interest, just like the old days.

Does it sound like these people are independent yet? Can a country with most of its people living hand to mouth - if at all - even call itself free? Can a country that denies dignity and income to those who feed it, serve it, protect it be called free? Can a government that silences people critical of it be called a government of the people? General Dyer merely ordered the firing at Jalianwala Baug. The soldiers were Indian. As Indian as our agencies inventing crimes against people who are opposing wrongs by our colonists against the natives.

Picture abhi baaki hain dost, the freedom struggle is not yet over!

Is this independence? Are Indian people really rulers of their country? I don't think so. Independence day is just a PR game for me. The elites telling people they have something precious, even when people cannot experience it. The freedom struggle is not over yet. The so called Independence Day merely marks a change in colonizers. The freedom struggle is still on, invisible, modest but determined all over India where people are STILL fighting an unjust state that is trampling all over their right to thrive on their land.

Old post. Still valid, so no need to write a new one.

There is this niggling thing about the 1993 blasts case that just does not add up. We have Yakub's "confession". We have hanged him. We have evidence about Tiger Memon running the show on the 1993 blasts - manpower, materials, location, the works. What evidence is there against Dawood is not clear to my inexperienced eye. I have not come across anything. Every single interview of Dawood and Chhota Shakeel categorically state that they were framed and completely not involved with the blasts, even in interviews where they claim other crimes with chilling candour "uska kaam kar denge" "ha ha humne hi kya na" "hum smuggling aur gang war karte hain" etc - not the slightest deviation in over a decade. And they have slipped in other places, so rehearsed cunning seems difficult to credit over so long a term. For example, while Chhota Shakeel denied involvement with the IPL, the interviewer successfully used it to goad him into revealing reasons for attempting to kill Lalit .

If there was evidence against Dawood, I doubt that the TV channel research teams would not find it or that the interviewer would not throw it in his face to provoke him further. Still, I understand how Dawood being the bigger don whom Tiger worked for can be presumed to be involved, anyway. And he most certainly left a bloody trail in that got things so hot for him that he had to leave for Dubai well before the blasts - so his killing people in a fit of anger over Babri Masjid is hardly something that cannot be believed. And of course it is believable that the slip ups in the interviews were just a calculated foil for making the denials believable - one thing to confess to attempting to kill gangsters and smuggling money, quite another to admit you killed innocents wholesale in a city where you do "business" (their euphemism for underworld activities).

What is difficult to comprehend is how is how we have reached this point where we hanged someone who *claimed* to be innocent and working to expose the ever since he found out about it and arranged for more accused to return to the country - regardless of whether originally captured or surrendered. I accept that is hardly going to confess that he is guilty (which too many criminals do), but it is less difficult to understand why he would let evidence against himself survive at all - regardless of whether he was surrendering to India or just in the habit of roaming around with proofs on terror attacks. More importantly, even the conviction sees him at best involved with the finances and tickets. 1993 was supposedly Pakistan ISI's first on Indian soil. It is unclear how providing tickets to go to Pakistan implies the person buying the tickets knew what they would be used for. Still, let us say he knowingly did it and was guilty and rightly hanged. Or at the very least knew of it and did not prevent a crime of this magnitude. Complete benefit of any doubt. He's dead anyway. Guilty unless proved innocent beyond doubt makes no difference now.

Over the last few weeks, I have been going through hundreds of articles of coverage of this case. Old ones, new ones, whatever. There is hardly anything on Tiger Memon beyond the confessions of Yakub Memon, and as a mention in articles on after the first year or two when Yakub's confessions were hot. Now this is the man whom we actually have evidence against. And there is this massive silence on him. No particular chases by our intelligence agencies mentioned. No questions in Parliament about his whereabouts, the person who provided concrete proof against him hanged, while his people who planted bombs get life. Dawood is India's most wanted because of the 1993 blasts apparently, yet the person against whom we have concrete proof is never a topic of hot debate. Even our tug of war with Pakistan is over Dawood.

Ajit Doval is fixated on Dawood, as is the state - successive governments, not just Modi. Yakub's hanging comes on the heels of the first attempt on Chhota Rajan's life by Chhota Shakeel since a decade ago in Bangkok. Yet no one seems to have bothered to ask so much as whether Tiger Memon is dead or alive.

Makes one wonder what is going on. Power in India is often seen as silence on crimes and silencing of witnesses. There is no information of crimes of Tiger Memon before or after the 1993 blasts beyond "member of " and the person who is prime witness against him in 1993 blasts is hanged by the state and the state itself has not pursued him with any visible urgency. There isn't so much as a photo beyond 400 pixels and a decade old in the public domain for the person with most evidence against him in the 1993 blasts that have put India on an decades long international manhunt.

Cannot help but speculate whether Tiger Memon is the man who knows too many powerful people in India to be ever allowed to come on the radar.

