June 19, 2021
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Cartoon Row Gets Uglier

Cartoon Row Gets Uglier

1949: The above cartoon is originally published on 28 August 1949 in Shankar's Weekly

It is included in an NCERT Textbook for Class XI, Indian Constitution at Work which was being taught without any change or controversy since then

2012 April: A controversy is raked up over the cartoon

2012 May 11: There is ruckus in Parliament. HRD minister Kapil Sibal "apologises" for the cartoon, calling it "objectionable" and says orders have been issued to withdraw it and stop distribution of these books. Mr Sibal goes on to say that the government will also examine whether any criminal offence was made out against those who drew or included the cartoon and also that there were many other "objectionable cartoons" of political leaders and that his ministry had decided to constitute a Committee of experts to look into cases of all such objectionable cartoons and remove them.

2012 May 11:  Yogendra Yadav and Suhas Palshikar, Chief Advisers for all the Political Science textbooks of the NCERT from class IX to XII, resign to allow the "independent review process" pointing out "that the short, heated and not very well informed debate in the Parliament did not do justice to the responsibility that a democratic society has towards it future generations." They add: "While deferring to the supremacy of the Parliament we think it is our duty to dissent."

2012 May 12: The Pune campus office of Prof Suhas Palshikar is attacked and ransacked. A Republican Panther of India spokesman claims responsibility for the attack, saying the cartoon amounted to an "insult" to the Dalit icon.

Yogendra Yadav sums up the outrage of the nation: "For someone who has taught me Ambedkar, for him to be attacked in the name of Ambedkar...Nothing can be more farcical, tragic and sad then this."

Some reactions on Twitter:

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