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What did Ekalavya see?

Venkat Raman Singh Shyam and S. Anand imagine the world as Ekalavya would have seen it, in their book and exhibition at Khoj Studios, Delhi—"Finding My Way". Here, there's no question of an adivasi learning archery from a city brahman, forget giving up his thumb. Ekalavya just gives them a lesson in life and ethics, and inflicts an easy defeat on the Pandavas.

Finding My Way: A Walkthrough

Did Ekalavya really give up his thumb? What did Ekalavya see when all that Arjuna focused on was the eye of the bird that Drona wanted him to see? How does Venkat Shyam (Venkat Raman Singh Shyam) turn his days of hunger and plying a rickshaw in Delhi into conceptual art in Khirki Extension?

S. Anand, co-author of Finding My Way, will conduct a walkthrough at Khoj Studios, where you will see a wheel spin, a monkey dancing on a tight rope, and a tiger from Kanha bearing witness.

The exhibition is open to all till 11 May, and copies of Navayana's special edition of the book are available for browsing at the exhibition.

Drop a mail to anand AT navayana.org or suresh AT khojworkshop.org to register.

Time 6.30 pm to 7.30 pm
4 May 2016—Wednesday
6 May 2016—Friday
8 May 2016—Sunday
11 May 2016—Wednesday

Venue: Khoj International Artists' Association with Juggernaut Books. For all those who missed the opening, here's a chance to catch up.

To make sure you find your way, follow these directions:
Map: http://khojworkshop.org/contact/

Nearest metro is Malaviya Nagar on the Yellow Line. Exit and take an auto towards Saket malls. Take the lane bang opposite Select City Walk entrance. Turn left along Hanuman and Shiv Mandir, and ask anyone for Khoj Studios—they will show you.
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A Pardhan Gond artist draws his world
South African Gandhi in Durban
‘Strong in culture, not weak in pain’
Experiences of Untouchability

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (1891–1956), one of India’s foremost revolutionaries, grew up untouchable. Battling against the odds, he gained multiple doctorates, campaigned against social discrimination and the caste system and went on to draft the Constitution of India. Throughout his life Ambedkar faced routine discrimination: in school at the age of 10; in Baroda after his return from Columbia University; and while travelling in later life. The discrimination experienced by Ambedkar continues to haunt a majority of India’s 170 million dalits as many are still denied water, shelter and the basic dignities of life.


In this ground-breaking work, Pardhan-Gond artists Durgabai Vyam and Subhash Vyam interweave historical events with contemporary incidents, infusing fresh energy into the graphic idiom through their magical art.


Durgabai Vyam, who has illustrated a dozen books and won the BolognaRagazzi award in 2008 for The Night Life of Trees, says Bhimayana is her most accomplished work yet. Subhash Vyam began as a sculptor before turning to painting. They live in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
Srividya Natarajan is a dancer and novelist; she lives in London, Canada. S. Anand is the publisher of Navayana.


‘Highlights one of the biggest denials of human rights still in existence on the planet. Among the Top 5 political comic books’CNN.com


‘An extraordinary book’—John Berger


‘Beautiful… unforgettable’—Arundhati Roy


‘Distinctive… challenging in all the right ways’
—Joe Sacco


‘Evocative masterpiece’—The Hindu


‘Ambedkar’s plea for justice can be heard again through this compelling documentary’—Times Literary Supplement




ISBN 9788189059354 | Rs 995 | Hardback | 108 pages | 4-colour | 8 x 11” |
ISBN 9788189059170 | Rs 325 | Paperback | 108 pages | 4-colour | 8 x 11” |
World English rights: Tate Publishing, UK
French: Editions MeMo; Korean: Darun;
Spanish: Sextopiso. Published in Malayalam,
Tamil, Hindi, Marathi, Telugu and Kannada


In the Media

Frankly written and drawn in the mnemonic idiom of modern Gond art, the book ends up beautiful, punchy, and always readable.—The Comics Journal


An unusual graphic biography—The Times Literary Supplement


The composition of each page is intricately bound to the flow of the narrative, such that the form easily guides readers through the work.—Jeremy Stoll, Indiana University, Journal of Folklore Research


This is a magnificent work of breathtaking art that symbolises the soul-stirring biography of an exceptional leader.—The Hindu


Perhaps this book will help us see how many injustices we tolerate as long as they are perpetrated against Dalits, while complaining about the “injustice” of reservations.—TimeOut Mumbai


The book is littered with irreverent and playful inversions of the western graphic book genre.—Hardnews


Bhimayana jettisons sequential, cinematic narrative style and brings visual magic realism into a new universe.—The Washington Post


The drawings flow freely on the page, and hence are more expressive, and in unexpected ways.—DNA


One of top 5 political comic books.—CNN


The fluid, magical art plays tricks on the mind, even as the reader discovers newer interpretations each time he re-visits the book.—MidDay


“A graphic novel depicting a life that must have flashed meteor-like across the Indian sky in mid-twentieth century. The story is told in a way that connects Ambedkar’s struggles and triumphs to events very much like the one I started with: violent attacks in our contemporary times, every day targeting Dalit bodies and Dalit homes or institutions with brutal assaults.”—Amitava Kumar in JJ books.

Read an Excerpt