Friday, January 19, 2018

Friday, January 12, 2018

Prejudices


An illustration I did towards the end of last year for The Indian Quarterly was for a story called The Circle, featuring the last of the Anglo Indians, the prejudices inherent in them and how it ultimately destroys them.
The print has turned out a bit darker than the original, so I am adding the complete original below along with a detail of the illustration.



The haunting story which makes us cringe at the extent of prejudice and perceived superiority that one community has for another reminds me of the remark made by a friend of mine after she had broken up with her Anglo-Indian fiancee. She said, "How long are these Anglo-Indians going to prefix "Anglo" to define themselves? They are Indians!" This is true of course, but try telling that to Anglo-Indians, you'd probably make them writhe in agony.

Once, some years ago, during coffee an Anglo Indian acquaintance of mine remarked that the father of her niece was a Malayalee. When I expressed surprise, my acquaintance hastily added, "But she (the niece) is not Malayalee! She is one of us! She is one of us!" I was perplexed at the absurdity of that remark and at the determination of my Anglo-Indian acquaintance to completely erase the Indian aspect from her family.



Some explanation for these mindsets can be found in William Dalrymple's The White Mughals and more briefly in City of Djinns.
Here are a couple of memorable quotes from City of Djinns -

'And they're a fascinating people, the Indians. I'll say that for them.'
I've always had friendly relations with them, mind. It's their country. That's what my father always used to say.'
'That's right. The Indians are a nice people. Provided you treat them as human beings.'

'You see we're not Britishers', said Mr Smith. 'We're something different.'


*


Saturday, January 6, 2018

Moving On

This illustration is the last illustration I did in 2017. It is for a Jim Corbett book cover.



The last time I drew a tiger was sometime in 2009 for Deccan Herald when I used to do illustrations for their kiddie section. The pay was so low, the stories were so trite that the work became a chore. I decided to move on to other things. The picture below was the final illustration I did for them for a very nice poem. It was a good way to end, the 2009 tiger, sweet faced and hopeful.



Since then I have certainly moved on and in 7 years I have tried my hand at all kinds of wonderful projects which I never even dreamt I would do. However once again the red lights are flashing around my head and there are sirens in my ears every time I take up an editorial or a cover. It is time to move on again, this time to solving far more complex puzzles on my table and at my own pace.