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As you flip through the pages, entire life of Dr.Ambedkar plays through your mind like a movie reel. 5 stars to author and illustrator. The book thoroughly captures various emotions like pain, suffering and sometimes even the sense of helplessness faced Babasaheb. Especially on page 142, when Ambedkar puts his signature on the constitution, the words on those panels makes you think perhaps this is what would have gone through his mind while signing.
Being a graphic novel I thought it would have eliminated all the controversial bits like his disagreements with Gandhi, hindu code bill, poona pact etc but NO, it has all those incidents but ofcourse in brief.
After reading the entire book, made me realize that this man has spent his entire life fighting for the oppressed. Wish we had such sincere leaders today like Ambedkar and Pandit Nehru.
The book also capture Ambedkars flaws like his impatience and neglecting his health, neglecting his family etc.
Only regret is, I wish the team had been more explicit in naming the politicians who opposed Ambedkars modern views. It's somewhat easy to figure out from the illustration but naming them would certainly show things black and white to today's generation.
After completing the book, it made me realize if only Babasaheb hadn't met wonderful people who helped him along the way like Maharaja of Baroda, Keluskar, etc or if Gandhiji hadn't recommended his name to chair the drafting committee or if Nehru hadn't been supportive of his modern views of liberty, equality and fraternity wonder what would have happened to this country.
Looking forward to more such works from the team on leaders like Nehru and Patel.
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From other countries
5.0 out of 5 starsBiography of Babasaheb Ambedkar and slice of Indian politics 1900-1950s in graphic novel format
Reviewed in the United States on 29 November 2019
This is a comic book / graphic novel biography of Babasaheb Ambedkar, who was an Indian politician active from the 1920s to 1950s. He was untouchable, which is the lowest caste in the Indian caste system. Through an unusual sponsorship, he was able to get a scholarship to complete college in India, and completed graduate degrees at Columbia University in the U.S. and a law degree in England. He had a lifelong goal to get equality for untouchables in India, and held various offices in India. Because untouchables were so restricted in opportunities, and he had the advanced education and could practice law, he was often the leading or only figure in representing untouchables in Indian government. Also, during this time, India got independence from Britain, and he was involved in that.
This is pretty dense on facts. It's told from the first person perspective of Ambedkar, with some scenes of important historical events that are third person. The entire content of the book is Indian politics from around 1900 to the 1950s. There's lots of detail, and the book does good at filling in background information (I do not know a lot about the topic, and enough background info was included that I could follow the book).
Intended audience is adults. This would be good for anyone interested in learning about Indian politics and history in a highly readable format, or anyone who remembers better with visuals. This would also be good for high school libraries to stock, since it is a biography in graphic novel format, so if students have an assignment related to biographies, this can be a good format to have.
Illustrations are realistic, and have a good level of detail. I looked up the political figures who appear as characters in this book, and could recognize photographs of the characters based on having seen the illustrations in the book. I could also tell characters from page to page, and this was done by keeping detail for each character, rather than by exaggerating an identifying feature (ie. good realistic illustrations, rather than giving someone a big nose or something). That's really hard to do. Illustrations are not like the cover illustration. (Each chapter has a cover illustration and the cover illustrations are more graphic with the crazy colors and silhouettes, and that's what the book cover is.) Style of illustrations is like a Classic Comics style, like line drawings with good detail, and realistic color but color is a bit blocky and not photorealistic. Production quality is good with excellent color saturation and good weight to the pages.
Overall, this is a really good way to get some background information on Indian politics in a format that is quick to read and has good visuals. For me as a visual learner, this is a great way to get history.
5.0 out of 5 starsNice biography format; I was surprised how much I learned
Reviewed in the United States on 22 July 2019
Graphic novels are new for me. I didn’t expect much, but was pleasantly encouraged by how easy it was to learn the facts and nuances of a biographical sketch. I compared reading this work with a similar (and well-written) didactic article, and found I had better remembrance of just about anything I could think of with the graphic novel. This format also seems more detailed and deeper than a visual documentary. The evocative imagery reinforces the message and the facts (as well as the opinions and interpretations), for the figure and for the country/culture he lived in. I am embarrassed to say I had known so little about this controversial but effective leader, who tried to advance human rights for millions in a beautiful but deeply repressive and divided culture. Ambedkar struggled for a deeply oppressed minority (India’s "untouchables"), he wrote significant parts of India’s colorful Constitution (in a pathologically divisive political landscape that he often despised), and he contributed to noviolent conflict resolution (despite his frequent stubbornness, bad temper, and closed-mindedness). We may think of cultural discrimination as the fault of the ignorant and prejudiced, but the book points out most of Ambedkar’s struggles for equal rights involved powerful and supposedly well-educated bureaucrats and elected officials. The book does not hesitate to picture Ambedkar’s perceived flaws and as with any biography, some of the story is conjectural. Of course, so are didactic or visual stories. I think the book also shows the value of democratic India's experience in encountering divisiveness and sectarianism.
