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Somanand Saraswati - Perspectives on Culture- Capturing National Culture through Graphic Novels

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posted on 2020-06-29, 15:39 authored by Somanand Saraswati

Graphic Novels have paved a new way for capturing national culture. Graphic Novels are a major shift in literature, as it became 'a social commentary and cultural critique' (Nayar 2016). It accesses national history and consciousness, in a new way, through verbal and visual modes. As Basu (2017) analysed the Graphic Novels and says that “by focusing on the microcosm, that is individuals, the graphic novels reflect in the macrocosm, that is, the national, social crisis.” (Basu 2017).

Once freedom attained from the tight grips of colonialism, India felt the desperate need to re build the nation and its society and polity. This process of reconstruction has introduced massive changes in national consciousness. From colonialism to transitioning into constructing a new idea of nation; India has been in the midst of massive changes in national consciousness. Fanon has extensively explored how a national culture is constructed after colonialism. Interestingly, literature has always played an important role in reflecting the national consciousness. Graphic Novels in India is one such genre, which has been able to reflect how a nation is being perceived or imagined.

India has witnessed a huge emergence of Graphic Novels with the voices of the unheard, representing the fragmented identities. These entitlings make conscious effort to assert an identity different from the Eurocentric paradigms of nationalism. The authorscounters the prevailing idea of nation and constructs her own 'idea of nation'. Furthermore, the words and graphics complement each other so dexteriously that the depiction of Indian society gets the visual impression alongwith the verbal portrayal that provides the reader with the distinct understanding.

This paper explores how idea of nation is being constructed, questioned or reconstructed within the narratives of Graphic Novels in India. The paper tries to locate Graphic Novels in socio-cultural context of India. By examining select examples from a cluster of contemporary Graphic Novels, this paper explores the reoccurring themes and the way of visual storytelling. This paper attempts to examine how, alienation and fragmented identities of urban life is being represented through an imaginative alchemy of text and graphics.



Somanand Saraswati is Ph.D. (English) student at Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University (2018--), and his main area of interest is Indian Graphic Novels. He received his master’s degree from the Central University of Gujarat (2016-18) where he studied a course on Graphic narratives, and bachelors’ degree from University of Delhi (2013-16). During this academic journey, he got chance to present in various national and international conferences; and have published eight papers. He also has certificates like ELPC (DU) and CFE (IGNOU), and done a programme on linguistics at IIT Delhi as well as at IIT Gandhinagar, India.

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