Freelancer to crusader,‘inspired’ by grandfather

From doodling as a child to freelancing for newspapers to being selected for an international award,cartoonist Aseem Trivedi has always been,in his father’s eyes,a “true nationalist” inspired by his freedom fighter grandfather

Written by Dipankar Ghose | Lucknow/new Delhi | Published:September 11, 2012 12:55 am

From doodling as a child to freelancing for newspapers to being selected for an international award,cartoonist Aseem Trivedi has always been,in his father’s eyes,a “true nationalist” inspired by his freedom fighter grandfather.

Trivedi,arrested in Mumbai for alleged sedition,was born on February 17,1988,and grew up in Kanpur before he shifted to Delhi,while his family has now moved to Shuklaganj,Unnao,where his father Ashok runs a tent-house business.

“His source of inspiration is his grandfather Rewa Shankar Trivedi,who was a freedom fighter. Aseem is a true nationalist and I am always with him,” says Ashok Trivedi,speaking to The Indian Express over the phone.

He says his only son had shown his gift young. “Since his school days,he was always drawing,” Ashok Trivedi says. “He also wished to become a lyricist and once went to Mumbai to explore a possible music career.”

Aseem studied at Shishu Vidya Mandir in Kanpur before joining BNSD College,where he began freelancing. The Hindi daily Aaj carried his cartoons as part of a column called “Bhai Ji”,while he also drew for Prabhat Khabar and a Bangalore magazine.

He teamed up with Anna Hazare during a fast in Mumbai in December 2011,with his cartoons on corruption put up at the venue. It was around that time that his blog,cartoonagainstcorruption.com,was blocked,and he started Save Your Voice,a campaign against internet censorship.

At July’s fast at Jantar Mantar,his work was on display at a “cartoon corner”. “I have known him for a year and a half; he is a crusader against corruption”, says Arvind Kejriwal. “Whether his work is in good taste is a matter of debate but he is not guilty of sedition.”

He has been selected for the “Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award,2012” of Virginia-based Cartoonists Rights Network International on September 15 in Washington. It is a joint award,shared with Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat who is on Time magazine’s list of 100 most influential people in the world. His father says he was also planning to visit Austria at the end of the month for a gathering of 150 artists from across the world.

Two months ago,Trivedi had told The Indian Express,“I like the fact that corruption is being talked about because of the IAC. But I don’t know if I agree with the political turn the movement is taking.”

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