The comic that sheds light on the basic ‘Adhikaar’ of women

“One is not born, but rather becomes a woman!” – Simone de Beauvoir

Since the inception of universe, women have always been considered the “second sex”. In fact, they were also being deprived of their basic right of enfranchisement – voting. From then, women have come a long way fighting for their position in the society including their household. As Oprah Winfrey said, “Their [men] time is up”, the wave of women empowerment has swept the world off its feet with women achieving greater heights and shattering stereotypes. “Empowerment of women is essential as their value system leads to the development of a good family, society and ultimately a good nation,” said A P J Abdul Kalam. And rightly so, women today are conquering the world in every aspect of life. Whistling Woods International’s Adhikaar, is a collection of comics which speaks of the experiences faced by Muslim women, one in case of the system of ‘triple talaq’, and the other in case of women drivers in the country of Saudi Arabia. The comic talks about the civil rights and the extents to which people have had to go to attain justice in the name of the rights they hold. Written by Prathamesh Gandhi, Bano is based on the events, which led to the ‘triple-talaq’ ban in 2017. Gandhi and Jahanvi Jethwa drew and inked the panels for the comic. Illustrated in Adobe Photoshop, Bano was the first comic the team worked on and decided to adopt the art style of another comic, Persepolis. “Through Bano, we wanted to put forward the example set by Shayara Bano, who fought against all odds to bring the unfair practice of instantaneous triple-talaq to justice. It goes to show that while slow, the judicial system is still reliable and trustworthy,” commented Gandhi and Nancy. Women2Drive is another comic from Adhikaar. Written by Nancy Niharika, the illustrations for the comic are created by Nancy, Shalvi Pandit and Simran Poonia. Women2Drive is based on the struggles of women in Saudi Arabia and is about them for their basic rights to drive. Being illustrated using Adobe Photoshop again, the background art for Women2Drive was done by Shalvi. Poonia drew the line art for each character, and the colour for the characters was decided and done by Nancy. Both of the comics – Bano and Women2Drive deal with subjects that have been controversial topics for a long time. While the stance of the general population is divided, Women2Drive goes international and covers events based in Saudi Arabia. Women’s rights in Saudi Arabia were very limited till the early 21st century because of the very strict ‘Sharia’ law. But recently, with the protests and action taken by the women and their supporters, women in Saudi Arabia have got more freedom because of their long struggle against this law. The condition of women in every country is different. In some countries both genders have equal rights, while other countries completely ignore them, and some countries like Saudi Arabia have realised with time that women should also have equal rights so that the whole country can progress together. Women have definitely gained more freedom over the past years, but we still have a long way to go. For a peaceful society, many more minds need to be changed. Fortunately, representation of women as strong and independent members of society has increased over the years.