I do not remember of having heard in the past about the nearly-25-year-old Sri Aseem Trivedi of Kanpur working in Mumbai. His cartoons did not come to my notice through the newspaper media or otherwise. It may have been my ignorance, or maybe he was a low-profile cartoonist in the process of establishing himself. It was only day before yesterday when the TV channels telecast the news of his arrest by Mumbai Police, booking him allegedly for sedition, for showing disrespect to the constitution and the country’s icons of democracy, etc. The police claims to have made thorough inquiries during the past several months before arresting him.
Now there is a fresh news that the sedition case does not actually hold and that he would be soon released.
Aseem has been associated with the sociopolitical movement named India Against Corruption. He was active during Anna’s nonviolent agitation, demanding enactment of the Lokpal Bill and action against the corrupt politicians and bureaucracy of the so called biggest democracy on earth, India. Aseem had been expressing his feelings of anguish in terms of satirical cartoons depicting mostly corrupt political class of India. His boldness in doing all that appears to be the root cause of his arrest.
India is a democracy with its numerous problems which our politicians have miserably failed to solve. There has been unabated deterioration in our political system, and no one other than the political class has been responsible for that. Born with the freedom of the country and subsequent democratic system of governance, I have been a witness to that deterioration. Corruption is now rampant everywhere. Persons with criminal background or dubious character have succeeded in getting ‘honourable’ entry in to all political parties and are playing their active part in the governmental system. Bureaucrats are insensitive to the peoples’ problems, and have been enjoying non-accountability for decisions and general behaviour, and are very rarely penalized for their wrong-doings. And the most deplorable and agonizing fact is that Indian political parties have ashamedly been creating vote banks, by dividing the society on the basis of religion, caste, regionalism and language, ignoring the dangers ensuing therefrom.
The Indian people have started getting disillusioned with the current political milieu. And people are expressing their resentment in different ways. Cartoonists have been doing their job. In democratic regimes, they have always painted politicians in their cartoons satirically. A cartoon often contains a message that only a detailed verbal depiction could convey. Unfortunately our politicians have become intolerant to such messages. Bengal’s iron lady Ms. Mamata Banerji is an ideal example of an intolerant politician.
The role of the police force is also worth noting.
Indian police has never been committed to serve the people. They are there to suppress the poor peoples’ voice, when that seems to be inconvenient to those in powers. Resorting to lathi-charge wherever people protest with justifiable reasons against government policies and decisions is regarded by them to be their sacred duty
The present breed of politicians have lost peoples’ respect and trust. They should correct themselves rather than correcting cartoonists and other activists. People have the right not to respect them when they do not deserve that. Their arrogant remark that they are “peoples’ elected representatives” cannot necessarily earn them respect.