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News:Versatile Cartoonist O V Vijayan passes away

PTI [ Wednesday, Mar 30, 2005] Hyderabad: Renowned cartoonist 0 V Vijayan, who also made his name as an accomplished writer of modern Malayalam literature, died here on Wednesday following a multiple organ failure. The 75-year-old Ootupulackal Velukutty Vijayan, who was awarded Padma Shri in 2001 for his contribution to literature, had been ailing for a long time. He was admitted to the corporate Care hospital following complications arising from Parkinson's disease two weeks ago, hospital sources said. He was on ventilator for the past few days and his vital organs failed to respond to treatment. The end came at 8.30 am. Vijayan, who was based in New Delhi for a number of years, had shifted here a few years ago. He is survived by his wife Teresa Gabriel and a son. A well known political cartoonist, Vijayan had joined the now-defunct Shankar's Weekly and later The Patriot. He had also worked for The Hindu and The Statesman. Vijayan's body was brought to the Kochi airport from Hyderabad on Wednesday afternoon. People from all walks of life paid their respects to the well-known writer and cartoonist.

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Remembering Sketch By Shekhar Gurera (condolence messages)

Ajit Ninan
(Cartoonist: TOI)

It was a moving experience to meet 0V Vijayan in Connaught Place in 1988. With tears in his eyes, he explained to me how difficult he found drawing because his mind, with all its intellectual might, could not control his frail hands. Could he find an assistant to draw his thoughts, he asked me. This shocked me. Here, was a man with complete mind and hand coordination that all cartoonists envied. A perfect intellectual who mastered two languages. A thinker, poet, sociologist and scientist. Nowhere I found a drawing style so original and cerebral, perfectly composed of blacks and whites, a newspaper art director's delight, that played havoc in the polity the soft stabber. His incisive satire dug deep into the dou blespeak of politics. Yet he was loved by readers for the richness of his art. His translations, poetry and cartooning were like a booster shot for the masses. He was the only cartoonist who wasn't criticised by the cartooning fraternity. Truly, a genius.
E P Unny
(Cartoonist: Indian Express)
Doubly defiant, Vijayan
Way back in the defiant 1970s, you couldn't have had a more unholy trinity to worship: Abu Abraham, Rajinder Puri and O V Vijayan.

The cartoon that arrived a good half-century before democracy did in this country had already been mainstreamed by Shankar and taken forward by Kutty, Laxman and a host of language cartoonists. So there was a readership that was waiting for the trinity to happen. While Abu and Puri arrived in the capital with craft and content tested and approved in London, the global cartooning capital then, Vijayan emerged straight out of Palakkad, Kerala's small town. He had to be doubly defiant.

First, he rejected the very master who gave him his big break in Delhi - Shankar. Not the person, but his Good Cartooning Practices. Vijayan junked anatomical drawing and went in for geometrical forms and created a look and feel somewhat like today's computer graphics. Here was a cartoon that didn't showcase a political situation for necessarily funny effects. His cartoon was the coffee house table where you sat across a very provocative and subversive political creature who didn't like to lose an argument. But he risked it. It was somewhat like a video game in print. For once the viewer was drawn into this game called cartooning. Such respect for the cartoon viewer has rarely been seen.

Till Vijayan came, it was a sin not to like a cartoon. Everyone sided with the cartoon; there's not a soul who would like to think he hasn't a sense of humour. The readers would either understand, pretend to understand or see what they want to see in the day's cartoon. Instead, you could quarrel with the Vijayan cartoon, swear at it, even dismiss it only to return to the next cartoon itching for another fight. This is the kind of self-esteem Vijayan wanted in the reader. Remarkably, he found many such readers in this third worldish society over a cartooning career that seldom reached critical mass in a single platform. He never stayed long enough in a newspaper that had a concentrated or a nation-wide readership. Nor did he cartoon like many of us who think there is no tomorrow. He seldom did more than three edit cartoons in a week.

Today he could have cut across globally more than many of us. You find traces of his merciless style in Steve Bell who has revived the political cartoon majorly in Europe and his reflective streak in Leunig, whom Australia has declared as its national asset. ... MORE
Omer Farooq
(The Pioneer)
Eminent Writer, novelist and cartoonist 0V Vijayan died at a Hyderabad hospital on Wednesday after a prolonged illness, 75-year-old Vijayan, who is survived by vrife Theresa Gabriel and son Madhu. died of cardiac and respiratory failure at the Care hospital in the early hours of Wednesday. Dr Uday Kumar, who is also the Vijayan's nephew, said that the author was on ventilator since last one month. Vijayan who was suffering from the Parkinson"s disease and sepsis was under treatment at the hospital since August last year. Theresa and other family members have taken the body to Kerala where Vijayan's last rites vriU be performed in Palakkad. Son Madhu who lives in the US is also accompanying the body. Earlier his body was shifted from the hospital to his residence in Marredpally area of Secunderabad. Vijayan, who made his debt in the literary world with Khasclkkinteltfflasam (Saga of Khasak) had a multi-faceted personality. He was a journalist, columnist, cartoonist, short story writer and novelist all rolled into one and was highly popular among Malayalam readers and occupied a respected place in the pantheon of modem day litterateurs. Apart from five novels he also had a master- piece Itihasathinte Itihasam (The story of the saga) to his credit. Born on July 2,1930 in Vilayanchanthaimoor village of Palakkad in Kerala, Oottupulackal Velukkutty Vijayan later be came popular all over the country as 0V Vijayan. A graduate in arts from the Government Victoria College, Palakkad and a Masters in English Literature from Presidency College, Cliennai, Vijayan's first step in practical life was as a teacher in Calicut. Later he found his niche as a writer. He also worked for The Hindu and The Statesman. As a cartoonist he worked in Shanker's Weekly, Delhi in 1958. He was also a staff cartoonist at Patriot.
C. Gouridasan Nair
(The Hindu)
O.V. Vijayan, who died here this morning, is one of the few writers in Malayalam to lift himself to the rarefied realm of literary icons. That he did so with his iconoclasm might well be an irony. But then, irony has been part of his writing. Indeed, it was a brilliant strategem he used in many of his works with telling effect. And, maybe also in his life. His book Khasakinte Ithihaasam made a legend out of him, a legend that would live in millions of minds both within and outside Malayalam. He was a literary genius with prophetic vision. Oottupulackal Velukkutty Vijayan burst into the Malayalam literary scene of the late 1960s, writing in a language of his own. It was an intoxicatingly new idiom that held generations of writers who followed him in thrall. It was so intoxicating that he himself could not break free from it in his later writings.... MORE
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