2

It was inevitable. The building farmer frustration is ready to explode. If not Gajendra Singh, it would be someone else. The writing has been on the wall. There is torment needing to be heard. A scream in the void.

In 2010 Ramchandra Raut composed his suicide note on non-judicial stamp paper, addressed it to the Prime Minister and President along with local leaders. He remained a statistic. In 2012, another farmer called Gajendra from Yavatmal had written a suicide note to his village warning them to not vote for Congress and NCP before committing suicide. He sank into the statistics without a splash. The suicide notes, last, desperate attempts to be heard went as unheard in death, as the farmer did in life.

Ironically, this morning, while Gajendra Singh was still alive, Devendra Fadnavis, Maharashtra's Chief Minister endorsed Eknath Khadse's fantasy method of recognizing farmer suicides as the ones where the farmers left behind suicide notes. From being the undisputed reining champion of farmer suicides to 3 suicides in one clever move. Not that those suicide letters meant anything either.

We are, sadly, an apathetic nation. Our conscience has been mortgaged to the media, which feeds us upstanding people regular doses of what should offend us. Letters written by nobodys don't reach us. When they reach us, they don't matter, unless the subject is dramatic enough to trend on social media.

Within minutes of the suicide being declared a "SUCCESS", media was harvesting the scandal. Politicians, normally serene about routine reports of farmer suicides rushed to establish their innocence and the guilt of their political rivals. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was "shattered", even as his anonytrolls started pushing a piece profiling Gajendra Singh as everything except a farmer who had jumped political parties and was a member of AAP at last check (well, d'uh, he was at the AAP rally). As astonishing as it was that media managed to dig up his political history within hours of his suicide, what was more astounding was the explanations - from planned political murder to an "AAP stunt" gone wrong. Amaingly, not only did Rajasthan have the records for crop losses and applications for compensation on the tips of their media responses, they even "proved" the family claim of reason for suicide being crop losses wrong. Within hours of his death. So much concern for farmers.

While it is unclear what stopping the rally would have achieved (BJP and Congress fixated on the AAP rally continuing after the suicide as well), it is less clear how a person can kill himself in a packed rally, though I imagine it is not easy to stop someone physically while on a tree. It is even less clear how a massive exhibition of love for our farmers can proceed unfazed by the death of a farmer in their midst. To be fair, from all accounts it appears that initially it seemed like a suicide attempt prevented and injured person taken to hospital. AAP, still recovering from its allergy with intellectuals went on a breath taking demonstration of blame and sarcastic defense with some record breaking insensitivity from leaders, which I don't care to repeat here. Congress, with its leader newly resurrected and for once speaking well went ahead and got in their points of Ganga-snan for self and blame for others as well.

In summary, both BJP and AAP managed some variation of "committed suicide to make us look bad".

So far, no one seems to have gotten around to asking "why did he kill himself?" with any level of firm intention or giving voice to the extremely open secret of the why - corporate media promoted and government passed policies that are ruining rural livelihoods and decimating farmers. Farmer suicides aren't just rising, they are rising in a rapidly dropping population of farmers farming decreasing area of land on an average. Instead, every effort is on to make this about this suicide specifically, and preferrably this suicide shouldn't be about farmer suicides at all.

To me, a public demonstration of suicide is more a protest than a mere giving up. Media and politicians may be covering their own culpability with a fog of words, but I understood this man to be trying what Mohamed Bouazizi's self immolation was, in Tunisia when it kicked off the Arab Spring. An expression of intense frustration, seeking echoes far and wide by being as visible as possible and "signing" the genuineness of the protest with own life.

Where BJP anonytrolls saw a political opportunist pinging off parties, I saw that the political experience showed him how he could commit suicide to be heard. If not in life, then in death. And where countless ignorant farmers failed, he succeeded. Farmer suicides are finally prime time content. They will be the weapon of political confrontations, improving chances that someone, somewhere will be forced to change something, pay some more attention because of the one thing farmers so far had not managed to achieve. The one thing government in India understands. Nuisance value.

You may die a thousand deaths in complete silence. Your protest will get fired on. The day you burn a bus and attack a few people is the day the government leaves you alone to get whatever "justice" you want. The day your death causes a problem for important people is the day it gets attention. Till then it will only get murmurs of consolation and pleas to not die and ruin statistics for all of us.

Gajendra Singh managed to be a problem today. He died on the doorstep of politicians and in media's eye before they could avert it. The plight of farmers is a long way from being addressed, but the "nuisance" and thus the imperative to be at least seen doing something has already begun. In blaming each other, politicians are establishing collective guilt.

Naturally, the wise media has seen this despicable behavior and is busy commenting on how ugly it is without realizing that as they point fingers at the politicians, they fail to see their own role in the plight of farmers. Here are two stills from AlJazeera's excellent short documentary on the Indian media's rural blind spot that no TV channel is going to show tonight.

