Indian Cartoons in German Schools

June 17, 2010:

Educating high school students in Germany appears to be highly effective through cartoons. In their study about India, the text books and CD-ROMs now have included Indian cartoons by Manick Sorcar. Two of the renowned publishers, both based in Germany, took permission to reproduce cartoons from Sorcar’s popular two cartoon books, “The Melting Pot: Indians in America”, and “Spices in the Melting Pot”.

“I am writing to you on behalf of Cornelson Publishing, one of the major educational publishers in Germany”, wrote Dr. Ilka Soennecken of Cornelsen Verlag GmbH, English Department, “We are currently preparing a new schoolbook publication entitled Context 21, which is geared to advanced learners of English as a foreign language in German high schools. In this publication we would like to reprint the attached cartoon from The Melting Pot: Indians in America, by Manick Sorcar. The editor of the book is Prof. Dr. Hellmut Schwarz, and the authors are Barbara Derkow Disselbeck, Paul Maloney, Angela Ringel-Eichinger, Ingrid Ross, Allen J. Woppert and Mervin Whittaker. Print run: ca. 100,000 copies, Estimated published date July 2010, Retail price: ca. 21.00 EUR. ”

A cartoon from Manick Sorcar's "The Melting Pot: Indians in America"

In the cartoon, a teacher pointing at the map says, “And this, dear children, is India, the mysterious land of tigers, snake charmers, doctors and engineers”.

Another request for reproduction of Manick Sorcar’s cartoon was for a CD-ROM to be used in high school class rooms. “We are schoolbook publishers of English language teaching material for the German speaking market”, wrote Dr. Beatrix Finke of Langenscheidt ELT GmbH, Mies-van-der-Rohe-StraBe (publishing company) while seeking the permission, “In one of our forthcoming titles (‘View Finder: India’, CD-ROM) we would like to reproduce your cartoon subtitled ‘C’mon Mom’. The authors are Dr. Mita Banerjee and Susanne Stadler”.

The CD-ROM contains other cartoonists’ work on India’s independence movement and political unrest due to threats from neighboring countries. Sorcar’s cartoon “C’mon Mom” was used to focus on the impact of Bollywood films on daily life of the Indians. It was reproduced from Sorcar’s second cartoon book “Spices in the Melting Pot”.

A cartoon from Manick Sorcar's "Spices in the Melting Pot"

This cartoon shows a movie theatre audience, where a young boy, whose eyes have been blocked by his mother, states, “C’mon Mom, what do you expect them to do when they are in love – sing a song?”

Asked how this cartoon was going to be used in the classroom, their explanation was there will be a Q/A session on the cartoon discussing and commenting as follows:

“In Bollywood films songs play an important role. The protagonists sing (playback) and dance to intricate choreographies. As a matter of fact songs do replace eroticism in a way.

-What does the boy’s reaction (and his looks) reveal about his attitude towards the movie?

-Where is the cartoon set and what is the situation?

-Compare looks and facial expressions of the woman in the front row with “Mom’s” and explain her reaction.

-What does the boy’s reaction (and his looks) reveal about his attitude towards the movie?

In public expressions of love and sexuality as much as holding hands publicly are frowned upon – as they might offend sensibilities of some religions communities. Compare it with “our” Western attitude and debate on positive and negative aspects of such a policy”

The CD-ROM has been published and is in full use in classrooms at present. The book awaits release in July, 2010.



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