Annushka Hardikar makes a case for the struggle of being a woman in India through pop art Illustration courtesy: Annushka Hardikar/Behance
If you think your struggle is real, think what the ladies of the Mahabharata might have gone through. You can't even, right? We're tired of telling people being a woman in India ain't easy. Thank you, neighbourhood aunties, mansplaining bosses, body-shamer college friends. So, to narrate a whole new story from the Indian epic, 22-year-old Pune-based illustrator Annushka Hardikar started a webzine on three of its main female characters — Draupadi, Kunti, and Gandhari.
And it's absolutely lit. So lit that the Internet is hailing her as the new millennial mythological storyteller. Titled Oh Nari, So Sanskari, the zine depicts the life of the ideal Indian woman with vibrant illustrations. It deals with problems down there to #patiparmeshwar ftw.
Annushka was clear about what she wanted to talk about. She used mythology as a medium to address a wide variety of subjects, including gender roles, sexuality, marriage, feminism and body image.
“Indian women, in this day and age, are more aware, decisive, bold and opinionated than they are shown to be in the epic. It started becoming evident how dependent these characters were on the men in their lives, although they were probably wiser and capable of making the right decisions. For the millennial generation to connect to these stories, they needed to be retold in a way that highlighted how strong these characters really were,” Annushka said in an interview to HT.
The pop-art approach is quite palpable as is her nostalgic tribute to popular comic strips, Amar Chitra Katha and Panchatantra. Already a hit with netizens, Annushka now plans to publish her work to reach out to more people. That's Annushka for you, just another girl with a head full of dreams.
To check out more of her work from this zine, go here.