A cartoon in an Australian paper that shows starving Indians trying to eat solar panels has received widespread criticism and been termed 'racist'.
The cartoon comes in the backdrop of the climate deal signed in Paris where India, which is the fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has also promised to curb carbon emissions.
The cartoon was drawn by cartoonist Bill Leak for The Australian, and immediately faced backlash on social media. People also took shots at him, claiming that a serious accident that he had after falling from a balcony a few years ago, has made him 'racist' ever since.
Speaking to The Guardian, Amanda Wise, an associate professor of sociology at Macquarie University said â€śThis cartoon is unequivocally racist and draws on very base stereotypes of third world, underdeveloped people who donâ€™t know what to do with technology. India is the technology centre of the world right now and has some of the most high-tech industries on the planet in that part of the world. The underlying message is that people in developing countries donâ€™t need all these technologies to do with climate change â€“ they need food."
â€śThis only demonstrates the â€¦ provincial ignorance of both the journalist, cartoonist and publication...In truth, the bewildered farmers in Leakâ€™s cartoon could probably teach him a thing or two about solar panels, while treating him to the indisputable pleasures of mango chutney,â€ť Shoma Chaudhury, editor of Catch News told The Guardian.
A similiar incident had occured last year when The New York Times (NYT) published a racist cartoon showing India with a cow and knocking on the â€śElite Space Clubâ€ť soon after the country's successful mission to Mars. Indians, made sure that the publication got to see their wrath, with a steady influx of comments on social expressing their displeasure at the cartoon, and hordes of comments demanding an apology.
Here are some of the reactions that came in from Twitter on Bill Leak's cartoon.
The next time Bill Leak falls of a ladder an Indian brain surgeon will save his life...â€” Giovanni Torre (@GiovanniTorre) December 14, 2015
do you think Bill Leak could put together a solar panelâ€” the thirst noĂ«l (@scottsues) December 14, 2015
Saddest thing is how racist lowlives like Bill Leak use "free speech" as defence, like they think they're doing powerful, subversive work.â€” lana del neigh (@LanaDelNeigh_) December 14, 2015
can someone give bill leak one of those adult colouring books to entertain himself until he learns not to be racistâ€” j.r. hennessy (@jrhennessy) December 14, 2015
Hey Bill Leak, some facts on India's renewable energy sector. They're a lot smarter than your cartoons are funny. https://t.co/3hkkSwpmk3â€” Mr Denmore (@MrDenmore) December 14, 2015
*Writes email to Bill Leak explaining that brown people aren't stupid. Deletes email. Does not-stupid things with life instead*â€” Saint Bhakthi (@bhakthi) December 13, 2015
There are some fine writers at the @australian but todayâ€™s tripe on Pell and the Bill Leak cartoon do it no favours.â€” DeeMadigan (@deemadigan) December 13, 2015
Imagine the stuff that Bill Leak doesnâ€™t publish!â€” Lawfarismist (@RanTLaw) December 13, 2015
Bill Leak's Wikipedia updated. pic.twitter.com/X5w6XVUoG1â€” elbows out tweeting (@illywhacker_) December 14, 2015