Comics for a cause: Lawtoons co-founder Kanan Dhru and her compendium of laws

Lawtoons co-founder Kanan Dhru
Whilst comics are mainly a source of amusement to its readers, the purpose isn’t merely restricted to just that. It can also be a medium to propagate awareness and information. Just ask Kanan Dhru. Having co-founded Lawtoons, the comic publishing house specialises in belting out comics based on the Indian law, spurned across some real life stories. “Visuals are such a powerful way to tell a story and that’s why we chose comics as the way to propagate laws. We crowdfunded for it, whilst people supported it as they wanted something like this to happen,” she shares. Recently, it spread its wings to the electoral front as well, touching upon the issue of sensitising women and children of the country in the form of a compendium. Dhru elaborates, “I’ve been working at Lawtoons since the last 2 years. We raised money through crowdfunding and were lucky to have NID professors mentoring the process of creating a comic book on law. There were people who were aware of the idea. Owing to my work in the area of law and governance, I was chosen as a part of the women and child committee of the Election Commission of India on how to sensitise women voters and children.” “At one of the meetings, I showed them the prototype of Lawtoons which the Chief Electoral Officer of Gujarat really liked at the time and eventually came up with the idea of Lawtoons comic on the law that are affecting election; the entire voting process, the significance of voting etc.” And that just sowed the seeds of the compendium. Featuring real-life stories from several nook and crannies of the country, Dhru enlightens about a lesser known village in Kashmir and how they brought the issue to light. “There’s a village in Kashmir with as few as 21 to 22 people. The Election Commission sends officers during each election to register their votes. And even the people diligently vote every year to make their efforts worthwhile.” But why the topic of elections and voting? Dhru explains, “One of the main areas of concern of the Election Commission was to sensitise young women voters because that is the lowest percentage of voters across the country. The problem is they aren’t registered as voters either from their own residence or that of their husbands. So me and my sister picked up a few real life characters to incorporate into comics and weaved the legal element into it.” Moreover, it was weaved around a yarn of various talented artists who brought their own style, language and culture to it. The efforts by Kanan and the rest of Lawtoons were met with deserved eulogy as not only were the voters encouraging in their responses, but the Election Commission appreciated it too, and are now using the material to encourage more voters from the country. “Although we’ve done a few projects before, this is technically our first client project where we’ve worked on building a full-fledged comic book. It was a first-of-its-kind experience even for us at Lawtoons.” Following the success of the outing, Dhru sheds light on what’s next at Lawtoons when she divulges, “Now we want to create a comic on the sexual harassment for children as there are so many such incidents happening around us. And whenever we go to any school, there are clamours for a comic on the same. So we at Lawtoons are really keen to work on it.” “Besides, we’ve also set our sights on explaining what is government, how our democracy works, the basics of the court system, its proceedings and hearings etc as all of this are an integral part of children’s curriculum. We just want to present the same through the comic way.”
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