Satirical Cartoonist Pawan Toon Who Dares To Speak The Truth!

Pawan Toon 1Think of cartoons and what is the first name that pops up in your mind? Yes, we feel the same! Pawan Toon!
A kid born and brought up in a simple middle class family in Patna who changed the entire face of cartoon making in India with his satirical humorous cartoons. This man certainly knows how to keep us entertained and is loved by everyone. His cartoons crosses barriers of age, sex and communities which becomes quiet evident when people from the other states as well keep waiting for his next.

From getting admitted to a school on his own to leading a nomadic life on the streets of Patna for about 1.5 decades, this is the journey of a sketch artist to one of the most loved and respected cartoonists in India.

Excerpts from our conversation with Cartoonist Pawan Toon:

Q. Tell us about your early life.

A. I was born and brought up in Patna. Sketching had been my passion ever since I started recognising things. My first school that was St Mary’s School was the place where I got to know about the painting and sketching competitions. And after that, I started sending my artworks to the then popular child mags like Parag, Nandan, Baalhans and the likes under the “Rang Bharo Pratiyogita”. Every time my artwork got published, it increased my appetite to do more of it.
I used to try and imitate the cartoons published in the newspapers and magazines.

After this, I moved to the next phase of my school life, The Patliputra High School, where sketching and cartoon making was the basis of my admission. In fact, I drew a cartoon of the Principal when he asked me to draw a cartoon! 

After that, i got introduced to the field of cartoons. 
”Hasya Attack” magazine was the real breakthrough for me.

I had started making 4-5 odd cartoons by then on a daily basis.
I started wandering in the vicinity of Patna, from one media house to other and that was when i was introduced to political cartoons.  
I did my higher studies from Patna University.

Q. Why Cartoonist?

A. As a child, I was very passionate about art and sketching.
The primary reason behind my biased love towards cartoons is that it has that one extra dimension than that of normal sketching and that is Happiness. And this is what resulted in me becoming a cartoonist.

Q. Has cartooning always been your passion?

A. As I have said earlier, sketching was the first thing which came to my mind as soon as I held the pencil. However, cartoons would always bring a smile to my face and that was what pulled me towards it.

Q. How was your journey from a child to a cartoonist?What motivated to choose cartoons as your livelihood?

A. Back in my childhood, when in was in 8th grade or so, I was formally introduced to the political cartoons. I got my big break from Navbharat Times the very next year, where I was formally selected as the cartoonist. Then, the real deal which I had to face was to get the content. I started reading newspapers thoroughly on daily basis so as to get the required content for my cartoons. 
But, somehow, that didn’t seem to be enough. And that was the time when I left my home. 
Pawan toonI started living on the streets of Patna, from one street to another, wandering from Gandhi Maidan to Mahavir Mandir every night in search of ideas. I used to observe people, their behavior, their thinking, their conversations and above all, the problem which they had been facing. 

This process gradually became my nature and started enjoying this nomadic lifestyle . Even though I was getting paid after a while, I continued this nomadic lifestyle for a long period of my life. 

And this experience of getting to know new people, listening and observing strangers got me closer to the love for making cartoons and that was when it dawned on me that making good cartoon could earn me a livelihood
 the struggle increased my love for cartoons exponentially.

Q. What changes have you experienced with the advent of social media?

A. The advent of social media has increased the audience for me. Now, even the NRIs and people from other states have come in touch with me. 
And one more thing that I have loved with the inception of social media is that I have got the opportunity to connect directly with my audience. 
I get to know about how they keep on waiting eagerly every day for my cartoons. I have got to know about the taste of my audience and this has helped me frame my cartoons outside the political premise. Things that people can relate to such as rainfall, summer, electricity etc. I now work for people rather than a media house only and this has induced a positive pressure on me. Things have changed and the change is for the better.

Q. What makes you different from other political cartoonists?

A. From the past eight to nine years, I have shifted my focus from political cartoons to the problems and scenarios what common people can relate to. For e.g., Gloves talking to socks in winters, wind talking to clouds etc. This is what people connect to more. And this is what I feel, puts me on a different stage than other political cartoonists.

Q. Have you seen any change in the society as a result of your cartoons?

A. People relate to graphics more than words. And also, making people guilty and smile simultaneously does wonders to the awareness program. They get to realize that they are the ones to whom the cartoon is targeted. 
When I made the cartoon over the eight points of AIDS protection and awareness program, people really got aware of it, which simple text was not able to do. Moreover, the recent series of cartoons I made for the Election Commission on voting and making people aware to come out and vote with the help of a character named ‘Master Ji’ did wonders and there was a huge turnout of people to cast their votes in the last Lok Sabha elections.

Q. What is the story behind your name that is Pawan Toon?

A. My real name is just Pawan. This suffix of ‘Toon’ after my name is the gift of  social media as I had to have a second name there and the first thing that came into my mind was Toon from Cartoon.

Facebook par pawantoon ke naam se kai cartoons dekha hai- Amir Khan

Let me share an interesting story with this name. Mr Amir Khan had come here as the guest editor and asked straight away for ‘Pawan Toon’. Our editor didn’t have a slightest clue as to who this Pawan toon is! Even my colleagues couldn’t crack the name up. As Mr Khan was asking repeatedly for a ‘Pawan Toon’, things took a bit of a frenzy. There was a new girl reporter appointed here and she claimed ‘Pawan Toon’ to be me i.e. Pawan. And as soon as they realized it was me he was referring to as ‘Pawan toon’, I received a call to reach the office urgently. I thoroughly ignored the call, taking it as one of those  regular official meeting calls. I finally reached the office after a few hours and to my amazement even the gate keeper was standing red faced at me. Everyone who got a chance was scolding me. Anyways, this is how the name ‘Pawan toon’ got the fame

Q. Your every single cartoon turns out to be a major hit. Is there any particular strategy for that?

A. I just try to connect to my audience, as much as I can. 
I had to invent a whole new language just to appeal to everyone and not to make any particular strata feel left out and is appealing to each and every class, age group in every region of the state as well as outside the state premise as well. I try to connect to my audience with the subjects that they can connect to and this is what I feel makes people love the cartoons.

Q. What are your interests other than of course, cartoons?

A. The only thing that interests me other than cartoons is upliftment and happiness of kids. I run an organisation under the name ‘Pen and Pencil’. We conduct occasional workshop sessions with kids in random villages to educate people with the help of art and colors. I too get a lot of ideas from these kids regarding my cartoons.

Q. Any message to the budding cartoonists?

A. This field needs patience. I too had to be patient for a long long time.

Q. Why didn’t you move outside of Bihar?

A. I love Bihar. Period. 
Call it home sickness or whatever you want to, I love to be here and work for here and from here. This job that I have been doing was assigned to be taken up in New Delhi. But, it was my request to get this transfered to Patna.

Q. Any message for PatnaBeats Team?

A. This is the wonderful work that you guys have taken up. Try to bring more and more people into this ecosystem. Keep faith in your work and keep spreading positivity.

Q. Any message for PatnaBeats Readers?

A. Everyone has humour in them. Try to pace that humour in positivity. Share your thoughts on social media. Share your thoughts with me too. I would love to hear from you all.

Some of his very famous Cartoon Below:

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Santshree Sinha

A multitudinous freelancer having varied interests in creative field. A philonoist and knowledge enthusiast.

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