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Amar Bari Tomar Bari Naxalbari: A Socio-Political Indian “Comic”

By Antarleena Basu

 

In 2015, while Paul Gravett was affirming that “the Indian graphic novel is here to stay” (Gravett), a 162-page comic/graphic novel that raised many an eyebrow for its dauntless representation of the Naxalite movement and the rise of the communist ideology across India was published in book form somewhere in Bhilai, a bustling industrial city in the state of Chattisgarh in India. The Naxalite movement, also known as the “peasant uprising”, refers to the armed struggle of the peasants against wealthy and exploitative land-owners and it was initiated by a small fraction of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) led by Charu Mazumdar in a small village of West Bengal in India called “Naxalbari”; hence the name “Naxal uprising”. Titled Amar Bari Tomar Bari Naxalbari (which roughly translates from Bengali as “my house and your house is Naxalbari” and echo the popular Bengali slogan of the Naxals), Sumit Kumar’s comic was the first of its kind—it not only dares to portray the serious topic of the Naxal and communist uprising through the verbal and visual interaction of the comic mode but also experiments with a wide array of styles and techniques in the text, thereby injecting the necessary dosage of plurality that could go into the making of an Indian comic. By amalgamating the present political events with those of the past, by invoking classics as well as pop-culture and its icons, by mixing colourful pages with stark blacks and whites, among his many binaries, Kumar creates a scathing, tragic-comic narrative that almost borders on the absurd.

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Posted by on 2019/02/27 in Guest Writers

 

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Spotlight on Indian Comics and Folklore

This post is guest written by Subir Dey, a Research Scholar at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati.

Teenta’ means ‘Three’ in Nagamese language. All the three stories in this book are adapted from ‘the book of Naga folktales’ published by Department of Art and Culture, Nagaland. Folktales are the hidden treasure of our culture and transforming the folktales in comics format was an attempt to unearth the hidden treasure and make it more interesting. The comics presented hereby are work of hard labour, brainstorming and numerous pencil strokes, which are completed over a period of 3 Days, as part of ‘Comics-Comics! A Comics Making Workshop’ conducted by Subir Dey. The main objective of the workshop was to understand the persistence, patience and commitment required for making comics. The art styles are raw and bear certain honesty towards the stories which is rarely seen in today’s polished and flamboyant world of superheroes. The essence of the stories lies in their grounded nature. They tell the stories of spirits, tigers, stepmothers, jealousy, foolishness and so many other emotions and expressions that are part of ‘modern life’ too.

The representation of characters and environment in this book is completely imagined by the artists and may or may not bear resemblance to the Naga culture. This is due to the simple reason that giving out the message of the Naga folktales was given more priority than the exact representation of Naga culture (which would not have been possible in 3 days!).

So, enjoy some of the gems from Naga folktales.
Happy Reading!

To view these comics, please click the link below:

‘Teenta’ Naga Folktales

 
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Posted by on 2017/11/03 in General, Guest Writers

 

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