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Drapaudi, Kunti and Gandhari, the leading female characters from the mythological epic Mahabharata had one fact dramatically analogous between them - they all were portrayed as helpless women in distress. In the battle of thrones, dices and right vs wrong, they often found themselves the victims at the hands of the society, either corporeally or psychologically. If these three ladies were reborn in a millennial avatar, how would they react to the new-age situations?
Would they still have been the stereotype women who are usually the favourites with the moral police or manifestation of progressive women who spoke their mind and did things without any fear?
Picture Courtesy: Vagabomb
Annushka Hardikar, who dabbles in illustration, art direction and editorial design, realized that she could no longer relate to the original portrayal of Mahabharata women. That’s how she ended up ideating ‘Oh Nari, So Sanskari!’, a zine (self-published magazine) which draws inspiration from the lives of Mahabarata female figures and does a satirical take by putting them in 21st century life situations. So, her Draupadi struggles to become an ideal wife and daughter-in-law while shaping up her own identity, Gandhari is a bold feminist, and Kunti likes to maintain a diplomatic stance.
In her zine, the ‘sanskari’ woman covers her head, keeps her eyes lowered, wears loose clothes and puts a ‘bindi. And, the perceived ‘bekaar’ woman shows off her cleavage, keeps her hair short, wears indecent clothes and is opinionated. An ‘adarsh’ woman is someone who has a career and job, is a kickass boss at work but must possess great home skills such as waking up at 5:00 am to make a ‘dabba’ and leaving a note saying, ‘kal doodh nahi chahiye’. If she says ‘sex’, then she is a ‘besharam ladki’. There is even a mention of ‘hymenum restorum mantra’ which should be chanted to fix what’s broken down there.
Before launching her zine, Anushka had interviewed about 100 women in the age group 18-30 over a period of four months. She discovered issues such as marrying off educated daughters at an early age and preferring a son over a daughter are still prevalent. All her artwork, text and illustrations are handmade based on these insights.
From virginity and sexual harassment to gender roles and marriage, the spoof on all contemporary issues come as a refreshing break through the re-invented images of Drapaudi, Kunti and Gandhari!
For more dose of fun, follow her zine here.
Cover Picture Courtesy: Behance