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Aseem Trivedi Biography

Aseem Trivedi is a well-known Indian political cartoonist and activist. Born on 17th February 1987 in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, Aseem Trivedi is famous for his anti-corruption campaign “Cartoons Against Corruption”. He is the founder member of “Save Your Voice”, a campaign against internet censorship in India and was awarded the Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award by CRNI in 2012. He began his career as a freelance cartoonist and worked for a number of magazines and newspapers.

In 2011, when the nation witnessed the widespread anti-corruption movement, ‘India Against Corruption’ led by veteran Gandhian Anna Hazare demanding the Jan Lokpal Bill. Aseem Trivedi also joined the movement and began a cartoon based campaign called “Cartoons Against Corruption” to assist the movement with his art. He exhibited his cartoons in the MMRDA ground in Mumbai during the hunger strike of Anna Hazare and launched a website which contained his anti-corruption cartoons. The website was suspended after receiving a complaint from Crime Branch, Mumbai against the website for displaying defamatory and offensive pictures and texts related to emblem and flag of India. Following the ban a hot debate in the parliament provoked over the freedom of expression in India.

After the ban on his website, Aseem Trivedi uploaded all his cartoons on a blog he created. He along with his friend Alok Dixit started a campaign for internet freedom called “Save Your Voice”. It soon received mass support and turned into a public movement. Save Your Voice, started creative protests in numerous cities and began a debate over internet freedom in India. The campaign was targeted at the excessively harsh and severe rules formed under the Information Technology Act of 2000.

Aseem Trivedi’s cartoons were in the controversy as they parody India’s national symbols. They were drawn to make a point on corruption in the government but were said to be defamatory and offensive by the government. He faced severe allegations of insulting the national emblem, Parliament, flag and constitution through his anti-corruption cartoons. In January 2012, a case of treason and additional charges were filed against him by the Maharashtra Police in Mumbai. On 9 September 2012, He was arrested on charges of sedition linked with the content of his work. The Chairman Justice of the Press Council of India, Markandey Katju defends him saying, “He did nothing illegal”.

Aseem Trivedi was announced as the 2012 recipient of the “Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award” of the Virginia based Cartoonists Rights Network International. This honor is only presented to a cartoonist who is in great danger or who has displayed exceptional courage in the implement of free-speech rights.