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Controversy erupts over India’s first gay cartoon character

27, Jan 2010 By Pagal Patrakar

Mumbai. Leading cartoonist Karan Khan has announced the arrival of his latest creation – a frog called Gaydhak (गेढक). Gaydhak has orange spots on its largely green skin, and walks upright like human beings. It leaps over only when it sees a fellow male frog that gives it a gay character, therefore making it the first gay cartoon hero of India. Gaydhak will soon be seen in one of the leading newspapers in India as a daily comic strip.

“We Indians are becoming more and more open and liberal. Many people are now publicly accepting that they were gay and I thought it was high time we had a gay cartoon hero as well. Gaydhak is a tribute to India’s pluralism.” Karan Khan said, hoping that adventures of the gay frog will remove misconceptions and prejudices against homosexuals in India.

When asked why he had not made Gaydhak wear his underwear over his green dress, as is the case with most of the superheroes, Karan Khan clarified that he didn’t want gays to be perceived as superhumans but as normal people instead. Karan further informed that Gaydhak didn’t possess any special powers and would not rescue the world from the evil forces. He would be a normal gay living in a fictitious place called ‘Gaytham City’.

Fans expect Gaydhak to feature in a Bollywood movie after its success
Fans expect Gaydhak to feature in a Bollywood movie after its success

The Adventures of Gaydhak will be published in one of the leading newspapers, name of which was not disclosed by Karan due to ‘professional constraints’. The mystery has caused a lot of curiosity among people, who are planning to buy all the newspapers from tomorrow onwards.

But a controversy too is brewing amid all this mystery and curiosity. Faking News has received an e-mail sent by a group, calling itself Amar Hindu Sena (AHS), which claimed that Gaydhak was hurtful to the Hindu sentiments and had the potential to defile Hindu minds.

“There are saffron spots on the frog, which Karan Khan has deliberately put to hurt Hindu sentiments. Also, in traditional Hindu culture, a frog has been a symbol of rain and happiness but this is a Muslim conspiracy to erode Hindu traditions. Karan Khan will have to pay dearly for this.” the e-mail threatened.

Within minutes of receiving this e-mail, we received another threatening e-mail from a group calling itself Ahl Hadees Sipaah (AHS), which claimed that Gaydhak was unislamic in character and hurtful to the Muslim sentiments. The group has given an ultimatum to Karan Khan to roll back Gaydhak by Friday, or at least change its color of skin to non-green, failing which the cartoonist will be beheaded.

Despite Faking News making these e-mails public, Karan Khan has refused to comment on the controversy. But many human rights groups expressed outrage over such threats and have asked the government to provide police protection to the cartoonist.

Meanwhile some parents, although curious to know more about Gaydhak, have expressed unhappiness over the possibility of a gay character becoming a role model for their children. They have demanded that instead of a newspaper strip, Gaydhak should feature in a late night television show.