Not many young people may know now but the Hindi comic book industry was very vibrant during the 1990’s. There were so many titles coming out every month. You had Raj Comics (my favourite), Manoj Comics, Tulsi Comics, Fort Comics, Radha Comics, Diamond Comics and then you had characters like Super Commando Dhruva (my favourite), Najrag, Ram-Rahim, Chacha Choudhary, Abedh, Judo queen Radha, Inspector Crookbond, Hawaldar Bahadur, Bankelal, and many more. And then there were other publications like Rajhans, Chandamama and of course Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle. I can say with pride that I had one of the early issues of Tinkle and a particular story of loan repayment which has always stuck with me. In short, my childhood was filled with comic books.
The story of Nangeli is a disputed one. Academic historians have yet to find sufficient external evidence of the events the story describes. For me, the veracity of the facts is less important than the singular fact that the story exists, and continues to be told. It narrates the protest, anguish and anger of those who are excluded from the reach of our collective conscience because they have no text, and therefore no ‘history’. This comics story first appeared in Art Review Asia and is dedicated to Rohith Vemula (1989-2016), who, like Nangeli, chose death over a life of indignity.
It is very hard to actually begin to categories and study Khasi Comics. It is an even harder task to actually find the copies of these comics. However, if you are fortunate and lucky enough to find such comics, you become a privileged witness and an amazed observer to the history of the comic book in Meghalaya; specifically the Khasi Comics. In Meghalaya, the comic book art form is very young; starting approximately around the 1980s and from that period until the present date, very few works have emerged.