Funny side up

Civil servant and cartoonist Bibhu Prasad Acharya’s cartoon exhibition ‘Obtuse Angle’ is about not shying away from laughing at oneself.

Published: 27th April 2017 05:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th April 2017 12:15 AM   |  A+A-

Bibhu Prasad Acharya

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: “We often look at things from an acute angle, that is, with a critical look. But in every event, there is perhaps an ‘obtuse angle’ that a cartoonist looks for a funny and humorous side,” says Bibhu Prasad Acharya, a man of many facets, who is not only an IAS officer, but also a cartoonist.

His cartoons are satirical in nature and look at the mundane civil servant activities concerned to public policy and governance through a humourous lens. Since he is from an IAS background, there are obvious restrictions to him, that made him look at civil service and laugh at oneself and capture the funny side of everyday.  

Obtuse Angle, a cartoon exhibition by BP Acharya, was inaugurated by Daphne Rebello, Retd Chief Secretary, at Goethe-Zentrum on Tuesday. The week-long exhibition by the 1983 batch IAS officer is part of the ongoing Civil Service Week.

His journey as a cartoonist started at the age of eight when he would spend hours emulating the master strokes of his role models RK Laxman. Kutty and Mario. The JNU topper was selected for Indian Administrative Services in 1983 and thus began his journey of making cartoons on Civil Services.

The Mussoorie Miscellany, a series of his cartoons from 1983 to 1984, were displayed on the wall journal of LBSNAA. His later works were also published in IAS Bulletin of AP that covered a variety of bureaucratic issues that prevailed at the time. In 2006-2010, Mumbai-based Money Life carried a monthly series of Acharya’s cartoons, that had an obvious economic undertone, under the title ‘Obtuse Angle’.  

Civil Services is seen as an extremely serious job where policies and governance is looked closely. “Every government order for sure has the sentence - After careful and critical evaluation” the cartoonist says, but despite this, all of his cartoons are comical. It is a tedious and time-consuming job, but he always finds time to draw.

Daphne Rebello, who had graced the occasion with her presence spoke about the inquisitive nature of the cartoonist and how they perceive the world. “Cartoonists observe things that a normal person may not… Almost everyone was smiling in front of his cartoons, and that is the intention really. But if the cartoonist has a sense of humour, even the person being cartooned has to have a sense of humour. When that doesn’t happen, all hell breaks loose,” she said, after showering compliments on  BP Acharya.

Being in service, the topics that he explores in his cartoons are restricted and says that it does limit a cartoonist’s creativity, but only to an extent. He is looking to publish his works in a book, in the near future. “I will continue being a cartoonist even after I retire,” he says.

The event witnessed a gathering of a lot of BP Acharya’s IAS colleagues and there was an ongoing humorous discussion on what hobbies each one of them would work on after their retirement, taking inspiration from the cartoonist.    

The exhibition is free and open for all, and the artworks will be showcased between 9.30 am and 6.30 pm from Wednesday to May 3.


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