Wednesday, May 11, 2011
40 SUFI COMICS
40 SUFI COMICS : MOHAMMED ALI VAKIL AND MOHAMMED ARIF VAKIL : CREATESPACE : PAGES : 96 : PRICE : RS 256/-
It is a very noble attempt by two brothers to teach spiritual/Islamic life lessons through the medium of comics. It is an amazing collection of comic strips, forty in all, each on a single page, illustrating key spiritual concepts and teachings. Relevant excerpts from the Koran are shown on the page facing each comic. The age of the reading audience could be anywhere from six to sixty of any religion. It is likely to appeal to them all. Life’s lessons are taught in a perceptive, subtle and humorous way. A short comic is a preferable medium these days for many to read and assimilate new subjects. One can go back to it as often as one wants because they are not boring, They convey esoteric philosophy in simple language and cartoons without compromising on content or quality.
The Vakil brothers work together with their father in the family business of developing residential properties in Bangalore. They started with an e-newsletter called “our monthly dose of inspiration”. Then it became their company blog named the “Arif and Ali blog”. The Sufi Comics is a project which they started in 2009.
Sufism focuses on the spiritual dimension of Islam such as faith, respect, piety, love and truth. The brothers learnt to draw cartoons from the bare basics after they started this venture but they learnt the techniques of drawing very fast from some Youtube videos and books. To speed up the process, they used a Tablet PC. They were aware that their project had started off around the time there was such an uproar over the Danish cartoon of the Prophet. Islamic art does not draw the faces of revered personalities. They have respected that tradition.
The book has been published by opening it through the “ Creative Commons” license. This allows anyone to make copies and distribute them. There is one caveat though. No changes are permitted. The print version of the book was published using CreateSpace.com which is an Amazon.com company. The book can be bought online from Amazon.com & Flipkart.com. The good news is that the Vakil brothers will be soon working on Volume 2 of 40 Sufi Comics.
Sufi music has been popularized among the youth by Bollywood, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and A R Rehman. I hope these comics will generate the interest among the youth to know and learn more about Sufism, a subject of great interest to me.