When cartoons upset Indian nationalists
July 8, 2023

By Patrick Chappatte, in “Le Temps”
Research and documentation : Freedom Cartoonists

Der Spiegel Chappatte
Cartoon by Chappatte in Der Spiegel, Germany, on Chappatte.com

At the end of April, one of my cartoons published in German magazine Der Spiegel caused quite a stir in India. Tweets from ministers, a media craze, an embarrassed German ambassador; a simple cartoon suddenly became a geopolitical affair. But this furor was just part of a bigger story – the Modi government’s growing intolerance of the country’s humorists and cartoonists.

“World population: India overtakes China”. On April 22, this headline inspired the theme of my cartoon for Der Spiegel – a weekly featuresince 2018. I depicted a cheerful, overcrowded Indian train overtaking a somewhat gloomy Chinese bullet train. Unfortunately, my train collided with some sacred cows, among them Indian nationalist pride, in fierce competition with China, and the place railroads seem to hold in the country’s national psyche.

The day after publication, the Indian information minister’s senior adviser lit the fuse on Twitter: “Hey Germany, this is outrageously racist!”Read the full article on Chappatte’s website