Words appear to reign supreme in print journalism. Black print fills the papers, exploding day after day with commentaries about the world of politics, disasters, drunkenness and drama. This overabundance of words spilling out of the daily paper is voraciously consumed, in an attempt to peel away the layers from the incomprehensible foibles of our leaders. But the word-weary among us yearn for an alternative, which is why there is the editorial cartoon.

Wittily using symbols as tools of satire, the cartoonist provides biting commentary on politics and politicians, making us chuckle at the powers that be, and also at ourselves. Moreover, in a region as linguistically diverse as Southasia, the cartoon can cross boundaries, political and language; the same set of strokes can communicate as easily with Hindi, Urdu and Bangla readers as with Nepali, Sinhala or Pashto speakers. And yet, despite its analytical depth and the universality of its visual language, the intricacies of the craft of cartooning in Southasia remain relatively unexplained and undocumented.

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Himal Southasian