Despite the potential aesthetic and educational value of combining pictures with words, graphic illustrations can be misused as badly as any other media (and misused more effectively for propaganda, I suppose). I would use caution when the emotional pull is too directional or when the facts seem contrived. Still, if anyone wants to get a good beginner’s view of a figure like Ambedkar, this book seems a thoughtful place to start. I hope this review can help you enjoy this book.
A graphic novel may not be first to come to mind as an educational resource but this book does a stunning job of covering the role Babasaheb Ambedkar played in India's fight for Independence and his crucial role in the fight for equality. The man known as the architect of India's constitution fought long and hard for the rights of the untouchables in India and, somehow, State mandated History textbooks, documentaries and movies talk only about Gandhi and the Congress Party as the ones who stood up for the Untouchables. Congress was the ruling party in India for a long time after independence and perhaps the textbooks today are different but a lot of what I read in this graphic novel (and verified with other sources) was skimmed over in school texts of the 80's and 90's.
Gandhi's fast to stop the division of the electorate to guarantee political representation to the untouchables was taught in high school as a protest fast against British injustice! Jinnah who insisted on Pakistan being a separate country for Muslims was always painted as a trouble maker and someone who wanted to tear Indians apart. This book is not going to be a comfortable read for everyone since Ambedkar ripped away the pleasant facade of Hinduism to expose the severe ill treatment of the Untouchables and women. He spoke bluntly and eloquently and fought hard to ensure equal rights made it into the constitution and into the electoral process. His work was hampered repeatedly by the old guard Hindus and the Congress party - not the least of which was Gandhi himself.
I found this an absolutely fascinating read since I had learned about the London conferences, the writing of the constitution and the important figures only through one lens and this text explored those events with glaring accuracy.
Ambedkar's fight for protecting Dalit's (as they are called now) did not go as far as he wanted to take it and the consequences are in the newspapers daily in India where a rising Hindutva movement and Hindu extremism is trying to enforce the same caste system that, according to our textbooks 30 years ago, was abolished.
A timely book and a must for anyone who claims to be knowledgeable about the Indian battle for Independence.
5.0 out of 5 starsExcellent introduction into a fascinating person
Reviewed in the United States on 20 October 2019
I recently received my order of "Ambedkar: India's Crusader for Human Rights" by Kieron Moore and illustrated by Sachin Nagar. I left it in the front room and it ended up being read by all who passed through. Each person recommended it. This is a graphic novel that is a biography. I selected this book because I like graphic novels and I was curious about the topic. Bhimroo Ramji Ambedkar was unfamiliar to me.
We all agreed that the artwork is solid. It works with the text and is easy to follow. The narrative is straightforward which allows the reader to go at his/her own pace. I feel like the author did a great job at showing Ambedkar's highs and lows with balance. For such a streamlined book, there was a lot of information to take in. I really like that 'crusader' is part of the subtitle because Ambedkar was a crusader and I think that the author was able to highlight what a challenge that can be for the person and the person's family.
This graphic novel is a great way to learn about a fascinating man and it was well worth the time. It isn't often that my family is in agreement, but this was one such book.
5.0 out of 5 starsForming of Indian constitution! Fight for equality!!
Reviewed in the United States on 14 November 2020
Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s (ambavadekar’s) work in granting equality rights to all Indians belonging to any religion or caste is phenomenal. Caste system at a higher level can be compared with a race inquality.
Dr. Babasaheb’s struggle and hard work leading towards creation of a well balanced Indian constitution and granting similar rights to all Indians was phenomenal. India’s constitution powers India’s democracy.
Loved the fact that this book puts together all the knowledge in a graphic knowledge format. Certainly a very informative book and it makes reading fun! Nice pictures!!
Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s fight is more aligned with Martin Luther Kings fight. I was born in India and writing this review in Memphis, USA - connects me to both Ambedkar and MLK!
Reviewed in the United States on 15 September 2019
I learned the story of Ghandi when I was very young. I never knew that there was another famous Indian human rights activist. The book tells the story of Ambedkar's rise from the "untouchable" class to a great political leader. I found it to be very inspiring. I did find the tone to be a bit too congratulatory. I prefer stories that include a person's flaws because none of us are perfect. Overall, it's an interesting story of a man who was previously unknown to me.