Nepal’s situation reflects on cartoons

KATHMANDU: Ram Kumar Pandey, a professor of Geography used to be a cartoonist — he started his journey as a cartoonist in 1966. It was his willingness and enthusiasm that made him work in Mayalu entertainment magazine as a cartoonist.

“During my time it was difficult to sustain being a cartoonist. Whereas today one can earn a decent living working as a cartoonist in Nepal,” expressed Pandey at the opening of the cartoon exhibition ‘Nepali Cartoon Ko Euta Kaalkhand’.

The exhibition began on February 23 at The Taragaon Museum, Bouddha. In the exhibition 130 cartoons of 49 cartoonists published in different publications from 1941 to 1990 are on display.

Among them, seven cartoonists have passed away and most of others are now involved in different professions other than drawing cartoons.

In one of the cartoons by Pandey, he has thrown a satire on the dressing sense of ladies who participate in beauty pageant. He has sketched three ladies standing in a row where one is wearing an angular dress, another one is donned in a fish-shape gown, and the third one is wearing a round dress symbolising bizarre dress sense of young ladies. The topic picked was suitable then given the entertainment section as per Pandey. His work is supported by texts in Nepali language — Damaru Avatar, Machhe Avatar, and Pharshi Avatar ridiculing the shape of the attire.

Looking at the cartoons on display, one is able to understand the social and political context of Nepal back then and now. What is the difference? Nothing actually, the country is still facing the same problems.

In Durga Baral’s cartoon published in Bhaadbhailo, he has portrayed Nepal’s prime minister searching for corruption inside the cupboard ready to beat it with a long stick. Late cartoonist Mohan Khadka on the other hand has shown the problem of water in Kathmandu where a group of people are fighting for water from a tanker while two ladies are returning home talking to each other with water-filled vessels. In their conversation one lady is asking the other to return a glass of water her son drank the other day.

The exhibition features cartoons that satirise on the difficult life led by public due to price hike, water shortage, lack of fuel, corruption and so on.

The exhibition is on till March 3.