Thursday, July 14, 2011

And We Bleed…..Again….!!!

Around 9.30 pm last night as I was surfing the net, just coming back from office, and unaware of anything that had happened; a journalist friend’s message on a social networking site brought me back to earth; it read, “People in Mumbai don’t crowd areas, so do people in Delhi and Kolkata.. Don’t go out much”… Something didn’t seem right about this, and as I hurried to check the news websites, my worst fears were confirmed on reading the headlines - “17 dead in serial blasts in Mumbai” ; the first thought that escaped my mind was “Not again…!!” I did what a normal person would do at that situation; contacted my relatives in Mumbai, confirmed their safety, breathed a sigh of relief and came back to ponder over the situation.

Actually there wasn’t much to think about really.. The usual frustration, depression and anger after seeing gory images of the bloodstained bodies of the victims, cursing the Govt. and then going back to my routine life. And that is exactly how millions across our nation would have behaved, except for the unlucky few who lost their dear ones in the blast. We do not have much of an option either; the ‘aam aadmi’ has to get into his daily endeavors to earn his bread and butter. And I don’t even want get into the ‘things that should have been done’ and ‘things that we should do to protect us better’ or any tips on the sprucing up of our defense and intelligence bits. Frankly, we are all quite fed up and irritated with the same old banter from our ministers after each and every blast. It has become sort of a routine process, wherein some of our noted ministers would read out ‘consolidatory’ statements and visit relief camps (with the TV cameras in tow) to give the victims unnecessary false hope.

This morning our notable Home Minister droned away incessantly on the more intricate details of the blast, and while politicians from round the globe sent their condolences, (including our beloved little neighbour who strongly ‘condemn’ the blasts); our Prime Minister was absent from the media view. We can however be rest assured that soon enough we will get to hear his customary speeches like “Stringent actions will be taken against the perpetrators” or “We will keep fighting” or something on similar lines. What exactly I feel for this man would be beyond what is allowed in print. However, that isn’t quite necessary at the moment.

What is important though is that we have been slashed again. We have been made to bleed again. All of us, deep down inside know who is behind this, we all know who backs these terror groups, who has made the pledge of ‘making India bleed’ quite openly and yet the hand of friendship never ceases to extend. The bleeding would continue without doubt in the very near future too, the TV channels,rest assured, would keep going into overdrive, the powers that be will continue shrugging their shoulders and we will continue with our normal lives. Isnt it?? If an Almighty really is out there, I don’t know what exactly he is waiting for….

At this juncture, I don’t want to give lectures on what should and what should not be done. Our authorities are much more capable than me to understand all that. I write this not just as a journalist but an Indian, a frustrated Indian, who still doesn’t want to give up hope.

I don’t believe in giving out ‘ condolences’ , as I think those people whose lives have been ripped apart would hardly be bothered about what we say, and our sympathies would surely not help them, would not soothe their blistering pain. Only strong, genuine action might perhaps bring some justice. Our country owes it to them, and a million others like them. It is said that actions speak louder than words and boy is it time for action!! People who still want to say that only dialogue would change the situation be damned… To hell with 'Aman ki Aasha'..It is time for revenge.. It is time for War ….. Jai Hind….!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Evolution of the Indian Comics

“Chacha chaudhary ka dimag computer se bhi tez chalta hai”- This highly renowned and memorable quote from the greately celeberated pages of the acclaimed Indian comic book character still rings fresh in the minds of the Indian comic lovers. Though, sort of juvenile it might have been, but you bet no one would disagree to the fact that the adventures (or misadventures) of Chacha Chaudhary and many more such characters would bring a smile to many a forlorn faces. Kids would eagerly wait for the summer holidays to start just to submerge themselves in the world of these uninhibited clowns. Even the adults, would secretly enjoy skimming through these comics, in the dim light of a chugging train, (though they would never agree to it, and would probably ‘hush-hush’ their children for wasting their time in such ‘deplorable’ stuff!).Even so, one can be certain that every time you go through any of these stuff even today , what with all the digitized versions making hay, it still opens up a barrage of memories for the ardent Indian comic-book lover. The joy and frolic associated with these comics might have diminished over the years, but the charm that it had would never ever die and perhaps it is time to actually look back at the progression of the Indian comics over the years, the reasons for its decline and any future hope that might salvage its sagging fortunes.

Though all at sea in its initial years, the Indian comics underwent significant evolution from the adoptions of the Ramayana and Mahabharata of the 1960s, to informative comics for children, caricatures in print media and adoptions of American superheroes.

Now what Walt Disney is for world animation; Pran is for Indian comics. He first created comical characters like Chacha Chaudhary, Billoo, and Pinki in the 1970s, never having an iota of idea on what proportions his characters would take in the coming years. Then there is Chandama, the comic magazine of the heydays, and a very popular one at that. Since independence, it is being published in more than five languages and still manages to enthrall many a young mind. The quirky stories of ‘Vikram and Betal’ brought quite a bit of reputation for the magazine...

The halfway phase of its development is quintessential. Anant Pai, the pragmatic editor of the Indian Book House, changed the trend of the Indian comics as a whole after founding the series ‘AMAR CHITRA KATHA’ in 1967.They endeavoured to aware the children about their rich heritage. Axioms of religious texts, the stories of martyrs and several legendary and historical personas thrive in the several books. The first book in the series was ‘Krishna’ , followed by the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The compilation today enumerates to 426 volumes. This grand success galvanized other publishing houses like Dreamland Publications and Diamond comics at New Delhi and Jaico Publishing house at Mumbai to launch new themes.

The start of the 80s saw another prodigious development, as the first Indian comics for children were launched. It was named ‘TINKLE’ and within a short span of time it became quite famous. Treading a bit on the steps of Amar Chitra Katha, Tinkle branched out to various educational themes including science, contemporary culture etc...It brought into the foray a host of unforgettable characters like funny Suppandi, Mooshik the adorable mouse, Shikari Shambhu, Kalia the witty crow and the foolishly wicked Tantri.Their escapades are still well relinquished by one and all. Another well known publishing house of Indian comics is Raj comics, producing famous characters such as Nagraaj the Hindu hero, Doga, Super commando Dhruv, Parmanu and others.

Cartoon strips for print media and comic books flourished, especially in West Bengal. Pratulchandra Lahiri produced two strips for the Jugantar newspaper Bengali and for the Amrit bazaar Patrika in English.Narayan Debnath had gifted the country with his distinctive creations, ‘Nonte Phonte’ and ‘Honda Bhonda’ is still in circulation and has spawned animation films. Another of his creations ‘Batul the great’ is one India’s earliest superheroes as it was conceived during the 60s.

Indian comics has come a long way since then. In recent years though, the sale of the regular comics had dropped quite low. The sagging fortunes got a major upheaval with the launching of the Virgin comics by Gotham comics of India in collaboration with a foreign company. They are specialized in producing special series of Indian comics in collaboration with a foreign company.

They are specialized in producing special series of Indian comics in Indian mythology and Indian history.’ Devi’ and other science- fiction adaptations of Ramayana and others are on the way.
In the current era of computers and the internet, Indian comics will have to adapt to the advancing technology. Web comics is thus in vogue. This format is expected to expand due to ICT (Information and communication Technology) literacy, large number of white – collar workers and internet penetration in India. Web comics afford an outlet for artists who do not wish to distribute via published media.

One hopes that the future of Indian comics chugs along, with the blend of the new and the spice of the old, with dollops of classicism and trendiness poured into it to make it a profound package. Almost insatiable!!