Cartoonist and satirist Sukumar dies at 91

Cartoonist Sukumar. Photo: Manorama

Kochi: Prominent cartoonist S Sukumaran Potti, commonly known as Sukumar, passed away here due to age-related ailments on Saturday. He was 91.

The founder of the Kerala Cartoon Academy, Sukumar has penned over 50 books, including poetry, stories and novels.

A popular satirist, Sukumar won the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for comic literature in 1996 for his work 'Vayil Vannathu Kothakku Pattu'.

Sukumar, who was the president of Narma Kairali, an organisation representing humorists in the state, for a long period, had worked with prominent dailies in Malayalam, including, Malayala Manorama, Mathrubhumi and Janayugam, among others.

Born in 1932 to Subbarayan Potti and Krishnammal in Veeralam near Attingal in Thiruvananthapuram, Sukumar often joined his father, who was a priest at the Thampanoor Subrahmanya Temple, in dressing up his favourite idols for darshan. He also used to draw the caricatures of the idols on the walls and on paper.

Sukumar used to draw on the walls of his house using charcoal and was often chided for doing so. It is Dr Raghavan Pillai, who once came home to treat Subbarayan Potti, who saw Sukumar's wall murals and recognised his genius.

He worked with the Home Department for 30 years. His spouse is Savitri Ammal, who predeceased Sukumar. They had two children -- Sumangala and Rema, who also predeceased him.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan condoled Sukumar's demise. He said Sukumar was a genius who left his mark in the fields of comic literature and cartoons. "Sukumar was distinguished by his witty criticism without a touch of hatred. He was careful not to mix his personal grudge in his scathing criticism through cartoons," he said.

Leader of opposition V D Satheesan said cartoonist Sukumar was a unique talent who made the people laugh through his drawings, writing and lectures.

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