Kerala Lalithakala Akademi refuses to review Subhash’s cartoon award – TIE

K.K. Subash Cartoon

The Kerala Lalithakala Akademi on Monday decided against reviewing the award for a cartoon, which triggered a controversy when the Catholic Church alleged that it insulted Christian religious symbol. – TIE

The 2019 Kerala Lalithakala Akademi award for cartoon has provoked a controversy, with the Catholic church saying that the award-winning cartoon by K.K. Subhash has insulted religious symbols.

The controversy was sparked after the award was given to a cartoon published in Hasya Kairali magazine that depicted Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who was accused of raping a nun. In the cartoon, an under garment is depicted in place of the insignia on the bishop’s staff.

The Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC) spokesperson Fr. Varghese Vallikattu said the cartoon disrespects the Christian community as it is unlawful and provocative in nature. He also asked the academy to apologise to the public for misusing the taxpayer’s money on the award. He also demanded an apology to the Christian community.

Vallikattu also took a dig at the Left Front government, accusing it of choosing the blasphemous cartoon for the award.

Following the uproar, Kerala minister A.K. Balan said that religious sentiments have been hurt in the cartoon named as “Vishwasam Rakshathi (Faith Saves)” by cartoonist K.K. Subhash. He announced in Delhi that the award jury had decided on the winning cartoon and the government had not interfered in it. However, in view of the allegations, the government would review the decision, the minister added.

Kerala Cartoon Akademi secretary Thomas Antony reacted to the issue on Facebook saying that the controversies over the award-winning cartoon was uncalled for. The cartoon was selected by a panel of Kerala’s top cartoonists and it is the minimum courtesy to respect their decision, he said.  Issues like these will kill the idea behind the cartoon and the art will lose its meaning, he added.

However, the Lalithakala Academy has decided to review the award in the wake of the controversies, said the academy’s secretary, Ponnyam Chandran. – International Business Times, 12 June 2019

Kerala Lalithakala Akademi refuses to review cartoon award

The Kerala Lalithakala Akademi on Monday (June 17th) decided against reviewing the award for a cartoon, which triggered a controversy when the Catholic Church alleged that it insulted Christian religious symbol. After the controversy broke out, the CPM-led state government had asked the Akademy to review the cartoon.

The cartoon drawn by K.K. Subhash is a caricature of Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar diocese. Following the allegations of raping a nun and his subsequent arrest in September 2018, Mulakkal was removed as head of the diocese.

After a council meeting of the Akademi, an autonomous body under the state department of cultural affairs, Chairman Nemom Pushparaj said the Akademi’s executive and council has unanimously decided not to review the jury’s decision to choose the cartoon for the award. “If the cartoon has insulted anyone’s religious sentiments, that aspect would be looked into after taking legal consultation, if required. The Akademi sticks to its stand on the cartoon award,’’ said Pushparaj.The Indian Express, 18 June 2019

K.K. Subhash & Franco Mulakkal


One Response

  1. The bishop’s crozier (staff) is a power symbol. It indicates the position of the priest within the Church hierarchy. It cannot be called a religious symbol as real shepards—i.e. those who care for real sheep—also carry such a staff and have done so long before the advent of Christianity.


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