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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Ambedkar: The Fight for Justice
by Srividya Natarajan, S. Anand
Age Range: 9-11
What does it mean to be untouchable? This unusual graphic biography tells the story of Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar who was one of India’s foremost revolutionaries. Born in 1891 he was an untouchable but by battling against the odds he gained multiple doctorates, campaigned against social discrimination and the caste system and went on to draft the Constitution of India.
While growing up Ambedkar faced routine discrimination – at school, in Baroda after his return from Columbia University and while travelling in later life. To this day the majority of the 170 million Dalits are still denied water, shelter and basic dignities of life.
Pardhan Gond artists Durgabai Vyam and Subhash Vyam successfully interweave historical events with contemporary incidents making this a visually evocative large format graphic book that is full of heavy symbolism and motifs. The rich colour of the Gond art with the speech bubbles clearly woven into the images make this an unusual biography. The story has been written by Srividya Natarajan and S. Anand. There is a foreword by John Berger and the ‘Art of the Book’ is described by S. Anand at the back. Ambedkar received a special mention in White Ravens in 2002.