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Sir J. J. Institute of Applied Arts is quiet affairs. But on 14th, Saturday was different. About 3,000 children, brushes and palettes in hand, descended upon the institutes lawns from all over the city to take part in a cartoon contest organized by the Times of India as part of its Mumbai for Kids initiative.
The children were divided into three age groups and given the theme Mumbai for Me. Such was the flow of ideas that the judges found it difficult to choose the finalists. Since the topic was open-ended, it was good to see so many interesting ideas pouring on canvas in the form of pictures, said the institutes’ dean G.G. Waghmare. While the children were busy with sketching, hundreds of parents waited outside the gates, ensuring a traffic jam for quite a while. The most common sketches were of Anna Hazare and depictions of his anti-corruption campaign, and Manmohan Singh, among other politicians. The issue of corruption and the Lokpal Bill were top on the minds of many participants, be they eight-year-old schoolchildren or 18-year-old collegians. Rutuja Sawant (14) was one such. “This is a topic that everybody can relate to and I strongly believe that the Lokpal Bill can change our city as well as our country for good”, she said. About how pictures can effectively communicate with the public, Sanchita Pandey (18), another participant, said: Unlike articles, which require a lot of time to read, comic strips take no time to be gone through. At the same time, they give the right message to the reader. Another favorite idea was R.K Layman’s Common Man. The old man, with his famous dhoti, checked kurta and desi footwear, found his way onto a good many canvases. Many among the younger participants drew a cleaner, greener Mumbai. If we ourselves don’t change our approach, we cannot expect others to do so. I wish people take cleanliness more seriously in this city, said Sachi Parikh (8). Quite a few participants in her age group drew their favorite cartoon characters. Close to 1,500 children, the youngest of the lot, occupied the lawns. The rest had to be accommodated in the classrooms on all five floors of the institute. “Children are so much more aware of the socio-political condition of (our country) these days. They know right from wrong and what they want, clearly”, said actor Anil Kapoor, who attended the event as a guest and announced the shortlist of finalists. The children in the shortlist were to meet R.K. Laxman on 15th, Sunday at his Pune residence. The winners will be announced by the great cartoonist.
Courtesy: Time of India
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