Sudhir Dhar (born 1934) is an Indian cartoonist, one of the 'second generation' of editorial cartoonists, active mainly from the 1960s to the 1980s, which included R. K. Laxman, Abu Abraham, O. V. Vijayan and Rajinder Puri. Starting with The Statesman in 1960, he went on to work as the political staff cartoonist with Hindustan Times, one of the largest-selling newspaper in north India, for over two decades. After which he worked independently for many newspapers and magazines.
Early life and education
Sudhir Dhar, who is of Kashmiri descent, was born in Allahabad. He earned a master's degree in geography from the University of Allahabad.
Dhar started his career with All India Radio, working as an announcer. A sketch he drew of the The Statesmans News Editor during a radio talk led to an offer to work at the paper. Thus in 1960 with no formal training, Dar started a 7-year stint with the Statesman, under editor Evan Charlton, doing a wordless front-page pocket cartoon titled Out of My Mind. Dar counts Punch and Saturday Evening Post as key influences, and K. Shankar Pillai, and Enver Ahmed as members of the first generation of Indian cartoonists whom he looked up to.
In 1967, Dhar joined the Hindustan Times, the largest-selling newspaper in north India, where he was the political staff cartoonist for over two decades. Dar's This is It, a pocket cartoon appeared regularly on the front page. According to Maurice Horn in The World Encyclopedia of Cartoons, Dar's time at the Hindustan Times was marked by acts of resistance against attempts to curtail his freedom, till he resigned in anger in 1989.
Dhar has also worked for the Independent, the The Pioneer and Delhi Times (a supplement of The Times of India). His cartoons have also appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post and Saturday Review, as well as Mad magazine, which billed him as a 'Tasty Indian Nut'. Since leaving the Delhi Times, he works as an illustrator on assignments for the World Bank, Microsoft and various government departments.
Though Sudhir Dhar worked as a political cartoonist, he refrained largely from satirizing specific politicians and events, taking digs at more general subjects such as corruption and bureaucracy. According to cartoonist Rajinder Puri, 'Dar was never by inclination a political cartoonist. He is not a political animal. His attitude to politics is somewhat akin to what I imagine would have been the attitude of Bertie Wooster. Dar's forte was humour. Pure humour of the zany kind'. Currently he lives in Gurgaon, a suburb of capital Delhi, where he shifted a few years ago.