Cartoons, Political

   The history of political cartoons in Burma goes back to the early 20th century, when they satirized British colonial rule. Most of the earliest cartoonists were Europeans, whose work appeared in English-language papers such as the Rangoon Times. Ba Gale was probably the first Burmese to become a full-time professional cartoonist, publishing his work in the Times and the Burmese-language paper, Thuriya (The Sun). One of his most famous pieces, published abroad, lampooned the European obsession with Mahatma Gandhi's loincloth, which the Indian nationalist leader wore when visiting London in 1933. A famous cartoon for Thuriya made fun of subservient Burmese who, wishing to please overweight British visitors who were loath to doff their shoes in holy places, carried them around on their backs on the platform of the Shwe Dagon Pagoda. After independence in 1948, Ba Gyan became prominent for his cartoons. But the art of the political cartoon languished after Ne Win's military takeover in March 1962.
   During Democracy Summer, political cartoons again flourished, especially in unofficial "street publications," often depicting Ne Win and his cronies as horned demons. Since 1988, both the State Law and Order Restoration Council/State Peace and Development Council and the democratic opposition have used cartoons to make their point. The SLORC/SPDC cartoons, appearing in the New Light of Myanmar (Myanmar Alin), are often crude, for example, 1999 cartoons depicting Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as a power-hungry, gaptoothed old hag. On the opposition side, cartoonists in exile. such as "Mr. Burma" and "Green November," have drawn humorous takes on the grim realities of life under military rule.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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