Indian Graphic Novel as a tool for Socio-Political Protest
Academic Leadership - Online Journal,
Vol. 21 No. 4 (2020): Vol-21-Issue-4-April-2020
The graphic Novel is defined in Merriam Webster Dictionary as “a fictional story that is presented in comic-strip format and published as a book", while its simplest definition is given as "cartoon drawings that tell a story and are published as a book.” The last two decades have seen many graphic novels being published, creating a new interest in this modern narrative form of writing. The Indian Graphic novel has addressed various socio political issues, making it relevant to the modern Indian literary environment. Though the length of the graphic novel and the book format is the major characteristic that separates it from the children’s comic strips that appear regularly in newspapers and magazines, yet the themes of the major Indian novels are relevant to society, as they address complex and controversial issues. The most acclaimed graphic novel Maus by Art Spiegelman is about the holocaust survivors. He employs the postmodernist technique in which he represented Jews, Germans and Poles as mice, cats and pigs respectively. This graphic novel was awarded Pulitzer in 1992. India writers also started experimenting with the graphic narrative. The Indian precursor to the graphic novel is Amar Chitra Katha, which was about the Indian Epics, myths and historical and religious texts. The Indian graphic novel with serious social and political issues was born with the publication of River of Stories by Orijit Sen in 1994, published by Kalpavriksha. The book was about “The Narmada Bachao Andolan” which was a social movement of the tribal people, social activists and environmentalists against the construction of dams on the river Narmada. The last three decades has seen a deluge of graphic novels in India propagating social and political issues.