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Monday, October 19, 2015

Book Review : 'Dussehra : Festivals Of India' by Diamond Comics and 'Tales of Durga' by ACK Comics

Considering this is the Dussehra season, and I had gone to the Easy Library for a storytelling session. I decided to do three books there. The first one, 'Dussehra : Festivals of India' was about Ramayana (in brief), the Mahabharata (the Agyatvas period) and finally, a favourite of mine, Amar Chitra Katha’s ‘Tales of Durga’.

So, let us begin. Diamond Comics version, 'Dussehra : Festivals of India' had a go at this festival, which is celebrated with a lot of excitement across India. Ramayana, which started off with the mention of the Ramlila festival, and how actors do the roles of Lord Rama and Lakshmana. The comic is pretty colourful, with the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakaran and Meghnad, his son. It talks of the ultimate win of good over evil, which would translate to Rama over Ravana. 

Then it moves on to speaking of the history of Dussehra. It talks briefly of how Rama came to be in the forest and then of Soorpanakha’s rejected proposal. How Ravan is brought into the picture ending with the great war of Lanka. How Vijayadasami came into place, before finally ending with Diwali.

Then, a brief story of how Mahabharata’s heroes also ended up, fighting a war with the Kauravas, in King Virat’s kingdom. And, how they almost got caught in the final year, or so the Kauravas thought…

Finally, there was an ACK story of ‘Tales of Durga’. It basically spoke of how the asura, Mahishasura prayed to Lord Brahma. After years of prayer, Brahma appears. Mahishasura asks for immortality, but he is rejected and offered another boon. He then, asks for defeat by a woman, as he thinks that all women would be powerless and meek. 

So, after this episode, Mahishasura goes on a rampage. He defeats and kills a lot of Rishis and kings and good people of the earth. He also lays his eyes on heaven and Indra and the Devas are not spared his ire. Soon, the devas make their way to the three lords, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. They vent out all their problems and the three lords,  who then with all their power create Goddess Durga.

Durga’s first task is to destroy Mahishasura, and she is given all the weapons and a lion to ride. She makes her way to the asura’s kingdom and he, who thought would never be killed, immediately sees the threat. The asuras attack, with Mahishasura in the lead.

How Durga manages to defeat Mahishasura, who appears in various forms and how the Devas take back heaven and the people of the earth return to a safe life in the entire crux of this story.

The ACK version is a good one. One can see the rage in the eyes of the gods, and also Durga’s anger. This comic book definitely has my vote for the ultimate children’s comic. It shows all it wanted to show, and its illustrations are exceptional. 

Both comics do speak of much more, but these were the ones related to Dussehra and that is why they have a mention here. So, do pick up these comics and show your kids a little more of India's mythology...

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