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1965 War Heroes to be Remembered in Vivid Comics

On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Indo-Pak War, comics are revisiting war heroes and their stories.

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(Courtesy: Rishi Kumar)

Subedar Tika Bahadur Thapa gave up his life clearing an encroachment by Pakistani forces and charging against an enemy counter-attack during the 1965 Indo-Pak War.

Army records state:

He himself brought a mortar from another position and fired it single-handed. Suddenly he was hit by a bullet. Despite the severe wound, he kept on directing the fire and, thus, foiled further moves by the enemy, but soon succumbed to his injuries.

For this brave act, he was awarded India’s second highest military decoration, the Maha Vir Chakra.

And now Subedar Thapa’s brave act is being revisited and chronicled, for future generations, in a comic by AAN Comics.

An excerpt from the comic on Subedar Tika Bahadur Thapa.
An excerpt from the comic on Subedar Tika Bahadur Thapa.
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Rishi Kumar of AAN Comics, is planning to present this work to the Indian Army on the eve of the war’s 50th anniversary.

Rishi Kumar, working on his next comic on war hero Subedar Ajit Singh.
Rishi Kumar, working on his next comic on war hero Subedar Ajit Singh.

Along with Subedar Thapa’s story, Rishi is also working on the stories of other heroes of the 1965 war – Subedar Ajit Singh, Major Bhaskar Roy and Major Asaram Tyagi.

The graphic format provides for quick, easy and interesting reading for all. I used to read commando comics on British and American war stories based on fiction. It is high time we had comics of our own Indian War heroes as India has fought 5 wars since Independence.
— Rishi Kumar

Rishi’s comic on Subedar Ajit Singh, a work in progress.
Rishi’s comic on Subedar Ajit Singh, a work in progress.

Rishi, a graduate from Delhi College of Fine Arts, is not alone. Aditya Bakshi, son of a former senior Army commander, has published seven titles including one on Maj Sandeep Unnikrishnan from the 26/11 operation.

Aditya’s firm Aditya Horizons is working on:
– A 45-min documentary film on the 1965 War with animation and live action
– A Jumbo edition of Indian War Comics on the 1965 Indo-Pak War
– A special edition “Chariots on Fire” on Lt Col AB Tarapore PVC, hero of the Sialkot Battle in 1965 War (Comdt 17 Poona Horse)

Aditya took a long sabbatical from his merchant navy job to work on these projects.

Some of the comics in Aditya Bakshi’s Indian War Comics series.
Some of the comics in Aditya Bakshi’s Indian War Comics series.
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What’s the Audience’s Response?

Both Rishi and Aditya found the response to be quite encouraging.

The young generation is beginning to like illustrated war comics in the Indian context as visibility and awareness of such comic books on courage, valour, dedication to duty and sacrifice increase gradually.
— Rishi Kumar

The response has been highly positive and encouraging. The Army, Air Force and Navy have taken copies in bulk for distribution to their schools. A number of civilian schools have also come forth to buy these titles in bulk for their children.
— Aditya Bakshi

So far the Indian comics like the Amar Chitra Katha series have centred around mythological and historical themes. Some other memorable characters from Indian comics are Chacha Chaudhary, Bahadur, Detective Moochwala, Nagraj, Super Commando Dhruva, Doga, Suppandi and Shikari Shambhu.

Despite an enthusiastic response from some quarters, war comics remain a niche category for now.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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