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Now, comic book that tackles communalism

Saturday March 12, 2011 05:31:28 PM, PTI

Professor Ram Puniyani releasing the book

(Photo: PTI)

In an attempt to effectively educate the masses about the complexities of communalism, a new graphical account addresses this age-old sensitive issue.

"Communalism Explained! A Graphic Account" penned by Professor Ram Puniyani along with founder of World Comics India, Sharad Sharma, seeks to break the stereotypical image of the minority community prevalent in the majority community.

"After the Mumbai violence in 1993, there have been many misconceptions about a particular community. I felt that people need to be informed about it. Illustrated version appeals more to people, specially the youth," says Puniyani, who took voluntary retirement from IIT-Bombay in December 2004 to work full time for communal harmony.

Available both in Hindi and English, the book has been published by World Comics India and Vani Prakashan with support from Oxfam India, a rights-based NGO.

The book, a graphical representation in form of myths and reality touches upon history of communalism, values of Gandhi, impact of communalism on weaker sections and ways to deal with this problem.

"There is a lot of knowledge about communalism in the academic world but we wanted to inform the masses about it. Comical representation made this complex issue lighter which is simple and appeals to eyes and mind of masses," says Sharad Sharma.

"It is an attempt to preserve the secular fabric of this country and inform the younger generation about this issue. The question answer form delineates the issues and prompts the reader to think about the topic," says Puniyani.

The book also has marginal reference to the state of Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh and a separate chapter on communal politics in India.

To make it a nationwide campaign against communalism, grassroot comics workshops, film shows and discussions will be organised in different cities to mobilise the masses for participation and to help bring out their inner most voices.

"Our work is just a in the ocean and the problem at hand is too big. The number of people taking this work forward to masses is less but we will do our bit," says Puniyani.

"Mostly, in such sensitive issues, people do not get a chance to express their views. We want to change the direction of information flow - it will be from bottom to top," says Sharma.

"We will come out with another book on the same issue which will have graphics made by people themselves," he adds.






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