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CARTOONS OF DEFIANCE

Charlie Hebdo is going to come out next Wednesday, the day it comes out every week – in the true spirit of the rightful and needed defiance of the terror attack on its office in Paris yesterday that killed its 10 staffers including its four cartoonists. And they are going to print 1 million copies. In past, the average circulation figure of the magazine has been hovering around 50,000 copies.

The killers are on the run. The manhunt is on. Some over 80,000 French security personnel are mapping the possible leads. The world is watching. And the world is speaking on it.

There are voices of defiance. There are voices of shock. There are voices of support. There are voices of resolve. And there are fanatic voices as well, lauding the attack, from terror groups like ISIL or Taliban to even from politicians of vested interests.

And the defiant voices that started emerging immediately, are getting stronger with time, with people from the world over expressing their outage, flooding the social media platforms – with media outfits paying tributes and keeping up the momentum.

And the anger, the shock, the pain and the resolve – it reflects in the cartoons drawn to pay tribute and drawn to show the defiance – with cartoonists coming out fiercely in denying the terrorists what they were aiming for – instilling horror in the hearts of those who defy the diktats of terrorists and the terror warlords.

The cartoons of defiance slap rightly in the face of terrorists and fear-mongers with hard and direct attacks, something that made for several Charlie Hebdo covers, as well as with subtle symbolisms, the hallmark of political cartoons.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey–https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

Here are some of the best ‘cartoons of defiance’ from the Internet pages:
(Images courtesy: different cartoonists, independent and working for media outfits)

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CARTOONS OF DEFIANCE

PRAN’S CHACHA CHAUDHARY

Chacha translates to paternal uncle, a fatherly figure in India, much like the evergreen way of addressing every elderly ‘uncle’, an English word that has taken over the basic word of native languages – a Chacha is someone who is seen as an elderly, caring figure.

For kids he is the benevolent problem-solver who never says no, gaining, thus, respect and acceptance. India’s first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru was lovingly called Chacha Nehru and his birthday on November 14 is observed as the Children’s Day every year.

Children in our societies address anyone as Chacha who is beyond the age of being seen as Bhaiya (the elder brother) and is in the same age-group that their fathers are in.

Though Chaudhary is a surname in many communities, it is also a widely used title of respect, found across castes and religions. It symbolizes the position of eminence and centrality of the persons – of the elderly figures or respected members of communities to whom the people look up to – yes, the eminence may be restricted to the immediate locality of the person or may traverse across a large social and geographical cross section.

Pranji gave us this sort of character in his Chacha Chaudhary – an average built elderly Chacha with a thick white moustache who always carries a wooden walking stick – he was pure middle class – like many people in our immediate surroundings – caring and helping elderly people – and he was Chaudhary because of his wisdom that was always ready to help others and no matter what, he found solution of every tricky situation – that was our Chacha Chaudhary in our childhood that we so lovingly adopted – and he was the only Indian comic book character at that time with a strong readership among adults as well – in fact, my initiation with comic book reading was with a Chacha Chaudhary comic book given by an uncle.

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(Collage created from photographs sourced from the Internet)

Pran translates to ‘life’ in English. The Cartoonist Pran’s illustrations and his writings made Chacha Chaudhary and his other creations an inseparable and lively part of our childhood days.

Pranji’s central characters in his comic books were typically middle class. Elderly characters like Chacha Chaudhary, his wife, his brother or Shrimatiji whom we found in our families, in our societies, were instantly connecting.

He created young characters as well, again from the typical Indian middle class – like Billoo or Pinki whom we could naturally identify with.

And to satisfy our appetite for superhero appearances, something a must for every comic book fan of that age, we had characters like Sabu and Raka from Pranji.

Pranji created essentially middle class characters, weaved around the social and family atmosphere of the middle class societies, and added to them elements of humour to develop his stories – with some ‘superhero and supervillain sort of characters.

His characters were much like you and me – their problems and situations were identifiable – and their solutions in comic book style results extended the desire to see what would happen next, something that addressed the concerns of child’s mind – giving us the pure pleasure of reading a comic book.

The illustrator in him designed them like that. The writer in him wrote them like that.

