No small wonder that women, who have made a seamless entry into the world of men by taking to callings from which they mostly kept away until not too long ago, have not taken to the virtually male-dominated, artful profession of cartooning. Still greater wonder that women have rarely figured in the caricatures drawn by male cartoonists for dailies of all hues, the most glaring exceptions being a small number of women Prime Ministers of some countries, one of whom was in not-exactly-lighter-vein was described as “The only man in the Cabinet.” While the avid readers of dailies published in the land’s lingos made a beeline to the pocket-sized cartoons adorning the front page or the larger ones in their appointed space in one of the inside pages helped themselves to those mirthful minutes over a cuppa, setting the tenor of their day, have regrettably driven the names of those who portrayed prominent persons palatably into the pages of history.
While tracing the origin of the quote “Laughter is the Best Medicine” may not be seen as an exciting exercise and whoever offered that prescription at whatever time in the past, it is said to be doctor-approved in our times for many substantiated reasons and outcomes, the most important among them being that laughter heals many hurts. Belly-laughter does a great deal of good not only to the body but also to one’s mind.
The air is abuzz with the lament that the land is currently impoverished by a total vacuum of leaders of the past genre and the masses seem to have sidelined the appalling dismal quality of leadership. While leaders of the calibre that the nation is starved of don’t either drop from the heavens or emerge out of the magic box, so do cartoonists of the brilliance that the country has hosted in the past. This is not to cast aspersions on the emerging flock of cartoonists who are doing their bit to fill the vacuum, although on a limited scale. Going by the works of a few legendary cartoonists, who have departed, the profession is marked by a capacity for incisive analysis of all that goes on in public domain, apart from that rare flashy lines, more graphic in effect than photographs.
In a most challenging project, an agency in the media sector has reportedly embarked upon grooming cartoonists who can tickle the ribs of cartoon-savvy readers once again like before. Although the task amounts to zero on the ‘uncommon’ out of the mass of ‘common,’ the readers of dailies owe unalloyed gratitude to the agency taking up the project.