Bhimayana, an award winning graphic novel on Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar illustrated by Gond artists: Storytelling at its very best

Bhimayana: Experiences of Untouchability. Graphic novel on Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar with art by award winning Gond artists Durgabai Vyam and Subhas Vyam; story by Srividya Natarajan and S. Anand. Navayana Publishing 2011. ISBN-13: 978-8189059170. Rs. 325  | >>

A must-read for every child and adult in the nation and a must-include in every school’s curriculum. – Sowmya Sivakumar, The Hindu (Literary Review), May 1, 2011

This year, Delhi University chucked Gone with the Wind and James Bond from its optional paper (now compulsory) on popular literature in the English undergraduate course, and included Bhimayana, a book on some of the experiences of BR Ambedkar’s early life. Probably the first graphic book to be incorporated into the syllabus of any Indian university, it has, however, raised a few questions on the way Ambedkar has made an entry into the realm of ‘popular’ culture even as he remains a diminished figure in the life of our nation, fixated as it is on Gandhi, Nehru and Patel.

So, would the inclusion of Bhimayana count as a progressive move? Its inclusion in the new syllabus has more to do with making a gesture towards Ambedkar; an attempt to “give Dalits their due”, than about a re-positioning of Ambedkar and his politics in history, say some Delhi University teachers.

Paramita Ghosh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi, Apr 14, 2014
Since January 2014, Bhimayana is being taught in classrooms. “Ambedkar is not just the answer to a quiz question. He was more than the drafter of the Constitution” […]

Source: Gone with the Wind, James Bond make way for Ambedkar in Delhi University | india | Hindustan Times
Date visited: 18 September 2019

I want to say something about the way this extraordinary book tells its story. […]

The imagined theatre has been destroyed by so-called Communication Experts, the media, politicians without a future, and a global economic system which reduces the whole of History and every horizon of life to the pursuit of profit. On the site of the stage there is today a Shopping Mall.

Yet, in fact, History continues and the struggle persists. And so we face the challenge of how to tell stories about them across the world today.

This book offers a prophetic answer and it is this: replace the stage of History with the Body of a community. A body with a long past, a present of many voices, and a vision of the future. Reading the book and following its story, we enter this body, its bloodstream, its organs, its members. […]

Stories are being told like this all over the world. They are seldom printed and published. This book has now set an example.

Let us thank everyone who contributed to it for that example. – John Berger, 26 July 2010 (Taninges, France)

John Berger, in full John Peter Berger , in full John Peter Berger (born November 5, 1926, London, England), British essayist and cultural thinker as well as a prolific novelist, poet, translator, and screenwriter. He is best known for his novel G. and his book and BBC series Ways of Seeing. […]
Berger began exhibiting his own drawings and paintings in 1994 in galleries in New York City and England. […]
He is the recipient of the Golden PEN Award (2009), presented by English PEN to a writer whose “body of work has had a profound impact on readers.”

Source: John Berger | British essayist and cultural thinker |
Date Visited: Mon Apr 11 2016 13:47:20 GMT+0200 (CEST)

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

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Sardar Patel signing the Constitution
Photo: The Better India >>
Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (1891-1956) was independent India’s first Minister of Law and Justice, and the chief architect of the Constitution of India. – Wikipedia

“The Indian constitution had to empower the state to enter into the realm of Indian society and transform it by eradicating deeply embedded economic, political and social hierarchies.” – Centre for Law and Policy Research (a Bengaluru-based think-tank), quoted by Rinchen Norbu Wangchuk in The Better India, 22 January 2019

Source: “Republic Day 2019: 9 Constitutions That Inspired The Ideals That Define Modern India”
Date visited: 7 June 2020

Tip: Bhimayana, an award winning graphic novel on Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar illustrated by Gond artists >>

To peruse related documents published by government agencies and NGOs, click here >>

Research the above issues with the help of Shodhganga: A reservoir of theses from universities all over India, made available under Open Access >>

A constitution which guarantees: “The State shall not discriminate against any citizen” – The Sovereign Republic of India | Learn more >>

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