With Eid Milad and Shobha Yatre approaching, Chikkamagaluru Superintendent of Police K Annamalai might be forgiven for being a worried man. Both Muslim organisations and Hindutva groups had planned processions on Saturday and the police department had its hands full trying to provide security arrangements for them. But apart from the security arrangements, police had one more trick up their sleeve to spread the message of harmony in the district - cartoons.
Renowned cartoonist Satish Acharya was roped in to design cartoons and illustrations promoting communal harmony. The cartoons were then put up in 20 public vantage points. One cartoon shows people forwarding WhatsApp messages with a speech bubble that says, âMessages forwarded without verification are as dangerous as weapons.â
Other strips suggest that individuals have multiple identities and religion is just one among them, and shows a Hindu and a Muslim hugging Mahatma Gandha with a message âIshwar Allah Tere Naamâ.
The cartoon series begin with a Hindu and Muslim hugging Mahatma Gandhi with a message âIshwar Allah Tere Naamâ while others talk about importance of âteam workâ for countryâs progress.
Cartoons displayed in Chikkamagaluru || Photograph Courtesy: Satish Acharya, Facebook
âBy and large, people of Chikkamagaluru remain calm throughout the year. But only during November and December, when Datta Jayanti and Datta Mala Abhiyana are held, they become sensitive. We thought of addressing this and reminding them that they are all people first and harmony is important,â said K Annamalai, SP of Chikkamagaluru speaking to The Hindu.
Meanwhile cartoonist Satish Acharya said he was honoured that his work is helping spread harmony in the state. âIt is a good cause and I am happy to be part of it. I have been associated with different police divisions and working on awareness campaigns. I also had a special cartoon workshop in Belagavi in 2016 to create awareness about traffic rules,â he said, speaking to The New Indian Express.
Encouraged by the response in Chikkamagaluru, Hubballi and Dhawad police are considering putting up cartoons.