Unboxed Writers App for Phone and Tablet

Here are more ways to stay at forefront of Unboxed Writers and stay informed and inspired! Download our app for Android Phones and Tablets. Click on the image to Download Now!


Justice

Like Us on Facebook

Follow Us on Twitter

 

Archives

Cattitude: Cause We Support

Cattitude!

The Cattitude Trust is a Public Charitable Trust started to reach out to cats in distress, particularly in Chennai (India).

To know more about Cattitude, 'Like' them on Facebook.

Copyright

Creative Commons License
All content displayed here by Unboxed Writers is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://unboxedwriters.com.

Excerpt, Don't Copy: You may not publish an entire post. You may republish an excerpt of not increasing 250 words.

Give Credit: You may not use any material from our site without giving due credit to the individual author and Unboxed Writers. You must hyperlink directly to the post.

Author: Author of the post retains all copyright, and reserves all rights not explicitly granted here.

Bahadur- The First Ever Indian Superhero

 1

Indrajal Comics (IJC) was launched by leading Indian publisher Bennett, Coleman & Co in March 1964.

The first 32 issues contained Lee Falk’s The Phantom stories, but thereafter, the title alternated between various King Features characters, including Mandrake and Flash Gordon. At Bennett, Coleman & Co the editor at that time was Anand Jain and the GM was Dr. Ram Tarneja. In 1975, Bennett Coleman & Co decided to create an Indian character that could take on the popularity of the four foreign comics that were then ruling the Indian market— Phantom, Mandrake, Flash Gordon and Tarzan. They asked artist and painter Aabid Surti to create an Indian character.

1

During that time, the Chambal Valley in Central India was becoming increasingly notorious because of bandits. Lack of good communication facilities forced the helpless villagers watch their houses being looted. There was typically one police station between hundred villages and that too in treacherous ravines. It was very difficult for people to inform the police in time. There was no point in just blaming the Government or the police. The only other option was that the people organize themselves and face the bandits united. So Aabid created Bahadur as someone who helps create a citizens’ police force to fight the bandits. Aabid was deeply influenced by an excellent book on Chambal by Taroon Kumar Bhaduri- Abhishapta Chambal. Incidentally Tarun Bhaduri was the father of Jaya Bhaduri, popular Bollywood actress and wife of Indian superstar Amitabh Bachchan.

 1

The First Bahadur comics published in Indrajal was Lal Haveli ka Rahasya (Dec ’76; IJC No.267). It was priced at Rs 1. It was also published in Bengali and Kannada language.

The story begins when a dacoit, Vairab Singh, who has been terrorizing villages, is shot dead by the Chief of Police Vishal. The dacoit’s teenager son swears revenge on the policeman who caused the death of his father. However, Vishal helps him turn over a new leaf. The boy was Bahadur, and he grows up to enforce law and order in the little bustling town of Jaigarh.

 1

Bela, daughter of Seth Shivram of Pipli, is Bahadur’s love-interest. Their first meeting was very dramatic, in the fourth story of Bahadur, ‘The white ghost’s den’ ,where Bahadur saved her father from a group of dacoits and since then they were an inseparable couple even though till the very last story they were not married. However, at the end of this story, Bahadur proposed to her, and she agreed. So, one can say, if Bahadur comics were still continued we would have seen them as a couple  in later comics in the tradition of  Phantom-Diana and Mandrake-Narda.

 1

Surti has an interesting explanation for why Bahadur sports a saffron kurta and jeans. “The colour and the kurta are symbols of Indianness. And jeans are a Western import and indicate progress. Hence, the combination,”  he once told me in an interview.

1

In the initial Bahadur comics, Aabid introduced several characters and most of them became an integral part of this series. These included the Police chief Vishal,village head Mukhia with his punch line Ganga maikikasam (I swear by River Ganges), old man Sukhia, whose son Dina was killed mercilessly by bandit Saitan Singh and his gang and ex-dacoit Lakhan.

1

 Mukhialater gets married to girl from Tejgarh in the comic Marusthal ka dasyudal or The Desert Smugglers (IJC No 358; 1980).

1

After 12 comics Surti quit. The last comic penned by him was Thagoo ka giroh in Hindi or The Gang of Imposters (IJC No.326; 1979).

 Then after one year Bahadur reappeared in June 1980 and was reimagined by Jagjit Uppal who continued it till the end. Govind Brahmania continued to illustrate the comics save the last seven which were illustrated by his son, Promod Brahmania. The price was now increased to Rs 1.50. The first Bahadur Comic penned by Uppal was Taskaroo ka chakryayuh or The Secret Assignment. (IJC No. 352; June 15, 1980).

 1

Jagjit Uppal introduced Chamiya, the Himalayan dog in Rajpath ke lootere in Hindi or Highway Gang (ICJ No 419; July 11-17, 1982).

1

 In July 1980 Bahadur Comics started appearing in Tamil language also. The price was increased to Rs.2 with the 23rd issue Khooni Taskar in Hindi or The Maze of treachery (IJC No 439, 1982)

 So why is Bahadur the best ever superhero?

 Just in terms of fiction, he was home grown, relevant to the milieu he was a part of. For instance, he founded the  CSF (Citizen Security Force) at Jaigarh in the Chambal valley. He organized the villagers into a semi police force and had them trained to take on the bandits. At that time bandits were the biggest headache for the police in Chambal valley and Bahadur was the super hero who always foiled their plans.

