Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Ambedkar Cartoons

What was the big fuss about a 60-year-old cartoon being published in a school textbook?

This illustration by Shankar had led, not only to the disruption of Parliamentary proceedings but also to widespread - and at times violent - protests across the country. Things cooled down after a quick, abject apology was issued by the concerned minister, along with promises to make some amends.

My own views on this issue were reflected in another cartoon put out by Manjul:

The matter ended there - or so I thought - until I came across a thought-provoking piece by S. Anand in the Indian Express (24 May-2012). He pulls out an interview published by WSJ in which Manika Sharma, principal of Delhi's elite Shri Ram School gives expression to some of the most deep-rooted, self-defeating biases in Indian society.

Anand's article clearly drives home the point that 'images and symbols tend to have a stronger impact than words'. Worth reading.



* Anand, S (2012): A Different Reading, Indian Express, 24 May 2012, URL -

* Anand, Geeta (2011): Class Struggle: India's Experiments in Schooling Tests Rich and Poor, Wall Street Journal, 4 June 2011, URL -

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