10 Things to Know: Cartoonist Rachita Taneja, founder of Sanitary Panels

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Cartoonist Rachita Taneja is the founder of Sanitary Panels, an Instagram account that picks topical subjects to illustrate. In the words of Taneja, Sanitary Panels is a feminist webcomic that comments on politics, society, and culture. “I draw to question those in power, start conversations, and support activists,” she says on a website where the account calls for financial support.

Taneja is in the news as one of India’s top court officials, the Attorney General  has given his consent to a law student to initiate contempt proceedings against the cartoonist. According to law website Bar and Bench, the charges relate to two tweets Rachita Taneja made about the Supreme Court granting bail to Republic TV owner Arnab Goswami in an abetment to suicide case. The Attorney General said her tweets were an “audacious assault and insult to the institution”.

Here’s all you need to know about Rachita Taneja.

  • Rachita Taneja is an artist who was born in Delhi and is now based in Bangalore and founded Sanitary Panels.
  • She is popular for her webcomic Sanitary Panels which mainly uses stick figures and scripts sarcastic commentary on current affairs.
  • Taneja says she uses stick figures because they are simple and effective way to communicate.
  • Taneja called her comic Sanitary Panels because she wanted her cartoons to break taboos and be confrontational.

  • “My work has reached millions of people and I feel the responsibility to put out content that is accurate, fair and also contributes to social justice,” Taneja says in a video she has herself put out.
  • Rachita Taneja says she started out as an amateur with little talent and spent her time just doodling.
  • Rachita Taneja’s work aims to empower others to speak up about the issues facing them on a daily basis and to challenge societal taboos. She says she wants to urge people to speak their mind “because that’s what I am doing through my work as well.”
  • Taneja reportedly participated in the Obama Foundation’s Town Hall in New Delhi, India on December 1, 2017.
  • India’s top court has given consent to initiate contempt proceedings against Taneja. The Attorney General said that one of the tweets, a cartoon that Taneja posted from the official handle of Sanitary Panels, had a “clear implication” that the Supreme Court is biased towards the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

  • On December 18, the Supreme Court of India issued a contempt notice against Rachita Taneja. Live Law reports that the notice is returnable within six weeks and was issued by a bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah, based on the petition filed by law student Aditya Kashyap.