Everyone knows that comic book superheroes generally get their superpowers from something radioactive. Well, in the Indian village of Jaduguda . comic books have kept the radioactive elements at bay.
Uranium dust from Indian’s mines are no longer being dumped there. In 2002, Surendra Mohan Murmu started creating comic book strips displayed as posters, to stop the practice. It made an impact and policy was changed.
Poster comics are a grassroots for of activism in the country, focussing on local issues and offering solutions to a poor and semi-literate population.
The charity World Comics India founded by political cartoonists seeks to foster this medium with hundreds of workshops held across India.
Other campaigns have included increasing electoral participation in the world’s biggest democratic elections, or against the deforestation of Mizoram’s environment, the phasing out of Kham’s tram system of information about AIDS or child mortality. It’s also a manner of protest that fits in with Gandhi’s example of peaceful demonstration. And successful strips are often picked up and run by newspapers, bringing the message to another audience.
A comics anthology, Whose Development? will be publiched by World Comics India, collecting a number of the more prominent strips.