If you thought cartoons were there only to make you laugh, then think again. The cartoon auction organ ised by the Blue Cross of Hyderabad on Saturday night raised about Rs 3 lakhs, half of which will go to save endangered olive ridley turtles in Orissa, People were ready to shell out Rs 5,000 to Rs 11,000 for the cartoons.
Cartoons are often conceived as both humorous and deeply serious. Combining both fictional and non-fictional elements, cartoons have been used to comment on and critique various issues. The theme was mobile communication, and the cartoons illustrated how we are increasingly becoming dependent on such modes of communications as the cellphone and the Internet.
The cartoon by Shyam Mohan, the president of indianink.org, a website dedicated to cartoons and cartoonists, depicted a dancing couple in each others’ arms, but using cellphones for communication. Despite scepticism on how cartoons would do in an auction, Mr Mohan was confident that the show would be a success. “This is the first of its kind event and we believe there is a huge market in India for cartoons,” he said. He was proved right because the highest bid of the evening came from Ghansham Das, the managing director of Nasdaq(AsiaPacific), who bought a cartoon for Rs 11,000. The auction began with the cartoon by Mohammed Ali Khalagi of Iran. It depicted a shepherd playing his flute while a flock of sheep followed with a cellphone hanging around the neck of the leader. Girish Malpani and his wife bought the cartoon for Rs 7,000. “It’s for the cause of the turtles and I wanted to make a contribution,” the couple said. Ashoke Ummat, the owner of Brook Hotels in London bought five cartoons.
“There were a total of 14 cartoons selected for the auction. But only seven cartoons made it to the stage. The other seven were bought by anonymous customers who wanted to remain hidden,” explained Yogesh Kocher, an organiser and head of corporate social responsibility, Tata Telecom Services.