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March 31, 2005


OV Vijayan, 1930-2005

imageOotupulackal Velukutty Vijayan, the great Indian cartoonist who went on to become an internationally renowned modernist writer, died in a hospital in Hyderabad yesterday after the failure of several internal organs. Vijayan had entered the hospital two weeks earlier due to complications from Parkinson's disease, and the serious of his situation and rapid decline had been tracked by regional news wire services.

Vijayan's career began with a short try at teaching. He left the academic life to become a cartoonist for Shanker's Weekly in Delhi in 1958. In 1963 he moved to the Patriot as their staff cartoonist, and eventually became a freelancer, working for such publications as The Statesman and The Hindu. Vijayan was known as a sharp satirical mind while working as a cartoonist, and he is also credited for expanding the emotional breadth expected of political cartoons by incorporating a certain amount of sadness and melancholy into his work. He worked with a intergenerational pair of characters, a father and a son, it was said to suggest how little some issues changed over time.

The cartoonist's literary career took off with Legends of Khasak, perhaps his most famous work. He would eventually be awarded the Padma Shri for his contributions to literature. A collection of cartoons, Ithiri Nerambokku, Ithiri Darshanam, was published in 1999. Vijayan had been sick for several years, but he occasionally surfaced for an interview, or to work on a series about cartooning for the Australian press, or to accept a major award.

He is survived by a wife and a son.
 
posted 8:54 am PST | Permalink
 

 
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