Image: One of the cartoons by Inder Bhan Madan

Image: One of the cartoons by Inder Bhan Madan

The Daily Act: Cartoon as Commentary
Speakers: Shobha Madan, Vishwajyoti Ghosh, Ravikant

May 7, 2017 | 5:30 pm
C 13, Pamposh Enclave, New Delhi 110048

Keeping Inder Bhan Madan’s cartoons (an impressive collection of more than 10,000 works done over a fifty-year period) at the backdrop, a discussion on the artist as witness, and the art of cartooning.

Deploying humor and play, the cartoons are an incisive and satirical commentary on political and historical events, and the speakers will unpack some of the possibilities of engaging with an archive of this nature which remained unpublished and unseen until very recently. 

Shobha Madan, a Mathematics Professor at IISER Mohali, will share some of her insights into the life and work of her father Inder Bhan Madan, whose cartoons are part of the C 13 exhibition. Shobha has been working on scanning and organising her father’s archive, of works done by him from the 1950s onwards up until early 2000s. Inder Bhan Madan (1909 - 2007) was a engineer working with the Post and Telegraph Department, Government of India. As part of his work, he was posted to various places including Kashmir, Indore and Assam. His final posting was in Delhi until 1967 when he retired. Following his retirement he managed tea estates in Assam and then spent a decade in Kerseong before returning to Delhi in the mid 1980s. In all these years he took out time to sit down on his table with his pens, brushes, ink and paper and make a daily cartoon. The pieces are all unsigned and undated and never been exhibited before. Apart from the C 13 exhibition, the cartons are being regularly featured by BlueJackal at their website. 

Vishwajyoti Ghosh is an Indian graphic novelist and cartoonist working in the realm of social, educational and political themes. His is author of the graphic novel Delhi Calm (2010). In it Ghosh brings together realistic comic passages with political commentaries and fantastical elements in order to remember a particularly incisive period in more recent Indian history, the state of internal emergency from 1975 to 1977, referred to in India as ‘The Emergency’. His most recent book publication was the group project curated by him This Side That Side: Restorying Partition, an anthology of graphic narratives by 48 illustrators and authors from southern Asia. He is one of the principal designer of the Inverted Commas initiative, a communications collective specialising in social communications also using comics and graphic narratives.

Ravikant is a bilingual historian, writer, and translator, and currently Associate Professor at Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS). He read, researched and taught modern Indian and world history in various colleges of Delhi University before joining the Centre’s Sarai programme at its inception in 2000. He is the author of Media ki Bhasha-leela, New Delhi, Vani Prakashan, 2016. His collaboratively edited books include include Translating Partition: Stories, Essays, Criticism with Tarun Saint (2001); Deewan e Sarai 01: Media Vimarsh: Hindi Janpad (2002), Deewan e Sarai 02: Shaharnama with Sanjay Sharma (2005); His collaborative filmography includes Andaz Production's Kali Shalwar (2001), an adaptation of Saadat Hasan Manto's eponymous story, and Jo Dooba So Paar (2011). Ravikant’s doctoral work, 'Words in Motion Pictures: A social History of Language of 'Hindi' Cinema', navigated inter-media sites such as print, broadcasting, and web in an effort to offer creative connections between these media forms and their diverse publics.

About C 13

The event was a part of the programming of C 13, an exhibition which is a collaboration between FICA and artist Priyanka Choudhary. Between 2010-17, Priyanka used C 13 as a studio space and has now extended an invitation to other practitioners to rethink the possibilities of a studio space. The FICA Reading Room was also housed in the building for the period of three weeks. We invited Susanta Mandal to respond to this project of inhabiting C 13 - a home, a studio, an abandoned site that is being interpreted and experienced differently by each of the exhibiting artists and to come up with a structure for the Reading Room. He designed a self-contained unit, a mobile structure with all the architectural elements of a building. FICA Reading Room is a space for discussions and over the next three weeks we will hold many informal conversations in this room.