Political cartoonist P Mahamud has won the first edition of an award set up in the memory of journalist Gauri Lankesh, who was assassinated in Bengaluru a year ago. The announcement was made on Wednesday by two India centres of writers’ organisation PEN.
Mahamud has been given the “Gauri Lankesh Award for Democratic Idealism” award for his “exemplary commitment to the advancement of social and economic justice and political democracy”, the award citation said. The award carries a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh and will be given annually to individuals or organisations whose work “reflects an abiding passion and courage towards advancing democratic culture in India”, said PEN Delhi and PEN South India.
“Mahamud’s cartoons have offered a powerful, non-partisan critique of political corruption, communalism and caste prejudice, among other problems seen in the country in general and in Karnataka in particular,” said the awarding organisations. “The bold and passionate work of Mahamud has contributed richly to nourish a democratic spirit in public discussions.”
Mahmud began his career as a freelance cartoonist with a Kannada weekly in 1986 and went on to work with several English and Kannada publications.
The jury for the inaugural award, given for work in Kannada, comprised sociologist Chandan Gowda, journalist Sangamesh Menasinakai, and authors Arshia Sattar and Vivek Shanbhag.
Here are a few cartoons he has drawn in recent weeks:
Gauri Lankesh was shot dead at her home in Bengaluru on the night of September 5, 2017. Unidentified men fired at least four shots at her before escaping by motorbike. A special investigation team of the Karnataka Police is investigating the murder.