| Students admire cartoons in the exhibition at Cotton College on Wednesday. Picture by UB Photos |
May 16: “Sir, I cannot find out the amount of salt and turmeric one should use while cooking dal for 15 people,” says a student to his teacher who is busy cooking a midday meal in a school.
This was how a cartoon of Nituparna Rajbongshi depicts the negative impact of midday meal scheme on school students in an exhibition organised today by the Cotton College Union Society (CCUS) at Manik Chandra Barooah Administrative Building in Cotton College.
More than 50 cartoons of Rajbongshi depict different themes on political and social issues of the state. Some of the cartoons are on civic issues, including artificial floods and piling up of garbage that affect the city residents.
The two-day exhibition is being organised to commemorate the death of human rights activist Parag Kumar Das who was assassinated by alleged Sulfa cadres on May 17, 1996.
The exhibition will continue tomorrow at the same venue.
“We have organised the exhibition to show the students how cartoon is a powerful tool in conveying political and social messages. As cartoons of Rajbongshi throw light on the current political situation and social issues, we invited him to hold an exhibition here,” general secretary of CCUS, Bedabrata Gogoi, said.
Veteran cartoonist Pulak Gogoi, the publisher of Cartoon, the first Assamese cartoon magazine, inaugurated the exhibition and later shared his experiences with the students for around one hour. He told the students how he received threats from a person in Panbazar for depicting the political situation between Russia and China in his cartoon.
He dwelt on how the political leaders in Assam appreciated cartoons a few decades ago and also on his struggle.
“Political leaders earlier could appreciate cartoons. In several instances I have found that despite being ridiculed by cartoons they never became agitated. They tried to understand the indications of the cartoons,” Gogoi said.
The students asked Gogoi whether cartoons could force the decision-making bodies to take any action on different social and political issues or whether becoming cartoonist was his childhood dream at a time cartoonists had limited sources of earning.
Cartoonist Rajbongshi said the aim of a cartoon is not just to provide entertainment. According to him, a cartoon is a strong tool of highlighting faults of the social and political situations through satire. “Cartoons do not only provide entertainment. These play an important role in socio-political situation of the state,” Rajbongshi said.
The students appreciated the cartoons. “Cartoons are always interesting. We enjoy cartoons in newspapers or magazines. These cartoons are interesting and throw light on different issues,” Barnali Kalita, a student, said.