 1

Later as the problem of the bandits declined in the Chambal valley, Bahadur took on poachers and smugglers. In the eighties and nineties, poaching and smuggling activities were the biggest headache for the Indian police force and super hero Bahadur always foiled their plans. In the bargain he also sometimes foiled their plans to destroy Jaigarh’s Citizens Security Force and loot the village.

 In Taskaro ka Chakryayuh or The Secret Assignment (IJC No. 352; June 15, 1980) Bahadur visits Mumbai to escort jewels that were being sent in Rajdhani express to Delhi. He successfully foils the attempt by Natase, secretary to the former king of Sapragarh ,Hukum Singh, from selling the jewels to smuggler Raj Singh.

 In Kung Fu ke Ustaad or The Kung Fu Kings (IJC 312; Oct 15, 1978) Bahadur is sent by Police chief Vishal to the training academy run by Mikado to learn Kung-Fu. Here Bahadur foils the plan of Murlidhar who was getting his people trained in the academy to destroy the CSF run by Bahadur

In Thagoo ka giroh or The Gang of Imposters (IJC No.326; 1979) Bahadur exposes Seth Haridas who had employed a plastic surgeon to create duplicates of Bahadur so that they could confuse the people of Jaigarh and loot the village.

 1

In Mayawi taskar or The Spectre of Crime (ICJ 382; Sep15, 1981) Bahadur apprehends narcotics smuggler Panna who had employed Dara to hypnotize people and get them to act as conduits for narcotic trade.

And on and on went the narratives. We can thus see that Bahadur tackled a number of crimes that were prevalent in India in the 70s and 80s. And he was emblematic of a simpler, less complicated time.

One can argue that Bahadur is not in the same league as DC and Marvel comics heroes like Batman, Spiderman or Superman. He does not have super powers nor does he use technology and gizmos to fight. India has rich mythological history and Aabid could have easily borrowed from the mythology and created a hero with super natural powers. But this super hero would not have looked like a common man. Aabid wanted to send a message that any common man can become a super hero. Plus there was more believability in such a character. India was a developing its distinct character at that point in time with the infrastructure still developing. Hence a son of the soil like Bahadur made immense sense.

 A total of 75 comics appeared between 1976 and 1990. The first 12 were written by Mr. Surti while rest 63 by Mr. Uppal. The last Bahadur comic was The snake Charmer’s Bait (IJC Vol.27 No.5; April 1990). And we await another superhero who can make sense to the emerging India.

* Vikas is a Brand Marketing professional who loves travelling and meeting new people and experiencing different cultures. Ruskin Bond is his favorite author and he holds Limca Book record for largest collection of books by any author (Ruskin Bond). He can be reached at doonexpress@gmail.com

Similar posts
  • Hope Is The Thing With feathers.. I fear that I might sound ridiculous; I am still throwing caution to the wind and have chosen to relate a profound moment I shared with the Universe. All my life, I was agnostic. Cynical. Bitter. I didn’t believe in looking for signs. I must admit that the cynicism stemmed from my inability to read [...]
  • 300 Things I Hope For…for Us I turned 30 on Friday, and bought myself quite a few amazing books. But I want to tell you about this heartwarming book for now. 300 Things I Hope by Iain S. Thomas In the adorable book, the author hopes for 300 beautiful, moving, simple things for us. Just that. He simply hopes. Each page carries [...]
  • The Ways I Remember Madras… 22-August is celebrated as Madras Day. A tribute to the city I love.. The black cow is heavily pregnant. She walks into the lane where we live. Our 400 square feet box is the first house. With a large writing pad on my lap, I am sitting at the threshold. My pen is in mouth, ‘complex’ maths in [...]
  • Perfect As Is… When we look in the mirror,  we often see flaws and sometimes perfection. What we see  at times goes beyond the physical aspects to character traits or even how we feel about ourselves. There are those who obsess about the way they look and then there are some so unhappy with themselves that they need to constantly numb their senses to get through [...]
  • Memories Of Doon’s Magical Monsoon Moments of truth. Everybody has one or maybe several. So it is with times of inspiration. Everybody has that reference of sight, smell, sound, touch, feeling or piece of imagination that inspires. For me, one of the strongest times of inspiration is when the sky opens to pour its heart out in a manner unrestrained and unabashed. [...]

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Authors

Be the first to read the latest on Unboxed Writers!

Subscribe for FREE and get the latest in your Inbox! You can unsubscribe at any time.
Name
Email *

Admins

Editor & Founder:
Reema Moudgil
Design Director & Founder:
Vani Bahl
Media Consultant:
Poonam Goel

Mission Statement

Who are we? We are writers. And here, in this space, we put pride and passion back into writing. We give ourselves and each other creative freedom and respect.

* We create an environment where content generation does not entail degeneration of inspiration and spirit.
* We create content that we believe in and identify with.
* We recognise that to create is always of more value than to berate.
*We critique without malice and arrogance.

This site is about us writers, what we stand for but more importantly, about creating something valuable, inclusive, thought-provoking. In this space, we do not just stand for ourselves but for all those who listen to a compelling inner voice that tells them, "Create!"

Unboxed Writers Share

Join the other awesome people who get the new posts right away by email!
Be the first to read the latest on Unboxed Writers.
Enter your email and stay on top of things!

Subscribe!