Renowned Indian cartoonist Sudhir Tailang dies at 55

Ahram Online , Saturday 6 Feb 2016

Sudhir Tailang was one of India's best-known political cartoonists, with cartoons published for over four decades in leading newspapers

Sudhir Tailang
Indian cartoonist Sudhir Tailang in his home in Delhi. 15 January 2014. (Photo: Ati Metwaly)

Following a brave two-year fight against a brain tumour, Sudhir Tailang, a renowned Indian cartoonist, passed away on Saturday, his daughter Aditi said. 

“A true nationalist & fearless crusader”, “an irreparable loss to the Nation,” “a wonderful human being & a great artist,” were some of the thousands of comments on social media in reaction to the news of Tailang's passing. 

"His biting satire came out of his firm grasp over Indian reality. Master of the humane art of cartoon and caricature," one Twitter user described Tailang.

Over the four decades of his career, Tailang's cartoons spoke to the heart of India, and did not spare anyone, regardless of their political ranks.

During his long and thriving career, Tailang submitted a good portion of his cartoons to the Hindustan Times, occasionally also drawing for the Indian Express and The Times of India. In recent years he worked with Asian Age, where he held the post of associate editor and political cartoonist.

Tailang’s cartoons commented on the daily political events of India, as well as major international news. Among Tailang's works are a few commentaries on the Egyptian revolution, particularly the 18 days in early 2011 which led to the removal of president Hosni Mubarak.

Tailang was also involved in social issues. He wrote on his blog that he had “formed a voluntary group to raise funds for the 1984 Bhopal disaster victims by drawing on-the-spot caricatures... and sold his Rajasthan drought sketches and raised money for the drought-affected people.” He also auctioned cartoons to raise funds for children’s organisations.

Tailang held several exhibitions of his cartoons and has seven books to his name. In 2007, he was awarded the Padma Shri, one of the highest Indian civilian awards offered to people for remarkable contributions in their respective fields.

In 2014, Tailang exhibited his cartoons in Egypt, during the India by the Nile festival.

Over the past two years Tailang suffered from a brain tumour, rarely returning to the drawing board. He went through two surgeries and chemotherapy and eventually passed away at the age of 55.

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