A Gardener in the Wasteland: Jotiba Phule’s Fight for Liberty

by Srividya Natarajan, Aparajita Ninan


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book synopsis/description:

A Gardener in the Wasteland - Jotiba Phule's Fight for Liberty (2011) is a compelling graphic novel. The novel is purely based on Jotiba Govindrao Phule’s Gulamgiri (Slavery) of 1873. Gulamgiri was an attack on the slavery of the lower castes and Brahminism. This book is in the form of dialogues, and also describes another powerful character other than Jotiba, who is Savitribai, wife of Jotiba Phule. Savitribai contributed to the struggle too, and opened a school for the girl children in 1848 in Pune. The book with its tongue-in-cheek cleverness talks about the inhuman and cruel laws made by the Brahmans and the atrocities that others faced because of these laws. In a dialogue between Jotiba and Dhondiba, there is a mention about the Brahman domination within India and also their aims and objectives to do so. They reminisce the part about slavery and its history. This is actually for the very first time that a historical non-fiction work is creatively illustrated as a graphic novel.

Srividya Natrajan, a trained Bharatnatyam dancer, is known for her numerous illustrated stories for children. Natrajan has authored Bhimayana (2011), the graphic biography of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, and No Onions Nor Garlic (2006), a comical satire on the caste system. Originally from Chennai, she lives in Canada, London, and teaches Creative Writing and English at the Kings College University. Aparajita Ninan, a resident of New Delhi, was a design intern at Navayana, a publication during 2009-10. This is her maiden venture as a full-fledged graphic designer.

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Year of Publication:
Navayana Publishers
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