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18 Powerful Cartoons That Will Make You Think About Oppression Like Never Before

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By Mayank Jain:

“If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”– George Washington

Can someone’s expression become a cause of riots? Can a cartoon incite violence among the minorities of a country who feel offended because it shows them in a bad light? Who marks the boundaries where self-expression turns into offensives against a particular group?

These are the questions that Iranian cartoonist Mana Neyestani must have asked himself repeatedly. His cartoon about Iran’s minority Azeris, landed him in jail and turned his life upside down. He ended up in exile in France. His days in the prison became his motivation to begin socio-political commentary about the oppression of Iran and the world at large.

His cartoon strips have taken the form of a graphic novel titled “An Iranian Metamorphosis”. His work has won him accolades and brickbats from different groups depending on whom he chose to condemn.

Freedom from oppression and condemnation of censorship is the common string running through his cartoons which don’t just speak out but scream in our faces. The hypocrisy of our society and the doublespeak of those who preach the ideals of peace and democracy are brutally revealed in these black and white caricatures. The cartoon strips have made him a sensation in the online world where state censors haven’t fully reached yet.

The voices of dissent can be heard clearly through his cartoons, and his iron will, coupled with optimism, shines bright through the tough times that the world witnesses today. Following are some of his works around oppression, freedom of speech, herd mentality, nuclear power obsession of Iran and other themes including internet activism.

Context: Effect of the sanctions on Iran due to its nuclear program

Context: International media’s long ignorance of the Syria war

main-qimg-f72b18a5312f293d9a64568d0f1ed9c1

Context: State of homosexual people in Iran

homosexuals in iran

Context: Iran’s deliberation about the bill that would prevent population control measures
Title: Orgasm!

orgasm

Context: State of the developing world and rosy picture being painted for the children
Title: 
Come out, the world is beautiful!

Come out, the world is beautiful.

Context: Freedom through war (Bush and drone attacks)
Title: Freedom for a second

freedom for a minute

Context: Censorship 32582_122256154482526_5369139_n

Context: False portrayals by the media

manan021.preview

Context: Manufacturing support for the leaders

freedom of speech

Title: Battle

Battle

Context: False sense of freedom

Breaking free

Title: Constructive Criticism

Constructive Criticism

Title: Extremists

Extremist

Title: Medical Care

Medical Care

Title: Lashes

Lash

Context: Iran’s nuclear obsession

316761_273323106042496_1192605853_n

Title: Naked

Naked

Context: Illustration of the contest between Iran and its international foes

Cartoon of the Day. Mana Neyestani illustrates the contest between Iran and its international foes

Title: Trust was banned

Trust was banned

Context: Political lies

378481_279824502059023_572984781_n

Context: Syria’s non-allegiance to UN

560956_418018601572945_1048458568_n

Title: Few Centimeters to the Execution

Few Centimeters to the Execution

Context: Gender Equality

Women's equality

Context: Contrast between the developed and developing world

Context: Hope

543602_432684310106374_1543337079_n

To know more about this story and what I think, follow me on Twitter at @mayank1029<

You must be to comment.
  1. mahigala7

    A Picture is worth thousand words !!!! These caricatures are priceless.

  2. Veda Nadendla

    This is just brilliant!

    My favourites are Syria’s non allegiance, Gender Equality, Naked, Orgasm and Constructive Criticism. Beautifully done.

  3. Prashant Kaushik

    Great compilation. Well Done.

  4. Avinash Kumar

    Each and every one of the pictures mentioned are truly priceless, that’s for sure; but the last one was incredible. Great work Mayank!

  5. siddhant

    Brilliant compilation!

  6. Mohit

    Awesome compilation. I don’t usually comment at random posts I read on internet, but I just had to comment here. Really great work.

  7. Baljeet Kaur

    Cartoons not only depict the hard hitting realities, but are also easy to comprehend!

    Great work Mayank. Continue bringing us the ‘struggles’ and the ‘hopes’ from around the world.

  8. Haifa Zubair

    Great one!!!

  9. Nazim

    I dont agree with the viewpoint that the artist is trying to bring out in some of those cartoons most notably irans nuclear obsession and syria a non member of the UN. But nonetheless i have to appreciate the creativity in putting all the points across.

  10. Gayathri

    absolutely brilliant!

  11. Gaurav

    hindus should read the book – decolonising the hindu mind by koenraad elst. this is a brilliant book

    1. Srishti

      Elst is a hate mongerer with nobody except the Hindu far right backing him- he has no legitimate credentials in the academic world and is only useful for those with a confirmation bias and utter desperation to hold on to their moribund warped world view.

  12. Susmita Abani

    Thanks for sharing these. They just tore through my heart!

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  14. Imran

    Brilliant and very creative. You really have a very good understanding of world affairs and from a neutral perspective.

  15. Ma

    Gender Equality 🙁 That is annoying

  16. Satyender

    I can not resist myself from commenting here. How did you get all these? What an amazing collection, dumbstruck!

    Thank you

  17. Vigneshwaran

    Excellent compilation.. I have never really commented on posts that I happen to come across, but this one is too good not to post a comment. Brilliant!

  18. Kunal

    Very thoughtful compilation. Congrats!

  19. Simble

    This is just brilliant. Great job

  20. Niharika

    Loved each and every one of them. Liked how HOPE is placed 🙂

  21. Darren

    I am actually grateful to the holder of this website who has shared this fantastic article at at this time.

  22. Anitha Choudhary

    Simply Awesome!!! Each picture can raise a hundred questions in every head !!!

  23. Lester

    Spot on with this write-up, I honestly believe that this web site needs a lot more
    attention. I’ll probably be back again to read more, thanks for the info!

  24. Harish

    Great collection of brilliant cartoons.

  25. Saravana Kumar

    Good collection of cartoons, very humorous

  26. durgesh dhote

    very clearly express by the pictures……speechless work

  27. Siddharth

    These sketches stunned me. They were so very verbose to my mind. I feel their pain. :/

  28. Deepanshu

    This page has been surprising me a lot lately. It’s so good to see a ‘youth’ page which is serious about politics, and not just about popularity. Keep up the good work.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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