First Hand is an anthology of non-fiction graphic narratives - the first of its kind in India - that narrates the stories of people whose voices have been lost in the drone of a 24-hour news cycle. It may be a comic but First Hand does not have any cape-clad superheroes or cackling supervillains, rather it shows the lives of real people and reflects on the extraordinary - often heart-breaking - circumstances of their lives; be it personal struggle, or social and political injustice. Writers, artists, reporters, activists, researchers, designers, anthropologists, academicians, and film-makers lend their experience, knowledge and craft to bring alive in illustration stories that too often get reduced to numbers and statistics. In doing this, they offer us new worlds through which we can re-enter our own and, perhaps, see it more clearly. The book gives us many different points of view through which we can look at reality, unfiltered and unfettered by the politics of mass media and governance.
The stories range from contemporary narratives which bear witness to our times to more exploratory historical perspectives to simply the extraordinary lives of ordinary people.
For instance, ‘One Step Forward, Two Steps Back’ by Dhwani Shah, describes the protagonist’s experience of visiting Pissurlem, a Goan village where the natural landscape and lush beauty became a victim of mining companies that were allowed to dig beyond the permitted depth. ‘The Girl Not From Madras’ is a reportage piece about the abduction, rape, forced marriage and eventual rescue of a young woman from Assam. 'The Edge of the Map' is a documentation of how people are displaced by large-scale development projects in Jharkhand and Odisha - a narrative interspersed with quotations and commentary by people actually affected by these projects. Another masterpiece is 'Akhtari’ by Gitanjali Rao and Rajesh Devraj, a breathtaking comic on the early life of Begum Akhtar.
First Hand has been planned as a series - with a view to regularly bring narratives from the ground to graphic form. Critical to that is making this project sustainable in the long run - and we have commenced this campaign to achieve the goal!
This is a call and plea to our community and the people at large to make this series more than just a pipe-dream. With this campaign, we hope to bring these urgent narratives in First Hand Volume I closer to the reader, as well as sustain a series that can commit to this work in the long-term.
Here is an approximate cost break-up, listing how we will be using the funds we acquire through this campaign:
Contributor's Honorarium/Compensation - 40%
Production - 40%
Outreach - 12%
Crowd Funding Platform - 8%
If you have any queries or doubts, or just want to chat, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org any time.