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On Chandrayaan-3 Moon Landing, NYT Gets Schooled Over 2014 Cartoon Mocking Indian Space Mission

The cartoon, authored by the artist Heng Kim Song, fueled a furor, with accusations of racism and offense.

NYT's 2014 Controversial Cartoon
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India lit up the skies and hearts alike on Wednesday as Chandrayaan-3 gracefully made its historic soft landing on the untouched lunar expanse of the Moon's South Pole. The entire nation erupted in joyous celebrations, reminiscent of a symphony of unity and achievement. With sweets exchanged like tokens of shared success, firecrackers and the Tricolor swaying proudly in the hands of exultant citizens, the streets transformed into a tapestry of jubilation.

Celebrations floated beyond geographical boundaries as India secured its place in the annals of space exploration by becoming the first to gently rest a spacecraft on the Moon's South Pole and only the fourth nation to ever achieve this feat. The accomplishment sparked nostalgia, as memories resurfaced of a cartoon that once cast a shadow on India's space aspirations.

Many moons ago in 2014, a controversial cartoon splashed across the pages of the New York Times, depicting a farmer and a cow knocking on the door of the 'Elite Space Club,' a satire aimed at India's Mars Mission. The cartoon, authored by the artist Heng Kim Song, fueled a furore, with accusations of racism and offence. This chapter in history was rekindled as Chandrayaan-3's triumphant landing reminded the world of India's indomitable spirit and unyielding dedication.

On platforms like X, formerly known as Twitter, users mused over the irony, with one proclaiming, "New York Times cartoon in 2014. Who’s laughing now?"

"Thank you New York Times. Thank you for the racial jibe & the ridicule. Thank you for doubting our abilities. Thank you for laughing at us. Today we did not knock on the door. Today, we kicked the door down. Now, go and draw a new cartoon. Go…" another user wrote.

Today, the narrative has shifted. The New York Times, once an observer from the sidelines, now features a report titled 'India Is on the Moon,' acknowledging India's strides in space on the website.

The publication noted the country's prowess in space exploration, a saga that includes successful lunar and Martian orbits as well as launching satellites with a fraction of the financial resources compared to other spacefaring giants.

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