This is an ambitious and innovative production but, perhaps ironically for a collection clearly based around a single theme, lacking in clarity and purpose, says Elen Turner.

this-side-that-sideThis Side, That Side: Restorying Partition (an Anthology of Graphic Narratives). Curated by Vishwajyoti Ghosh. New Delhi: Yoda Press, 2013. 327 pp. ISBN 93-82579-01-X.

This book represents an ambitious project: to tell stories of the Partition of India through graphic narratives. It contains twenty-eight short pieces on different aspects of the Partition in 1947, from various locations. Present-day India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are all represented, and while most of the texts were originally written in English, a number have been translated from Urdu, Hindi and Bangla. The majority of entries are collaborations between a writer and an illustrator/artist, often in different locations, particularly across national borders.

A gamut of experiences of Partition are represented: life in refugee camps, the continuing difficulty of India-Pakistan cross-border travel, homelessness in both the physical and the psychological senses, the fundamental similarities between Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, despite political rhetoric.

manu josephJerry Pinto’s “Em and The Big Hoom”, Manu Joseph’s “The Illicit Happiness of Other People” and Rahul Pandita’s “Our Moon has Blood Clots” have been shortlisted for the Crossword Book Award 2013.

This was announced Wednesday by a panel comprising publishing consultant Jaya Bhattacharji Rose, authors Ravinder Singh, Anuja Chauhan and Vishwajyoti Ghosh and senior commissioning editor Vaishali Mathur.