A Bitter Remembrance: Re-vision of Ambedkar’s Political Cartoons in No Laughing Matter

Jahnavi Gupta


All About Ambedkar: A Journal on Theory and Praxis, Volume 2, Number 2 | Full Text PDF

 

ABSTRACT

No Laughing Matter: The Ambedkar Cartoons 1932-1956, by the Dalit scholar and cartoonist Unnamati Syama Sundar, activates concerns cutting across disciplines (humour and visual cultures) and genres (of political cartooning and political biography) that are relevant for Dalit and Ambedkar studies. The genre of political cartooning is argued to be a persuasive political tool and useful for history mapping, adding it to the already varied and growing field of Dalit studies. Political cartoons of Dr. Ambedkar are retrieved from the untended archives to remedy his absence in the field. The collection simultaneously exposes the derogatory visual imagery used by the savarna cartoonists of the “national” English language newspapers for criticism, informed by Dalit politics and sensibilities. This book, the reviewer argues, is concurrently an act of remembering Ambedkar, his struggles, and his courage, and revisinghistory, humour, and visual language by laying bare the systemic biases these discourses use and reinforce.


KEYWORDS: Ambedkar, cartoons, humour, revision, biography, Dalit literature

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