News:Cartoonist Ramamurthy passes away
Herald News Service [WEDNESDAY, Mar 24, 2004] Delhi:
Noted cartoonist of national and international fame
B V Ramamurthy died in New Delhi past Tuesday midnight
at 12.30 am, family sources said. The famed cartoonist
of the Deccan Herald-Prajavani group had won several
awards for his lasting contribution to the field of
journalism through his cartoons. He was in the field
of journalism for around 50 years. His creation, Mr
Citizen, depicted the comman man’s agony and problems
besides portraying political developments everyday,
earning him reputation across the country..
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last lines ... (Courtsey:Deccan
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left his footprints
on the sands of time
from the personal contacts I have had with my esteem colleague,
Ramamurthy, I have known him more intimately through his
cartoons, which in my opinion, place him in the roll of
honour of distinguished cartoonists. The uniqueness of
Ramamurthy lies in the fact that he successfully retained
Karnataka’s identity through the characterisation and
personality of Mr Citizen.
great cartoonist truly reflected the vision and character
of Deccan Herald. He made us see the world around us through
his inimitable sketches and crisp comments. Ramamurthy
has also given a distinct view to Deccan Herald and to
the daily’s wholesome news.
If Malgudi has been the creation of R K Narayan, Mr Citizen
is that of Ramamurthy. The commonality in the approach
of these two - a great writer and a reputed cartoonist
- has been the profundity in capturing the mood of the
common man and the elite alike. Mr Citizen has been a
witness to the changing times and epoch-making events
that have unfolded during the last four decades and have
crowded the pages of contemporary history. While political
analysts sometimes strive laboriously to bring home the
core of the subject and the character they are dealing
with, Ramamurthy conveys his message in one sentence.
interaction with colleagues were lively. Both of us used
to be benefited by these interactions. He never pretended
to know about which he had no knowledge. He has left his
foot-prints on the sands of time, dexterously capsuling
the contemporaneous events and expressing them through
his chosen medium.
was an interesting, popular citizen
the newspaper readers of Karnataka, the cartoon character
"Mr. Citizen" was a must-see
every morning. They watched him listen to people around
him talk aloud about the world, and make comments galore
laced with wit, sarcasm and hypocrisy. That diminutive
character, which entertained them, pricked their conscience,
triggered discussions aplenty, is now silent. His creator,
B.V. Ramamurthy will draw no more. Forty-nine years is
a long innings for an in-house cartoonist. Ramamurthy
served the Deccan Herald for many years, occupying a corner
on the front page. Frequently, he invaded the front fold
of the daily, spreading across five columns to add a big
punch to the news. Readers identified with Mr. Citizen.
Their attachment was so intense that when Ramamurthy tried
to take off Mr. Citizen's traditional "Peta," the daily
was flooded with angry letters. "The readers were so much
concerned, so attached to that character," recalls Narendra,
a veteran cartoonist himself. To recognise Ramamurthy's
contribution to the society and the art of cartooning,
the Karnataka Cartoonists Association has proposed a museum
of his original cartoons. "We will approach the next Government
to seek funds for the project. A similar museum was set
up in Andhra Pradesh for cartoonist, Bapu, with the State
Government's support there," Mr. Narendra said. The former
editor of the daily, K.N. Harikumar, recalls how readers
used to identify with Ramamurthy's and Mr. Citizen's "running
commentary" on life, its hypocrisies and the associated
problems. "He had a very personal vision of life. His
cartoons were very specific. He moulded public perception."
The Karnataka Media Academy president, N. Arjun Dev, has
a theory about Ramamurthy and why his cartoons found an
instant rapport with the readers. "He was not one to stay
in the ivory towers". His efforts were earthy, identifiable
by the ordinary man on the street and the middle class.
Ramamurthy, says Mr. Dev, learnt cartooning on his own.
"Something like what Ekalavya did." The self-taught art
was his weapon to make observations on politics and economics,
the rich and the poor, the boring and the eminently interesting.
"Ramamurthy did not spare even journalists," recalls Mr.
Dev. For all his contributions to journalism and society,
a Rajyotsava award did not come Ramamurthy's way. Nor
did the TSR award. "The TSR award is poorer by not being
conferred on Ramamurthy," said Mr. A. Jayaram, Chief of
Bureau, The Hindu , Bangalore, at a condolence meeting.
A Science graduate from the St. Joseph's College here,
Ramamurthy started his career as a cartoonist in Kidi,
a Kannada newspaper known for its satire, wit and barbed
writings. Ramamurthy attracted international attention
for his drawings in the early 1980s for "Grin of the Year."
Among his popular efforts was his lampooning of the former
U.S. President, Jimmy Carter, whose features were a delight
for the cartoonists.
came to me as a rude shock, I started drawing cartoon
lines because I used to see his daily pocket cartoons,
political cartoons and Illustrations.
… He inspired me!!
never thought I'd be able to meet him to express my
feelings. But few years back, in Hyderabad, I saw him
early in the morning in a hotel, having breakfast. I
immediately rushed to him and expressed my gratitude.
I was very nervous to talk to such a great person. To
my surprise, he was very humble, unassuming and down
to earth person. We talked for a long time. I always
thought one day I'd invite him to mumbai for some function.
I am very upset. In this hour of sadness my heartfelt
condolence are with his bereaved family. Sir, Ramamurthy,
thanks for your extraordinary style.
Avon majesty, Dattapada Road, Opp. Spl. Steel Borivali
(E), MUMBAI - 4000066 Ph. (022) 28548876
by Prasnath Kulkarni
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