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Comics, Assam’s youngsters pill for social ills
Published on 17 Aug. 2009 12:00 AM IST
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On Independence Day, youth in Assam broke free from the traditional mould, speaking out against militancy and violence through a brand new medium - comics. Usha Dewani has been busy giving final touches to a Track of Dismay. It’s a story of a railway track stalled because of extortion threats from militants. The comic strip represents real life violence and underdevelopment that many associate with the Northeast. Dewani is part of New Way, a group of seven communication and journalism students, who think that comics is the best way of telling the world a story. “Grassroots comics give you the power of saying anything in the world. So topics like extremism and extortion which always remain and which is often concealed by the national media... comics can bring them out,” says Dewani New Ways, with help from World Comics India holds workshops to teach participants how to sketch comics. From ragging to domestic violence, all that is happening in Assam, is now on the comics. “After bringing out their own comics, projecting their own issues, they feel confident. They think that this is the medium we have in our hand, we have the power. So we say it’s comics power,” says Hemarani Baishya, another member of New Ways. Another New Ways member D Das Baruah says, “If we use comics to focus on issues like insurgency and militancy people will be able to understand or realise what is the original fact.” Youngsters in Assam have taken their first confident step towards an alternative way of creating awareness about militancy and other problems faced in the state.

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