Nepali Times
Quick on the draw

Transcending language, editorial cartoons are able to convey hard-hitting, poignant socio-political messages, often through laugh-out-loud humour. Not only do cartoons humble pompous politicians, they also play a crucial?often unnoticed role in nurturing the public space for social and political dissent and commentary.

Jamal Rahmati (Iran)
Oktay Bing?l (Turkey)
To salute this under-appreciated genre, Himal Southasian is organising the region's first cartoon congress, a gathering of 36 editorial cartoonists from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka to discuss censorship, the challenges unique to cartooning in South Asia and of doing so in local languages, cartooning's status within journalism, and much more.

Husejin Hanusic (Hule) (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
The three winning cartoons of the Southasia Cartoon Competition on the theme 'Dramatic Divide: The distance between the powerful and the powerless' will also be on display. (Winner :top and runner-ups: middle, bottom)The response to the competition, launched by Himal in June, was overwhelming, with 376 cartoons submitted from across South Asia, as well as neighbouring Iran, Turkey, Azerbaijan, China and the Philippines, and from as far afield as Brazil, the US and Russia.

The three-member jury of senior journalists Sadanand Menon, Madhuker Upadhyay and Kunda Dixit, awarded the first prize to Husejin Hanusic ('Hule'), from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Tied for second place were Oktay Bing?l from Turkey and Jamal Rahmati from Iran.

The Pea under the Mattress:
An Abu Retrospective

14-22 November
Yala Maya Kendra, Patan

Selections from the work of Indian cartoonist Abu Abraham during the turbulent years 1966-1988 will be on show at the cartoon congress. The sketches are a testament to Abu's fearlessness, perceptiveness and mastery of critical humour.

They reflect crucial political events that were taking place not only in India but throughout South Asia, including the 1971 Bangladesh War of Liberation, the 1975-77 Emergency in India, the 1979 hanging of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the 1984 assassination of Indira Gandhi, the mysterious death of General Zia ul-Haq in a plane crash in 1988, and the controversial Indian involvement in the Sri Lankan war in 1987.

Throughout this period, Abu saw himself as a socialist. The Guardian once described him as "the conscience of the left and the pea under the princess's mattress".

Toons in Trying Times:
The Best of Nepali Satire

14-22 November
Yala Maya Kendra, Patan

Durga Baral (Batsayan), Abin Shrestha, Basu Kshitij, Rabin Sayami and Rajesh K C explore a wealth of issues through their cartoons, including the astounding show of people power in restoring democracy to Nepal; the tumultuous peace process, culminating in the Maoists joining mainstream politics; the holding of polls to elect a Constituent Assembly, and the subsequent abolition of the monarchy.

Batsayan will open the session with a brief overview of Nepali cartooning.

Both exhibitions are open to the public for free. After a week in Kathmandu, the Abu Retrospective and the Nepali Exhibition will travel around South Asia, with the next stop in Dhaka

Southasia Cartoon Congress
14-15 November
Yala Maya Kendra, Patan Dhoka
01- 5547279

Friday, 14 November
17.00 ? 19.15
* Congress opening, public lecture by Manjula Padmanabhan
* Talk on Abu Abraham by Mark Bryant
* Introduction to Nepali cartoonist exhibition by Durga Baral 'Batsayan'.
* South Asian Cartoon Competition award ceremony.

Saturday, 15 November
9.00 ? 17.00
* History of political and editorial cartooning
* Censors of humour
* Editorial cartooning: step-child of journalism
* Divided through words
* Does Southasian
cartooning lack subtlety?
* Evolving with an evolving media

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)