How does one explain the complex yet sensitive issue of communalism to today’s youth? A graphic novel is addressing this age–old issue in a unique format. Communalism Explained, penned by former IIT-Bombay professor Ram Puniyani and Sharad Sharma, founder of World Comics India, seeks to break the stereotypes surrounding communalism and terrorism by educating the masses about the issues. The book, published by Oxfam India, a rights-based non-governmental organisation, is available in Hindi and English, and can be downloaded online for free. Readers can also give their inputs and ideas on the subject and be part of a larger movement against communalism. “We are illustrating the text and making the reading lighter so that more people, especially the youth, can be informed,” says Sharma.
Several historical events that occurred in India and around the world find a mention in the book. The book’s narrative starts off with the Babri Masjid demolition and the riots that followed in its aftermath. It also talks about the Mandal Commisssion protests in the ’90s and educates the youth about the Justice Srikrishna report.The book also traces communalism back to the British Raj and talks about recent events like the Godhra riots. World events like the 9/11 attacks in USA and the Israel-Palestine conflict find a place through the graphic pages too. Finally, it also talks about myths and ways to deal with this problem. To make it a nationwide campaign, comic workshops, film shows and discussions will be organised in different cities. "This is not only a book but a resource material which would help us to run workshops across the country and bring people's voices to the fore," says Sharma. The comics from the workshops will later be compiled into a book.
The Babri Mosque, located in Ayodhya, was destroyed in 1992 when a political rally developed into a riot involving 150,000 people.
In 2010, the Allahabad High Court gave a judgment on a disputed property that ran into 10,000 odd pages and had the entire country on tenterhooks fearing fresh violence if it was an adverse judgment.
The Taliban were a militia group that ruled parts of Afghanistan.
After the Twin Towers fell, the US initiated military action against Taliban and Al-Qaeda, who claimed responsibility for the 9/11 attacks.