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Kerala Varma, 1924-2010
posted August 5, 2010

The Indian cartoonist Kerala Varma, better known to his fans at Kevy, passed away in the southwestern port city of Kochi on July 23. He was cremated on the same day. He was 86 years old

A well-established cartoonist who was an active participant in cartooning organizations, Varma grew to prominence for a series of pocket cartoons called Bharat Darshan that were published from the early '60s into the '70s. During the Indian Emergency (1975-1977), Varma drew cartoons critical of Indira Gandhi and was imprisoned. Varma was also well-known for his cartoons critical of Jawarhalal Nehru. He was considered a brave cartoonist by several of his colleagues.

According to a profile in New Indian Express Varma was falsely imprisoned, accused of sketching Gandhi on the walls of Delhi.

He held a variety of staff positions from his first at Sankar's, a weekly publication, and later at Eastern Economist. He won a cartoon fellowship with Kerala Cartoon Academy in 1996. He retired from a position at Delhi Cartoons to his wife's home in Tripunithura. A final pair of cartoons, still politically-oriented, appeared in 2008 and 2009 in New Indian Express.

He is survived by a daughter and son-in-law, and was preceded in death by his wife of many years.