Published: 21st June 2021
The Colours that make you Proud: Why this mini-comic on LGBTQIA awareness by Jadavpur Univ students is the coolest thing on the internet
The core group that worked on the comic included members of the LGBTQIA+ community and gender rights activists whose point of view has been crucial to the process
The laws are changing slowly but the social perception about the LGBTQIA+ community is yet to see a major change in India. On the last week of Pride Month, the Students' Federation of India's (SFI) Jadavpur University unit in Kolkata has brought out a bilingual comic booklet — Colour — that talks about issues in the community faces and how the society still needs sensitisation.
Akanksha Neogi, a second-year undergraduate student of Bengali at the university and the illustrator of the project, said that it was a team effort right from the ideation stage. "I think a visual medium always works better than just text. Comic books are something that all of us connect with since our childhood and that affinity does not go away. All of us were involved in the process right from the beginning. Not only were the concepts discussed, but the illustrations were also discussed and conceptualised together," said Akanksha. The story revolves around a same-sex couple who find it difficult to deal with families that won't accept their relationship and a society that does not think that it is 'natural'.
The core group that worked on the comic included members of the LGBTQIA+ community and gender rights activists whose point of view has been crucial to the process, said Tarpan Sarkar, a first-year postgraduate student of Comparative Literature. He was also an integral part of creating the comic boo. "While our comic was mostly distributed among college students, we have also encouraged the student community in and outside JU to share it in their known social circles," said Tarpan. "Jadavpur University community has versatile demography with students from almost all gender identities and they were part of the major ideation process. The idea for the story came from them," he added.
The comic, which was first hand-painted and then digitised, is now available in English and Bengali. Their mode of distribution is preferably WhatsApp and until now it has been only appreciative feedback. Akanksha also added that they want to take the culture of making comic strips forward and come up with comics for every occasion. They had previously brought out a two-part comic series on the lockdown called the Lockdown Diaries.