Karnataka 2018
While the angry Hanuman image has come under criticism for being a symbol of Hindutva hypermasculinity, PM Modi accused Congress of not tolerating “magnificent art”.

A Mangaluru-based artiste, who created the vector image of an angry Hanuman, seen on smartphones, T shirts and windshields across the country, was hailed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his speech in Mangaluru on Saturday.

“I want to applaud artist Karan Acharya whose Hanuman portrait has captured the imagination of people across India. This is a laudable achievement and is the power of his achievement, talent and imagination. This is the pride of Mangaluru. All TV channels queued up for his interview,” Modi said speaking at a rally at Nehru Maidan in the city.

The artist Karan Acharya, who hails from Kumble village in Kasargod district of Kerala, created the vector image in 2015 after repeated requests from a youth club in his village to put something on the flags for Ganesh Chaturti.

But even he couldn't foresee how popular the image would become. It has been less than three years since the image was created and it has become a rage in many parts of the country including Bengaluru and New Delhi, where the image appears on the windshields of vehicles and on smartphone covers.

However the image has also come under criticism with some viewing it as a symbol of Hindutva hypermasculinity. In Kerala, the angry Hanuman poster had stirred much debate when writer-activist Devika announced that she would be boycotting any person or object that flaunts the image, including autorickshaws and cabs. While many had said they would follow suit, many others also called the boycott against freedom of expression.

PM Modi, however, stated that opposition to the artwork showed the intolerance of Congress. "The Congress’ ecosystem doesn’t even tolerate the magnificent art of Karan Acharya whose Hanuman captured the imagination of the entire country. Unable to digest its success, the Congress tried miring it in a controversy. There is no iota of democracy in the minds of the Congress members,” Modi said.