In an effort to lay emphasis on the lives of the country’s defence officers, a team of comic book enthusiasts, in collaboration with Bloomsbury worked on a set of graphic novels centered on India’s gallantry award winners. The first title was released on December 17 , and showcases the valour of Param Vir Chakra Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon.
“The primary aim to create these comics was to preserve and honour the memory of our military martyrs and heroes,” says Aditya Bakshi, a member of the creative team, adding that in the previous decades, ballads and war songs spoke about war heroes, but in today’s times, a new age media that appeals to the children, like the graphic illustrated format of comics, was more apt and effective.
While they released the first title in December, the team is looking at a January release for three more titles Lt Arun Khetrapal Param Vir Chakra, who was the most iconic face of the 1971 war with Pakistan, Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan Ashok Chakra and Bana Singh Param Vir Chakra. Later, in July, on the eve of Vijay Divas for Kargil, the team will release four titles that include Major Manoj Pandey Param Vir Chakra, Lt Vijaynta Thapar Param Vir Chakra, Captain Vikram Batra Param Vir Chakra and Paratrooper Sanjog Chetri Ashok Chakra.
“In December, next year, we will release four more titles that of Cdr BB Yadav Maha Vir Chakra of the Indian Navy who led the missile boat attack on Karachi in the 1971 War, CQMH Abdul Hamid Param Vir Chakra, Maj Mohit Sharma Ashok Chakra and Col NJC Nair Ashok Chakra,” updates Bakshi.
While researching for these graphic novels would have posed as a major hurdle owing to inaccessibility of information, Bakshi was spared of that trouble since he is an army kid himself. He shares his experiences; “I am fortunate as because of my father, who was in the army, I had access to libraries, veterans and serving officers, which was a huge help.”