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Chronicle of a PM - in 123 dimensions

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Chronicle of a PM sketched out - in 123 dimensions
3:45 PM New Delhi, Jan 1 (IANS) It took the 1-2-3 agreement "to draw him out", and quite fittingly the Kerala Cartoon Academy has prepared a coffee table book with caricatures from 123 cartoonists, ranging from Raj Thackeray to R.K. Laxman, for the usually reticent Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when he comes visiting over the weekend.

The unique New Year gift weighs five kilograms and will be presented to the prime minister on Jan 3 at the Raj Bhavan in Thiruvananthapuram by the Kerala Cartoon Academy, an association of more than 100 cartoonists that is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Amongst those who have contributed to the tome are E.P. Unny, Ravi Shankar, Ajit Ninan as well as politicos like Raj Thackeray, chief of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, Communist Party of India-Marxist’s M.M. Monayee and Muslim League leader M.K. Muneer.

"These cartoons had a common factor - Dr. Manmohan Singh; as protagonist, antagonist or even as a victim," said a Kerala Cartoon Academy statement.

Academy secretary Sudheernath added that the "non-demonstrative Dr. Singh was no cartoonist’s delight". But the signing of Indo-US civil nuclear deal, which prompted the Left parties to withdraw its support to the first United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, changed all that.

"It took the 1-2-3 Agreement and nuclear energy to draw him out. Literally," Sudheernath told IANS.

"His turban, which became the nuclear orbit in many cartoons here, his square face, thick eyebrows, thin beard, spectacles, pullover, white kurta and pajama - finally a vivid enough picture emerged of the man who is our prime minister," said Sudheernath, a Delhi-based cartoonist.

The Kerala Cartoon Academy, in collaboration with the Indian Cartoonists’ Association and the Press Club of India, had organised an exhibition of 123 caricatures of Manmohan Singh at the Club premises here in February last year.

"This bunch of 123 cartoons and caricatures is a chronicle in its own right, of an atypical PM's political awakening," said the Academy.

Manmohan Singh's personality, responses, attitude and above all his politics come alive here, said Sudheernath.

He said the Kerala cartoonists "brainstormed" about the appropriate gift to be presented to the prime minister when they invited him as the chief guest for the valedictory function of the academy's silver jubilee celebrations.

"First we thought of giving 25 cartoons to the PM. When we sent word to brother cartoonists, the response was overwhelming. To the nuclear PM no less than 123," he said.

Sudheernath said 63 cartoons in the book were from Kerala-based cartoonists who were members of the Academy and the rest from other states; there were a few from overseas as well.

A couple of NRI cartoonists and two woman cartoonists complete the lot.

Manmohan Singh, who begins his two-day Kerala visit Saturday, will be inaugurating the 97th Indian Science Congress.

(Copyright Indo Asian News)

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