Published anonymously, Crocodile in Water, Tiger on Land (CWTL) is a weekly webcomic that critiques current affairs and issues of social and political significance that concern contemporary India. Earlier this year, HarperCollins Publishers India published an edited selection of the comic between 2010 and 2014 in book form. The following three chapters have been excerpted from the book, accompanied by an introduction written by the authors for The Caravan.
There’s an old Bengali saying that describes the unhappy state of being stuck between a rock and a hard place, the devil and the deep blue sea, the Congress and the BJP, the CPI(M) [Communist Party of India (Marxist)] and the TMC [Trinamool Congress], the bans and the laws, between silently suffering an injustice or facing the consequences of speaking out, or spending your adult life at a soul-destroying job vs facing the uncertainties of a freelancing career—you get the picture. Roughly translated, it goes like this: Crocodile in Water, Tiger on Land. It’s about the choices people face all the time, but shouldn’t have to.
CWTL was first published anonymously in September 2010 and started off as gentle potshots at the foibles of educated, English-speaking, upper-class Kolkata. Over time it has expanded to more “national” and topical issues.
The creators of CWTL choose to remain anonymous as they put pretty much everything they have to say in their cartoon and there’s nothing to be gained by knowing the authors, except disappointment.