While cartoonists believe that caricatures and comic strips are an important medium to comment and expose the harsh realities of society and politics, they have often faced the brunt for their uncompromising critique. Their sarcastic strokes often landed them in the vortex of controversies.
Here are five cartoonists who have faced criticism for sharply mocking the society and politicians.
1) G Bala: Prominent cartoonist G Bala, also known as Balakrishnanhas, made it to the headlines for depicting Tamil Nadu chief minister E Palaniswami, Tirunelveli police commissioner and the district collector as watching mute as a child is burning to death right under their nose.
The caricature was meant to criticise the CM and the district administration for their inability to help a family in distress— a direct reference to the mass suicide of a daily wage labourer's family the other day in Tirunelveli. The family of four set themselves ablaze outside the district collector's office.
The cartoon led to Bala's arrest but he was granted bail on Monday morning. His cartoon has received 4,000 likes and has been shared 12,000 times on Facebook. Unfazed by the arrest, the freelance cartoonist reiterated that he will continue to draw such caricatures in future.
"I am also a journalist. I did not commit murder. Don't regret for this cartoon. I will continue to highlight the inefficiency of the government through my cartoon. I will continue to draw cartoons," Bala was quoted as saying by the media.
2) Aseem Trivedi: This controversial Indian political cartoonist and activist had often found himself in trouble for his incisive cartoons, mostly drawn as part of anti-corruption campaign.
His cartoon, replacing the lions in the national emblem with wolves and with blood drooling from their mouths, had invited criticism from some quarters. Trivedi also tweaked the caption Satyameva Jayate (truth shall prevail) and scribbled under the cartoon Bhrashtameva Jayate (corruption shall prevail).
In yet another provocative cartoon, he presented the Parliament building as a lavatory with flies buzzing all around. These cartoons invited complaints against him that alleged that Trivedi presented the national emblem in a bad light. He was arrested following the complaints.
3) Ambikesh Mahapatra: Though not a cartoonist, this chemistry professor of Jadavpur University was arrested for his depiction of West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee in 2012. It was a parody of Satyajit Ray's detective movie called Sonar Kella.
In the movie a boy called Mukul is tricked by two criminals into believing that they caused a "wicked man", who in reality was a good person, to "vanish". In the depiction, the "wicked man," who "vanished" was the former railway minister Dinesh Trivedi.
Trivedi was forced out of office by the chief minister in March 2012. Reports claimed that Mamta felt that the word "vanish" in the cartoon indicated that she was hatching a murder conspiracy.
4) RK Laxman: One of the most renowned cartoonist and illustrator India has ever produced, Laxman was hailed as well as criticised for his out-of-the-box illustrations on the burning issues that plagued the country. His famous cartoons include a caricature of Jawaharlal Nehru during India China War of 1962, how politicians behave before and after winning elections, digs at Indira Gandhi during the Emergency and even the infamous hit and run case against actor Salman Khan.
5) David Levine: This cartoonist invited a lot of criticism after he drew a cartoon of Henri Kissinger, an American diplomat who served as the United States Secretary of State and National Security Adviser.
In the cartoon, Kissinger is shown lying bare over a woman whose head looks like a globe. He is under a sheet which resembled the American flag. The cartoon carried the title Screwing the world. The cartoon was condemned by many.