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