Kanan and Kelly Dhru have made legal rights and citizenship enjoyable to understand through their comic book.
Civics classes in my school weren’t exactly what you’d call ‘engaging’, least of all ‘visually engaging’. While reading about the Indian Constitution, which is an exhaustive draft written in complex language, I realised how necessary it is for each man, woman and child to be conscious about his/her rights. But the process of consuming this information was always dull.
To discuss fundamental civil rights and laws with children, sisters Kanan and Kelly Dhru visited various schools in underprivileged sections of Ahmedabad. Kanan Dhru is the founder of the Research Foundation for Governance in India, a think tank that helps implement government reforms. As an advocate who has served on the National Knowledge Commission in the Prime Minister’s Advisory Body, Kanan knew how boring legal jargon could be for laymen, especially for children. This is why she came up with the idea of Lawtoons in 2013, while at the Ahmedabad Hub of the Glober Shapers Community, World Economic Forum.
According to Kanan, “Lawtoons is a comic that explains legal jargons to children in an informal way. It follows the story of a notorious and curious kid Pugloo, and his mystical friend Judgni. When Pugloo is gifted a copy of the Constitution of India by his grandfather on his 10th birthday, he becomes upset on reading its boring language. This is when the friendly genie, Judgni, who resides within the book, comes into Pugloo’s life. The genie tries to quench the child’s curiosity about the laws of India by answering his unbounded questions.”
The Dhru sisters, who have already released Hindi and English copies of the book online in 2014, are now working on a book about the five Fundamental Rights of India. In the future, they are also planning on writing about subjects like ‘What is Government?’, ‘What is the Judiciary?’, internet safety and sexual harassment. To encourage young people to practise their right to vote, the sisters came out with the free comic book Sentinels of Democracy in 2017. Drafted at the request of the Election Commission of India, it is available online on their website.
The content for Lawtoons has been created in consultation with child psychologists. Illustrations have been made by Anish Daolagupu, an alumnus of National Institute of Design (NID), under the tutelage of Sekhar Mukherjee, head of the Animation Film Design programme at NID.
Not only is the content of Lawtoons enticing and important for children, but also enriching for adults!
Purchase or preview Lawtoons here.
Photo Courtesy: Kanan Dhru
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