Amidst the troubled times of strife, violence, political rivalries that have befallen upon us, and when religious animosity is paramount — Gandhi’s message of non-violence and peace echoes more clearly than ever and remains relevant.
Author Janhavi Prasada endeavours to bring Gandhi and his message to life through her soon-to-be released graphic novel, Tales of Young Gandhi. She was lured by her subject after reading his autobiography, The Story of My Experiments with Truth. “When I read it, I was so intrigued. Each page had a revelation, and was so interesting. He was human- just like the rest of us. He hated math, he lied to his father, and he had problems with Kasturba. And, most importantly, on every page, there’s a lesson to be learnt. You are not born a saint from the time you’re born- you choose your own path. And that’s what Gandhi did. He was an ordinary man, with ordinary capabilities, who did extraordinary things.”
With her graphic novel, she hopes to acquaint today’s generation with Gandhi and his teachings. “Well, everyone; the younger generation especially would find his autobiography too tedious to read. The graphic format is good for them and once they get their hands on it, they will be hooked. It’s a good dose of information, in the form of emotive visuals, and a language that today’s generation would relate to.”
Prasada’s book, which comes out later this month from Harper Collins India, brings out the aspect of the national leader that people can relate to. She hopes to make him approachable and relatable. “We’ve made him a God. We see him in photo frames in government offices, and talk about him on 2nd October, and 30th January holidays, but there’s so much more to him than that. I want people to know that he was as human as the rest of us – flawed, but he followed a certain mindset, and that’s what made him great. There are aspects about his family life which I personally don’t agree with, but like I said, no one’s perfect,” she says.
“Our life and character building skills are zero, perhaps, a fault in our education system. We have so many issues to deal with. This introspection should begin from within. I would like people to know that you don’t have to stand on a podium and advocate political change to be a good human being. You can do it from where you’re sitting. You don’t have to be superhuman, go to Harvard or IIT to be great. That goodness shows in the little things you do – for yourself, and for the ones around you.”