NEW DELHI: A recent cartoon published in the German news magazine, Der Spiegel, has sparked outrage among many Indians, including Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar. The cartoon depicts an overcrowded Indian train moving on a parallel rail line, leaving behind a modern Chinese train. The cartoon is a reference to India overtaking China as the world’s most populous country.
Many Indians have taken to social media to express their anger and disappointment with the cartoon. They have accused the magazine of racism and ignorance about India’s progress in recent decades.
Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar tweeted his displeasure, stating that the magazine is stuck in old ideas about India and does not recognize the progress that India has made. He also criticized the magazine for its lack of sensitivity towards the issue of overpopulation in India.
Chandrasekhar tweeted, “Dear Cartoonist at Der Spiegel, Notwithstanding ur attmpt at mocking India, its not smart to bet against India under PM Modi ji, In a few years Indias economy will be bigger than germany’s.”
Dear Cartoonist at @derspiegel— Rajeev Chandrasekhar 🇮🇳 (@Rajeev_GoI) April 23, 2023
Notwithstanding ur attmpt at mocking India, its not smart to bet against India under PM @narendramodi ji 💪🏻In a few years Indias economy will be bigger than germany's 😁😁#NewIndia pic.twitter.com/Evzooqfc2J
Kanchan Gupta, senior advisor to the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, wrote on Twitter that this cartoon is ‘horribly racist’.
👋🏽#Germany this is outrageously racist. @derspiegel caricaturing India in this manner has no resemblance to reality. Purpose is to show #India down and suck up to #China.— Kanchan Gupta 🇮🇳 (@KanchanGupta) April 23, 2023
This is as bad if not worse than the racist cartoon in @nytimes lampooning India’s successful Mars mission. pic.twitter.com/z9MxcPQC7u
The cartoon has been widely criticized for its stereotypical portrayal of India as a backward and overcrowded country. Many Indians have pointed out that the cartoon fails to take into account the many positive developments in India, such as its growing economy and technological advancements.
The controversy over the cartoon highlights the need for greater cultural sensitivity and awareness in the media. Many Indians feel that the cartoon is a clear example of the kind of insensitive and ill-informed reporting that perpetuates negative stereotypes about India and its people.
Another Twitter user has written that this cartoon shows the ‘mentality of the elite class’. ‘Der Spiegel’ has not yet responded to these criticisms.