Renowned Kerala cartoonist Yesudasan passes away at 83

Famous for his political cartoons and satirical series, Yesudasan was the recipient of many awards.
Cartoonist Yesudasan
Cartoonist Yesudasan
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Renowned political cartoonist from Kerala, Yesudasan, died at the age of 83. Deshabhimani reported that he was admitted at a hospital in Ernakulam and had COVID-19. Yesudasan began drawing political cartoons for publications in the 1950s, and was also famous for his satirical series like Mrs Nair in Vanitha Magazine and Ponnamma Suprent (Superintendent) in Malayala Manorama.

The cartoon series with the character Kittumman on Malayalam daily Janayugam was his first series, and believed to be the first pocket cartoon in Malayalam. As a young man, he joined Shankar's Weekly in Delhi, under the mentorship of Shankar, considered the father of political cartooning in the country. A few years later, Yesudasan came back to Kerala and joined as an editor of the children's magazine Balayugam. He also began publishing a political magazine called Asadhu besides other humorous film and political magazines. 

For nearly 23 years, Yesudasan worked as a staff cartoonist with the Malayala Manorama newspaper. Later, he also drew for other newspapers such as Metro Vartha and Deshabhimani. He also drew cartoons in Hindi and English publications.

Yesudasan was the founder president of Kerala Cartoon Academy. At one point he was also the president of Kerala Lalithakala Academy. The cartoonist also made his foray into the world of cinema, writing the dialogues of renowned director KG George's much celebrated political satire Panjavadi Palam. In 1992, he wrote the script of the film Ente Ponnu Thampuram, directed by AT Abu. He also wrote several books - Aniyara, Pradhama Dhrusti and Post Mortem among them. His book Varayile Nayanar is a collection of cartoons of late Chief Minister EK Nayanar. 

Yesudasan won many awards through the years — Kerala State Press Awards in three consecutive years (2001-03), National Film Academy Cartoonist Sivaram Award in 1998 and the Swadeshabhimani Kesari award in 2019 among others.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan paid his condolences, calling Yesudasan an irreplaceable genius in the cartoon field. He said that Yesudasan's drawings not only reflected the political developments of a period but the cartoonist also boldly expressed his opinions through them. He got the biggest media award in Kerala for overall contribution because he was a socially committed journalist, CM Pinarayi said.  

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