Art and science are closely intertwined, they are not two independent streams of knowledge, as the public perceives them. Sumanta Baruah, whose scientific cartoons are on display at the Indian Institute of Cartoonists has proved this. He has used his artistic skills to spread awareness on scientific topics. Some of a few Sumanta’s cartoons: The legendary scientific apple falls to the ground, but today’s Isaac Newton is too enamoured with his electronic gadgetry to even notice this ‘Eureka’ moment!.
Some of his cartoons are satirical in nature, commenting on society and the influence of science on environment and daily life. “You invented the wheel. Good, but why are you moving it so fast?” asks a polar beart on the last bit of ice to a human drowning due to global warming. In another animated cartoon, there is a “Think” option on the computer keyboard.
Sumanta Baruah creates cartoons that cover a range of topics, from science and technology to the environment to current political events. His cartoons frequently deal with the societal impact of technology, environmental crises, and contemporary socio-political situations. He has been drawing cartoons for English and Assamese publications for over two decades (Bijnan Jeuti, Drishti, Satsori, Current Science, Resonance, and Science Reporter, to name a few). His cartoons have been shown in both national and international cartoon exhibitions. In 2010, the Indian Cartoon Gallery in Bengaluru hosted ‘Smile-with-Science’; a solo exhibition of his science, technology, and environmental cartoons. He spoke at TEDxSIBMBengaluru in February 2020, where he gave a talk titled ‘Cartoons for Science, Society, and Change’. Sumanta is currently employed as a Senior Manager in Software Product Management at Samsung R&D India in Bengaluru.
The problem of cartooning, according to Sumanta, is its brevity. It can be difficult to convey a concept in the fewest words and lines possible, let alone in single-frame composition. A novice must examine the work of prominent cartoonists from India and beyond, both past and current. Because drawing is a vital aspect of a cartoon, it, like any other field, needs continual drawing practice.
Knowledge parted through these cartoons has made learning fun and Sumanta Baruah is truly helping our society open their eyes with his cartoons filled with humour and logic.