One more thing – and the essential one to mention – for many in my generation, among the earliest and the most frequent reference to the computer was the Chacha Chaudhary punch-line – Chacha Chaudhary’s mind works faster than a computer. The real computer, the physical access to it, came much later.

But the life that gave us so many precious memories of our childhood is no more. Battling cancer, he passed away on August 5 night.

Though it was a long, long ago when I stopped reading comic books, probably when I was in Class VIII, the memories were still so connected that I found myself writing about my comic book reading days – that is the Chacha Chaudhary’s Pran Sahab for me, and for many others – that is the legend of Pran Sahab for me.

Rest in Peace Pran Sahab..

Thanks for giving me some quality memories to cherish, to feel happy about when reflecting back on life.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

CHACHA CHAUDHARY’S PRAN IS NO MORE

Chacha Chaudhary’s mind works faster than a computer.
When Sabu gets angry, a volcano erupts somewhere (at a distant place).

Okay, so, those were the days that came to revisit me yesterday with the news of passing away of cartoonist/illustrator/writer Pran on August 5 night.

Why cartoonist Pran only and not any other writer echoes when it comes to remembering the interesting, fun-filled, thrilling and the must-have world of thoughts built by the characters of the comic books (or comics that we would say in those days) that my childhood had is enough to tell me what sort of legend Mr. Pran Kumar Sharma was.

Almost everyone from a generation that didn’t have access to satellite television, superhero movies and the world of sophisticatedly designed animated movies and TV shows had grown up reading the comic books of a series of characters published by publishers like Diamond Comics, Raj Comics and Manoj Comics and Chacha Chaudhary led the pack.

Originating from a Hindi speaking belt, the comic books of Chacha Chaudhary were translated into many languages. The comic strip was further adapted for animated and live-character shows on TV. Also, Chacha Chaudhary’s mind that worked faster than a ‘computer’ that we would be reminded of multiple times in a comic book was among the earliest and the most frequent reference to computer in our lives in those days.

Before stopping reading comic books suddenly one day (the reason I still don’t know and never bothered to know), during my childhood days, I was an avid reader who tried to maintain his lead over the pack of his friends in reading and sharing a comic book as soon as it hit the stands.

We all were subjected to intense scrutiny in our families on our commitment to the comic books that was certainly having an upper hand than the academic books. Parents and elders were always alert on what we would be reading. And we would always try to devise ways to hide the comic books away from their eyes. Chidings were the regular byproducts. But it never let our spirit down.

To read first and to read each forced us to share once we finished the one with us. Buying was not an option (an option exercised rarely, for some special edition release) given the pocket money that was in fact no pocket money at all. Borrowing and renting saved the day for us.

I still remember many characters. I read the Indian characters as well as the imported ones like Archie, Phantom and Mandrake, much like a spirited reader. Spiderman was accessible through a 15-minute weekly animated show. Superman was heard just in passing references.

But, now after so many years, if any character from those childhood days is still clearer than others in my memory is, it is Chacha Chaudhary.

Pran Collage-1

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(Photographs sourced from the Internet)

The red turban, the bushy but shaped white moustache, the black, blue and white outfit and the walking stick – the quintessential Chacha Chaudhary – with his lieutenant Sabu, the 15 feet tall alien with a monstrous diet, who came from Jupiter to stay with him – and their archrival, Raka, the dreaded villain with his axe (Wikipedia says: Raka to Chacha Chowdhry is same as Joker to Batman) – and we had ‘many returns’ of the good days packed with thrill and humour – humour, something that was central to Pran Sahab’s work.

And that Pran Sahab, who gave us this Chacha Chaudhary, Sabu and Raka and many others including Chacha’s wife Bini Chachi, his brother Chhajju Chaudhary and his dog Rocket, and other independent characters like Billoo, Pinki, Shrimatiji and Raman, is not there anymore to further his already deeply entrenched legacy but our memories of his characters will remain there, always.

Rest in Peace Mr. Pran Kr. Sharma..

Thanks for being the essential part of the childhood memories..

A volcano would have certainly erupted somewhere on Jupiter on August 5.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/