July 2, 2010

Bolti Lakeerain: An Indigenous Comic book 

If you think comics is just western art focused on superheroes, you should change your perception now. A new comic book titled 'Bolti Lakeerain' has hit the market now. Completely indigenous creation and you can call it a book for the people by the people. This is the collection of some of the numerous comics gathered together during the last five years. These are not merely ink lines sketched on paper aimlessly but each one narrates a story with a significant meaning behind it. These comics are created by the common people living in distinct places; e.g. from Kakapeer to Kashmir in Pakistan. In these comics they narrate real stories of their day today life.  

These are the stories that were narrated to us during the workshops, helped to open debate in the society on several social issues. People who attended the workshop are of the view that this skill has got immense significance in their lives as a unique means to express themselves. This method is so interesting, easy and effective that just with the help of two A-4 sized paper and pen it makes each one of them capable to bring out their perils and plights. Simplicity is in the core of each story and the same echoes in comics they create. Their lifestyle, culture and their verbal relation to the people living in the community- each line they draw covers every aspects of their life.  

These workshops were organised in villages, cities, schools, universities in collaboration with different organizations to impart the skill of comics making to the people living in that area and to equip them with the art of self expression. Some of the comics are created by those who cannot even read or write but they successfully expressed themselves through pictures. The editors of the book says “we are printing only few among the numerous comics. The purpose of compiling this book is to spread the thoughts of common people to masses. Book has a foreword by Dr Muhammad Ali Siddiqui. 

The book was compiled by Nida Shams and Sharad Sharma who has trained several common people in South Asia in this kind of communication methodology. Published by World Comics Network, which is a collective of cartoonists, media persons and grassroots activists. World Comics promotes comics as a communication tool and as mode of self-expression in remote and difficult areas South Asia and other countries. 

Nida Shams
Karachi, Pakistan 

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