A cartoon exhibition gives a glimpse into politics and human relationships in India

Over a 100 cartoons by 101 cartoonists from across the world have been displayed with the works of R. K. Laxman, Abu Abraham, B.V Ramamurthy, Mario de Miranda, Unny prominent among them.

The cartoon exhibition has been organised by the Indian Institute of Cartoonists. There is no dearth of political satire in these caricatures. Signing new ordinances was common place during the Emergency. One of the cartoons by Late Ranga shows Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, the then President of India in bath tub signing the ordinances. Two unpublished works of R K Laxman are also on display. Surprisingly the signature ‘Common Man’ character is missing in these cartoons. Most of the cartoons describe the relationship between politics, government and the citizen. Shankar Pillai’s famous cartoons on Panchsheel agreement and the Nehru-Patel legacy are also on display. These cartoons were published in his ‘To the Rescue’ cartoon column. Politicians like Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, Narendra Modi and Obama have not been spared either. One of the sketches by Subhani shows Manmohan Singh in an eye clinic repeating “Doctor, the last line is very clear.” The nuclear deal is written in this last line while Singh is unable to read the other lines including inflation and corruption written in bold letters. Not everything on the display was political, though most selections had political characters. Two cartoons on display by a Pune based cartoonist S D Phadnis were published in 1967 and 1968. . A mother singing at her top voice while her child offers her candy and a cat coming out with a boiler to get milk from the milkman because the lady is ill are striking.

These cartoons talks about human relations and emotions. There are cartoons on the problems arising due to rapid industrialisation and urbanisation. R K Laxman’s cartoons are based on this theme. A cartoon by Shyam Mohan portrays how water will become a commodity like petrol. Janardhana Swamy touches the topic of science and describes how robotics will bring innovation in begging techniques.

The ‘Formerly United Service Club’ cartoon by Paul Fernandes provides a picture of Bangalore of the 70s. Some comic characters such as Chacha Chaudhary and Jinni have also been included in the exhibition in comic strip style. A collection of cartoons is based on the theme of ‘Breaking the Taboo about Sanitation and Toilet’.

It also includes a cartoon depicting the impact of mismanaged drainage on holy rivers of India. This exhibition is on at the Gallery of Indian Institute of Cartoons till August 25.