Man crusading against gender inequality in India, chooses comic books as weapons
This may not be the first time India is dealing with the increasing cases of sexual violence against women, but it sure is the first time women and men of India are protesting against it on such a huge scale. A few months ago, an Indian man bought up in New Jersey, Ram Devineni launched an Indian female-superhero comic book, whose protagonist is a rape survivor. And in a short span of time, Priya Shakti has received worldwide acclaim for portraying an Indian rape survivor in a powerful form.
During the 2012 Delhi Gangrape protests, Devineni noticed that most men in India believe that a woman’s immoral behavior or her sense of dressing, are responsible for rape. So after interviewing several such men, he got in touch with various rape victims in India and made comic book strips about their stories. He then teamed up with an illustrator from New York, Dan Goldman, and created Priya Shakti, where goddess Parvati turns a rape survivor into a super hero.
In an interview with Buzzfeed, he explained, “I used to read all these Hindu comic books about the gods as a child… I thought using this popular [medium] would be a good way to challenge cultural norms. I also wanted this to be about India, by Indians, and for India.”
But he didn’t stop there; after receiving international attention for the comic book, Devineni then started finding new and interesting ways to send out the message of gender empowerment in public. Just last week, he organized an exhibition in New York where “where viewers can watch videos of his influences, use an app to see the characters move and fly off the page, and hear recordings of real women telling their stories of rape,” according to the Buzzfeed report.
In India, he took this a step further. If you have a smart phone, you can download an application called ‘Blippar’, where you can read the comics and hear stories from other rape survivors. He has also augmented reality street art in Delhi and Mumbai. Teaming up with other organizations working for similar causes, Devineni and his team plan to distribute the comics for free to children in India.
His next project? –A comic strip series about acid attack survivors. Way to go Devineni!
ORIGINAL SOURCE: Buzzfeed
[Featured Picture Courtesy: i-Docs]