Thursday, July 15, 2010

Review : Delhi Calm


Vishwajyoti Ghosh's first solo graphic novel Delhi Calm is a book which takes you through a time of uncertainty and turmoil that existed in India during Emergency.It is a story of the grit of the people who fought for their right to democracy despite all odds during these troubled times. If post independence history interests you, this is one book which you must read.I would say this is a book which should be read by those who lived through the Emergency and all those who have only heard about it.

The Emergency imposed in India in 1975 by the then PM Indira Gandhi (Mrs.Moon in the book) regime would definitely be considered one of the darkest episodes in the history of India post Independence. Imagine a life where you wake up to learn that all your rights as a citizen have been suspended, you are told how to talk, when to laugh, how to live, what to speak, when to speak. Such were the restrictions that existed during the Emergency and this was just the beginning to an 18 month ordeal. Across India, people were picked up and put into jails, which included leaders and legislators of parties other than the ruling party. Anyone considered a threat to the ruling party was immediately arrested. Amongst those taken under house arrest was JP Narayan (The Prophet). Narayan was a figure of great moral authority, a hero of the freedom struggle and a highly respected person who started the 'Total Revolution' movement, a movement started to rid the country of misgovernance, corruption, inflation and class disparity. JP’s movement found a lot of support in the youth who were fed up with the state of affairs. The winds of change were blowing; the country was uniting in its stand to oust the corrupt government, fearing this dissent, the PM arbitrarily decided to impose Emergency.

Parvez Alam, in the book is one such youth who has been trying his luck to get suitable employment, but has been unable to get one. He turns to Vivek Kumar (Master) for help. Master asks Parvez to join Shine Tuition Centre to teach English during the week, and in the weekend tour with his team members of the Naya Savera Band into the villages to garner support for the 'The Prophet' and his cause through music and songs. The pragmatic Parvez meets Vibhuti Prasad, a poet and an idealist who is also a part of the band and they strike an uneasy friendship. But soon differences crop up and things start going awry resulting in the three drifting apart. VP soon after moves to Powerpolis (Delhi) and starts working for a newspaper but suddenly one day finds himself jobless, thanks to the media gag ordered by the government once the Emergency is declared. That is when VP meets Parvez and Master, they regroup again to fight for a common cause –the State. Will they escape the ever watchful eyes of the government? Will they realize their dream of an egalitarian, socialist democracy?

This book, part graphic,part text is set in Delhi successfully manages to chronicle the life and times of people during the Emergency. The book has some fabulous artwork and what is amazing is the detailed look and feel of the seventies. The illustrations beautifully convey the state of total government dominance with the unforgettable slogans coined during the period such as ‘Talk Less, Work More’ ‘Keep Distance, Keep Quiet’ ‘The Nation is in Deep crisis ’ cleverly merged in the background of every frame.

The book manages to capture the interest of the reader right from the start and keeps the reader engaged till the very end. The book is absolutely unputdownable.

A bit about the author:

Vishwajyoti Ghosh 's comics are regularly published in various journals and anthologies, both in India and abroad.His recently published work includes contributions in two international anthologies, When Kulbhushan Met Stockli and Ctrl.Alt.Shift Unmasks Corruption, and Times New Roman and Countrymen. Delhi Calm is his first solo graphic novel.


  1. looks like a cool title- what's up booklovers??

  2. Yes cool title and a very nice book.Must read.

  3. It's a must read n you can get the lowest price @ my site

  4. After a long, only today I could read the book! Very absorbing book. √ćnteresting! Thanks for your blog to introduce the book for the readers..
    keep blogging..