Representation of History in the Indian Graphic Novel: An Analytical Study of History through the Frame of Graphic Narratives

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Author: Antarleena Basu, Research Scholar, University of Hyderabad, India
Email: Antrleena@gmail.com
Published: December 8, 2017
https://doi.org/10.22492/ijah.4.2.03

Citation: Basu, A. (2017). Representation of History in the Indian Graphic Novel: An Analytical Study of History through the Frame of Graphic Narratives. IAFOR Journal of Arts & Humanities, 4(2). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijah.4.2.03


Abstract

In this research paper I attempt to explore how, through the amalgamation of images and words, India’s historical events have been represented within the frame of the graphic narrative and how these narratives serve to uphold the principles of the “history from below” type of historical narrative, thereby providing counter-narratives to the more dominant, so-called “historical facts”. History in the graphic narrative is a persistent theme as “the visual dimension of the graphic novel contributes substantially not only to our understanding of history but also to a larger question of how history can be represented” (Nayar 2016, p. 14). By primarily focusing on texts like This Side That Side: Restorying Partition, curated by Vishwajyoti Ghosh (dealing with the Partition of India in 1947 and its aftermath), Bhimayana, by Srividya Natarajan, Durgabai Vyam and S. Anand (dealing with the caste system by tracing the life of jurist, economist, politician and social reformer Dr B. R. Ambedkar), Delhi Calm, by Vishwajyoti Ghosh (portraying the Emergency of 1075–76) and Munnu, by Malik Sajad (the national crisis in Kashmir), By also drawing references to graphic narratives across the world like Speigelman’s Maus, Satrapi’s Persepolis and so forth, this paper aspires to identify the omissions, loopholes and discrepancies in established history and seeks as well to question and counter dominant historical narratives, thereby revealing the different manner in which history can be represented within the graphic narrative. Hence, this paper attempts to analyze and understand history and its representation through the “visual-verbal literacy” (Hirsch, 2004, p. 1212) of the graphic narrative.

Keywords

history, Indian graphic narratives, historical documentation/facts, representation, de-centering