Type of work
Student Thesis Project
Unburdening Myths: Exploring alternate and newer ways of telling stories from the epics.
My comic book uncovers the symbolism behind a key event in Hindu Mythology- the Samudra Manthana or Churning of the Ocean- and presents its philosophy in a manner that resonates with the present day. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation scheme is used as an example of a socio-economic issue that is going through a similar churn of life.
The Samudra Manthana as told in the epics
The story of the Churning of the Ocean describes a battle between the Gods (Devas) and the Demons (Asuras), set in the Cosmic Ocean. As they churned the ocean, there was poison that spewed, but in the end it was the Elixir of Immortality (Amrita) that rose out of its waters. Its meaning- In the Churn of Life, impurities are removed from our mind and life, just as butter separates from milk.
I noticed that PM Narendra Modi’s demonetisation scheme churned the socio-economic situation in India in a similar way as Lord Vishnu, who was the mastermind behind the churning of the ocean. I sketched out quick concepts based on insights from books, blogs, news commentaries, radio shows and conversations with people, about their experiences during the demonetisation.
Churning in the context of Demonetisation
Humour and satire came naturally into my sketches, and I was able to develop a consistent tone of voice. To add some absurdity in bringing the idea of mythology into today’s world, I literally made the characters wear jewellery, crowns, carry weapons and symbols that were characteristic of them.
Absurd characters: Loyal bankers as Lord Shiva, honest taxpayers as the Gods, and dishonest ones with black money as the Demons
'Black, White, and the Great Oceanic Churn' is my personal interpretation of a story from the epics, and its aim is to inspire relevance of Hindu mythology in our lives. You can browse through the entire book here.
My modest knowledge of Hindu mythology really allowed me to look at every exercise with an open mind. Through a series of Design Thinking methods I was able to analyse, reflect and question the ‘single story’, and how we engage with fiction and the visual image.
Humour, satire and visualising characters with absurdity
Decoding symbolism in the story to draw parallels between mythology and familiar current events.