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.
Author: Orijit Sen
Orijit Sen is a graphic artist, cartoonist and designer based in New Delhi, India.
He has been deeply involved with the development of comics and graphic novels in India, and his pioneering work "River of Stories" (Kalpavriksh 1994) is considered to be India's first graphic novel. He is one of the founders, along with his fellow designer and wife Gurpreet Sidhu, of People Tree - a collaborative studio and store for artists, designers and craftspeople, known for its promotion of innovative artisanal work and creative community building. Orijit is Mario Miranda Chair visiting professor at Goa University, where he has initiated an experimental research-based arts project, entitled "Mapping Mapusa Market", involving students, educationists and artists.
As a teenager living in Hyderabad in the mid 1970s, I had briefly befriended a group of Palestinian students studying at the Osmania University and living in an apartment in my neighborhood. I don’t remember their names or much else about them, but I do remember tasting Hummus for the first time when they shared some with all of us after a game of ‘gully cricket’!