A unique effort to help the needy during lockdown

Published : April 03, 2020 11:50 IST

Rasheed Kappan Photo: By Special Arrangement

A few minutes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on March 24 evening that the country would be locked down for 21 days starting that midnight, Rasheed Kappan, a Bengaluru-based journalist and cartoonist, came up with an innovative idea to help the needy. Knowing that the livelihood of people like daily-wagers and footpath vendors would be severely affected, he announced on Facebook that he would do caricatures of 100 people, not for free but for Rs.500 each, that had to be paid to a daily-wager in need of money in their neighbourhoods.

Speaking to Frontline, Kappan said: “I realised that through the period of this long lockdown, people like daily-wage labourers would suffer. So how do you make people give money to the needy in their neighbourhoods? Since I am a cartoonist, I thought that I could use my skills to help and came up with this idea.”

As soon as he announced his project, there were many enthusiastic takers for his offer among his friends and acquaintances. His friends who wanted their caricatures to be done sent their photographs to Kappan. “I first do penciling on paper. If I’m happy with the resemblance, I draw the outline and scan it to my computer. After this, I use Photoshop to colour it and give shades to it,” Kappan explained. Each caricature takes Kappan half an hour to 40 minutes to do and he is committed to doing 100 caricatures for now. Kappan has already finished 14 caricatures as part of his #CareToons series.

Dr. A.S. Senthil Kumaran, an educationist, was one of the first people to react to Kappan’s project on Facebook. As “payment” for his caricature, he bought a week’s supply of groceries for a housemaid with two children who worked in his apartment. Said Kumaran: “I was also influenced by Kappan’s idea. Just as he was using his talent as an artist to help the needy, I decided to use my knowledge in a positive way. On April 8, I’m conducting an online program for 50 school principals on the theme of ‘Managing Schools Post COVID-19’ but I won’t be accepting my fees and have instead requested each participant to contribute a minimum of Rs.2,000 to the The Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) Fund in lieu of my fees.”

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