News:Cartoonist Abu Abraham passes away

PTI [ SUNDAY, Dec 01, 2002 3:21:34 PM ] THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Abu Abraham, one of India’s leading cartoonists whose work was known for its merciless attack on corruption in polity with stunning punchlines, died here on Sunday, family sources said.He was 78 and is survived by his wife Psyche and two children, Janaki and Aisha.Abu had been unwell for some time and was admitted to a private hospital here last week with a perforation in deodenum. After being operated upon twice, his condition became critical on Saturday. He had been on ventilator for several hours. Born in Tiruvalla in Kerala, Abu joined the Bombay Chronicle as a reporter in 1946. Simultaneously, he drew cartoons which got published in leading periodicals, including Blitz and Current.

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Remembering (condolence messages)



Sudhir Tailang
(Cartoonist: The Hindustan Times)






It’s hard for me to come to terms with the fact that cartoonist Abu Abraham is no more! He died on Sunday, a week after he was operated upon for a perforated intestine at a Trivandrum hospital. He was my friend, philosopher and guide. He was my guru.
Here & Now, the title of my pocket cartoon in the HT, was suggested by him. I accepted at once. I still remember I was a student in Bikaner and had come on a brief visit to Delhi in 1978. I went to see Abu in his Indian Express cubicle. He wasn’t there. So I left a small note and a few of my drawings. I never expected him to respond. But, I had a pleasant surprise in the form of an envelope within a week. It was an encouraging letter from Abu. He wanted me to meet him. Soon I was at his Kaka Nagar flat. There I was face to face with my hero! I vividly remember my first encounter. Blue kurta, churidar, chappals. Bald but endugh flowing hair at the back of his head. Not handsome, but he had a cerebral charm. He demonstrated how he worked. He drew standing and he had a tall drawing board. He showed how to get Indira Gandhi correctly. Morarji, Raj Narayan and a few others. He gave me a few tips and after a hot cup of coffee and plenty of encouragement, I left. There was an instant rapport. We became friends. He encouraged me to join professional cartooning. My friendship with him grew and I had more opportunities to spend time in his company when I shifted to Delhi in 1983. He had left the Express and begun to syndicate his cartoons. He was also writing a weekly column, Private View, that appeared in the Hindustan Times. He also did a philosophical strip, Salt and Pepper, for our Sunday magazine for a few years. In the late Eighties, he decided to shift to Trivandrum. But we were still in touch. He wasthe only Indian cartoonist, who worked in England (for the Guardian and the Observer) for 16 years as a political cartoonist and made the West sit up and take notice. When he returned to India in 1969 and joined the Express, he had a great innings in store. When everyone was crawling he stood up to the Censors during the Emergency and drew scathing cartoons. And got away! But the best period that he enjoyed wasduring the Janata Partyregime. Each time, I met him I asked him to write his autobiographj! He would say, “Yes, I plan to do that soon. But I am too lazy” He was too lazy! I will never forgive him for that! ...SUDHIR
(Fello Cartoonist)
Abu Abraham and I worked together in Shankar's Weekly. He was a good cartoonist. He was a good writer too. Abu started off as a dyed in the wool conservative and ended up as a radical Leftist. I for one was amused at this transition which confirmed my theory that affluence takes protection under the Hammer and Sickle.
Kindly convey my condolences to the family members. ...KUTTY
Priya Raj
(Cartoonist: The Hindu and The Free Press Journal)
I admired Abu's cartoons in The Indian Express during the JP movement and at the time of emergency. I really liked his sharp wit and simple nervous lines.
That was the time when I used to write poems and satire . Arund the same time (in '75/'76),I started doing cartoons.The inspiration came from Shankar, Laxman , Dar and Abu -four mainline political cartoonists of the time associated with national publications. Of course, there were others like Vijayan and Ranga... I met Abu in Delhi during '85 /'86 at his Kakanagar house on the basis of a meeting fixed by the then editor of Patriot RK Mishra. He wanted me to meet Abu to discuss about cartoons for Patriot. I met Abu again after a few days at the Mid-Day launch party thrown by Khalid Ansari when I told him that I was going to Allahabad to join Mitra Prakashan. He asked me : "...As a cartoonist for 'Probe India' ? " I replied : " No, as their all India advertising manager!" He felt a little sad and said:"What a loss to cartooning!" I never met him again but spoke with him on phone and corrosponded with him a couple of times. When I instituted the PRCL Awards for cartooning and lampooning, Abu was one among the four recipient of the lifetime achievemnt awards based on editors' choice.I could not arrange the gala awards function due to lack of sponsorship and postponed the event.
I will always feel sorry that Abu will not be there to personally receive the award when the awards function finally takes place! Abu will, however,remain an important personality in the history of Indian cartooning. (Management Cartoonist: The Hindu and News Cartoonist: The Free Press Journal)
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