Percentage of rural stories on front page of newspapers
Percentage of rural stories on front page of newspapers
Percentage of time devoted to rural news on TV
Percentage of time devoted to rural news on TV. These figures don't show more than 7% of the time for over 2/3 of India's population and YET are deceptive, because this time shown too is rarely about rural issues and more likely to be other selling news from rural locations.

 

A 2011 report on rural reporting in media by EPW
A 2011 report on rural reporting in media by EPW Source: sans serif

 

By all accounts, Gajendra Singh has screamed his scream. He will get a short window of time where farmer suicides will be reported diligently and politicians blamed and defended and a massive fog of words giving us the moral superiority of knowing exactly who to blame. Then it will die down into oblivion.

It is up to us left living to decide whether the message he spent his life to communicate to us is important enough for us to carry forward the torch he desperately threw where no one can pretend to not see it.

If you scream into the void, did you scream at all?

3

R K Laxman on political fickleness
R K Laxman on political fickleness

It was a republic day of rulers, by rulers and for rulers, as India made a big fuss out of the President of a country that has historically undermined our interest. A guard of honor, protocols waived. A deal the Prime Minister had himself declared to be against national interest passed as though it were a good thing.

"Board Education" Cartoon by R K Laxman
"Board Education" Cartoon by R K Laxman

The previous months had seen an India slowly eroded with decreased attention to education, health, undermining the income lifeline of NREGA, increased attacks on minorities and more. It was a country where the Prime Minister did not find attending the Parliament a priority for himself, though he ordered his MPs to attend. Where laws happened as ordinances without the oversight of elected representatives of people.

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Where brute disinformation kept crucial information out of reach of the common man who was to believe that India was doing very well indeed, and if their life did not reflect that, they were the anomaly. It is an India where "Make in India" is designed by an American. An India most Indians have no idea about.

rk-laxman-opposition-visitThe day was no different. A party that had shown only disdain for the "added" values of secularism and socialism to the constitution further cemented their disdain for it by issuing the official advertisement with a fascimile of the original constitution without the two words they detested being present. As though a democratic revision had never happened at all. Unilaterally, the constitution was represented as something it no longer was.

Indian Government Republic Day ad
Indian Government Republic Day ad

Removing secularism and socialism as a deliberate action basically was an intent of not having the interests of the minorities or disadvantaged as a priority. In a country where a fifth of the population is under an absurd poverty line, where minorities are already facing attacks ahead of elections, it was a flat out statement of complete disinterest in all but the powerful.

R K Laxman cartoon on government issued clarifications
R K Laxman cartoon on government issued clarifications

Perhaps it is no surprise then, that the vice President of the country himself was not immune to crude insults by the foot soldiers of the party that has taken over the country. His belonging to a minority religion itself a reason enough for insult by ignorant bufoons who believed that if their ruler and defense minister presumed to accept a salute meant for the President, the vice president should as well. And if he didn't, it was because he was of a religion that was not in the interests of those in rule.

The Nation seem to have been rendered the private fiefdom of a party with not even the pretence of respect for democracy. Where tableaux from statesruled by the party had disproportionately high representation than other states. Where a candidate who has never won an election, but sits with official dignitaries can tell an ex-CM that he needs to join the party to get an invite for India's Republic Day.

Kiran Bedis complete contempt for democracy
Kiran Bedis complete contempt for democracy

As the President and our ruler held court with the powerful businessmen of India, after subverting many of the nation's protections against sellouts of vital interests, perhaps it was only poetic timing, that the legend who had given the common man voice, breathed his last.

R K Laxman's common man who endures everything
R K Laxman's common man who endures everything

R K Laxman's political cartoons had been the voice of the common man living the consequences of decisions beyond his control. His illustrations for television adaptation of his brother R K Narayan's Malgudi days are the enduring image of his brother's legacy for those of us who discovered the magic on TV.

Malgudi days illustration
Illustration for R K Narayan's Malgudi days by R K Laxman

It is a perspective that is no longer valued. A simple life, real people, a common man enduring what he must as a fact of life. He created a space for political cartoons in India. Lit a torch for others to uphold with biting satire imagery.

Neelabh Banerjee's satire on Indian politics puts R K Laxman's common man in the place of Jesus Christ
Neelabh Banerjee's "The Lost Supper", which is a satirical take on Indian politics based on "The Last Supper" of Jesus Christ puts R K Laxman's common man in the place of Jesus Christ

R K Laxman, the creator of the character of the "common man", who relentlessly educated the common man on the civics of the country in a way so visual that the least educated would understand.... died on this Republic Day. The common man is orphaned.

An image shared on social media as a shraddhanjali to R K Laxman
An image shared on social media as a shraddhanjali to R K Laxman - I don't know the source and will attribute if informed.

Perhaps in dying today, on Republic Day of India, R K Laxman made his most powerful political comment to date.