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The Hindu
The Hindu
Special Correspondent

Kerala Budget 2020 | Budget document paintings amplify political pitch


In tune with the political pitch of the Budget, Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac chose five masterful works by as many artists as jacket images of Budget documents, carrying on from where he left off last year.

‘Death of Gandhi’, a gouache work depicting the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, done by Tom Vattakkuzhy in July last year, was the cover of Dr. Isaac’s Budget speech in Malayalam.


A work that has been shared umpteen times on social media, mostly without acknowledging the artist, it seeks to depict an uncompromising man laying down his life for his principles.

“The situation demanded that I draw this. Attempts were being made to appropriate Gandhi’s legacy as also to misrepresent his ideals, which inspired me to go back to that moment in history to reclaim him,” says Vattakkuzhy, whose works draw on the social and cultural fabric of the times. But he rues that society very often overlooks the artist as it celebrates a work of art.

The Budget speech in English had another Gandhi painting as its cover. Titled, ‘Learning mind experience’, the work by artist P.S. Jalaja reinforces the need to recall certain hard facts in history.

“To build a society, it is utmost important to understand the larger meanings of the stories of yesterdays that construct the future. It also offers a possibility to survive the post-truth era by studying and leaving an imprint of history through all possible media and thus remembering and reminding others of some sacrifices,” says Jalaja.

Last year’s cover

Incidentally, Jalaja’s painting featuring Mahatma Ayyankali and Panchami was the cover of Dr. Isaac’s Budget speech last year.

The ‘Budget in Brief’ carried on its cover ‘The Flower Vendor’ by early 20th century Mexican painter Diego Rivera while iconic Bengali artist Somnath Hore’s ‘Auction’ was on the jacket of the Medium Fiscal Policy document.

Bengal Famine

Hore is known for his works of the Bengal Famine of 1943 and the Tebhaga Movement. Interestingly, an award-winning work, ‘Ente Ammayum Ayalvakkathe Ammamaarum’ done by high school student Anujath Sindhu Vinaylal, was on the cover of ‘Gender and Child Budget’.

Godfrey Das, designer of the documents, says that the works were selected meticulously in light of the growing resistance to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the attempts to write off Gandhian ideals.

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