Known for their outlandish violations of typical Indian norm, the Aghoris have become an interesting subject for several Indian authors. Likewise author Ram V portrays the life of Aghoris in his latest comic with the same title.
The author, who was recently in the city to launch his comic book at the Comic Con Express said, “I always wanted to write fantasy stories based in India and in an Indian context but wanted to do so by telling a modern story set in today’s India rather than tell a tale of ages past.
Indian mythology and culture is a treasure trove of inspiring ideas but we seem to get stuck in the same stories being told over and over again.
I wanted to do something new, something different using the same source material.
” Explaining the concept of the comic book, he says, “The book or story isn’t about Aghoris in general but more about this particular Aghori, Vira.
There are certainly elements of Aghori culture in the book.
In-fact each issue begins with a flashback that shows glimpses into the process by which Vikram becomes Vira the Aghori.
” When asked why he chose this particular theme, he says, “They do things we would consider very extreme or even repulsive.
I found that interesting, that there could be a philosophy so extreme that popular society could be repulsed by it and yet respect it enough to attribute religious significance to it.
Plus extreme ideologies make for interesting characters.
” The author has tried to show the Aghori philosophy in the book but as a part of the greater story.
Telling us about his journey, he says, “A lot of the research happened very incidentally long before the book came about.
I’d seen a documentary on Aghoris which was very informative and a lot of what you see in the books is based on things in the documentary. I have met a few such Aghoris during my travels in India but it was long before I wrote the book.
They were interesting to say the least and shocking in some cases. It wasn’t anything they did. It was the fact that one of them spoke in completely fluent English that bowled me over.
” As the author started putting his thoughts on paper there were a few hurdles that came his way. “When I was writing the story, there were a few anxious moments. It is my first foray into writing, specially into writing for comics.
I read up on comics as a medium and did my best to stay true to what I wanted to say through the story. ” About the transformation comic books have gone through over the years, he says, “I am also glad that comics seem to be coming out of their shell in India.
We’ve been relegating comics as something ‘childish’ or ‘non-intellectual’ for far too long. It is a medium in its own and its good to see it getting recognition.