A journey was started in the 19th century colonial Calcutta, when one of the oldest daily newspapers in India
Amrita Bazar Patrika published a cartoon on 28th February 1872 ridiculing the Government’s approach of
teaching Bengalis how to govern the state. With the growth of nationalism and rising discontent against the
British Raj, there were publications of two satirical periodicals namely Harbola Bhand and Basantak (1874).
They published several caricatures on socio-political issues of an era when there was growing demand for
the right to participate in the municipal elections.
Gaganendranath Tagore, nephew of Rabindranath, was considered the pioneer of modern cartooning in the
early 20th century. He was also the leading exponent of Bengal School of Art. His works cast a critical eye on
orthodoxy in our society along with the contradictions and conceits inherent in its practice.
The editorial cartooning in Bengal started and reached its maturity with Prafulla Chandra Lahiri, known by
his pen name ‘Piciel’, a contemporary of K Shankar Pillai. Piciel was one of the first cartoonists whose cartoons
were published in the US newspapers when he was invited as one of the editorial cartoonists from Asia to
attend The Delegation of World Newspapers in America in the early 60s.
Not many are aware of the fact that P K S Kutty, the legendary cartoonist from Kerala. who had in-depth
knowledge of Bengal’s political scenario, contributed to the Bengali newspapers for several decades and
became a household name. Reboti Bhusan was another prolific cartoonist who extensively worked in various
national dailies and for children’s books whose birth centenary was celebrated recently in Kolkata. Noted
cartoonist and cartoon historian Chandi Lahiri too received enormous popularity during his lifetime for his
social and pocket cartoons. The last of the Golden generation of Bengali cartoonists Amal Chakrabarti, now
86, is still doing thought-provoking pocket cartoons every day for a leading Bengali daily. Over the years
Bengal has produced many legendary and talented cartoonists who significantly contributed to this rich art
On this historic occasion, Bengaluru’s Indian Institute of Cartoonists proudly hosted a grand exhibition at
their prestigious Indian Cartoon Gallery from 3
rd April to 23rd April 2022 to pay tribute to the past masters
and also displayed some of the best works of the present generation of veteran and young Bengali
cartoonists, who are taking the legacy forward.
Chief Guest Sri Chiranjiv Signh, President- Alliance Française de Bangalore, inaugurated the exhibition on 3
April and Sr. Journalist Smt Nupur Basu was the Guest of Honour. During the inauguration program, a 30
minute documentary The Cartooning Culture in Bengal (2021) by Bibek Sengupta was shown, featuring
commentary on the origin and evolution of Bangla cartoons by Kolkata’s renowned humour illustrator Sri
A total of 103 cartoons over the period of 150 years have been displayed. This historic exhibition is curated
by Venkatesh G Narendra and Bibek Sengupta.
Courtesy:Mr. Bibek Sengupta
Indian Institute of Cartoonists
Greetings From: India Toons