Call for Rise of Nation of Inner-AAMs
Whenever it passes muster that I doodle, just about everybody in India or those with roots to India mention the iconic so-called Common-Man character of R.K.Laxman to which Wikipedia has the following to say:
The Common-Man is the creation of author and cartoonist R. K. Laxman. For over a half century, the Common-Man has represented hopes, aspirations, troubles and perhaps even foibles of the average Indian, through a daily comic strip, “You Said It” in The Times of India. The comic was started in 1951.
When Laxman began to draw cartoons in The Times of India, he attempted to represent different states and cultures in India. In the rush to meet deadlines, he began to draw fewer and fewer background characters, until finally he found only one remaining – the now-familiar Common-Man who generally acts as a silent witness to all the action in the comic.
Being the contrarian that I am, just about everybody in India or those with roots to India is taken aback and fall from their smugness cloud when I reveal that I really do not like the so-called Common-Man character and that while I have no reason to disrespect Laxman as a person and even admire him for his art and drawings, I do not actually respect Laxman as an author and cartoonist for he has pissed on a great opportunity and platform. Rather than inspire people by making the recurring character an agent of change, he played his part, however miniscule, making the character hapless and clueless and in so doing, conditioned people to be suffering bovines happily quipping “arre bhai, India mein aisa hi hotha hai” with an annoying and lazy “chalta hai yaar” attitude. Before everybody in India or those with roots to India thinks that this is just my opinion, Laxman has on record parroted the same thing, “The Common-Man symbolises the mute millions of India, or perhaps the whole world, a silent spectator of marching time.”
Now one could say that maybe I am looking too much into some imagery. Could be but iconography is a powerful thing which is seldom acknowledged. Discussing imagery as iconography implies a critical “reading” of imagery that often attempts to explore social and cultural values. Allow me to make an observation. If we study imagery of icons – fictional or real – we can immediately see some patterns. For the sake of simplicity, if we just compare non-religious icons of USA and India, the noticeable icons and paragons of the Western world have been superheroes fighting evil and preserving the American way of life while the icon worthy of mention in India is arguably Common-Man who is a speechless village idiot whose inaction has created a rotting, stinking, corrupt, poor, sickening, diseased, infested, horrible, broken, polluted, communal, violent, uneducated… catch the wave, stench of an excuse of a country called India. Let this vomit throw up in your mouth and sink in.
A wise man once said to me that how we want to be treated by others is dependant on us and our actions and not the largesse and manners of others. I for one feel that the Common-Man has an Inner-AAM (Angry And Mad) that is just wanting to explode and do something about the cacophony around him. Since Laxman will continue to draw the Common-Man as a damsel in distress and sell books, give speeches, get honoured etc. by the bucketload while at it, I am taking the artistic liberty of bursting the bubble and bringing out the Inner-AAM of demure character and fight the evils, worms, leeches, maggots… get the drift, of politicians, businesses, terrorism, policegiri, supersitions, rowdyism et al. in the hope it will inspire others, yes, all of you and you, the 2 readers of this blog who could very well fall under the common-man definition or an attempt towards a definition by Udit Misra, to fight –
Now, by associating myself with I Am Aam (a seller of t-shirts with a twist), I have brought out my Inner-AAM and have joined the fight to do my bit in the way I can by immortalizing the travails and adventures of Inner-AAMs across the length and breadth of India inspired by true stories. I understand that the suspense might be killing you and you want to see what it will be like and when you can see it but the key question, and perhaps the only question that should matter is, are you in? Are you going to bring out your Inner-AAM and join the fight? We’re all waiting!
P.S: Please go here at CWorks for the full-comic
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Entry filed under: BoP, CWorks, Deesha, I-Am-AAM, India, Life-Theories, News-Media, Politics, Poverty, Projects, WebXP, Word-Play. Tags: burst bubble, common man, damsel in distress, fight evil, iamaam tshirts, iconography field, imagery study, inner AAM, pop culture, r k laxman, rotten india.