Rohan Chakravarty is a renowned cartoonist, illustrator and author, who is using the medium of comics to address issues related to the ecology. In his comic strip, ‘Green Humour,’ the main character is always a species, which we need to know more about and the threat it faces due to urbanisation, deforestation, etc.
In his latest comic book, Naturalist Ruddy: Adventurer. Sleuth. Mongoose, Mongoose is a detective, who unearths some of nature’s most fascinating mysteries, set across India’s various natural habitats.
Some of these mysteries will now be solved, here, in Goa as Rohan is hosting an interactive session on March 18, 2022, at 4.30 pm at Bookworm library, Panjim, Goa.
In a candid chat with Gomantak Times, Rohan speaks about the book; the need to look at micro-fauna, and the use of comics to educate people about pressing and real issues.
From its outward appearance, your latest book, Naturalist Ruddy: Adventurer. Sleuth. Mongoose appears to be aimed at young readers. Was it a conscious decision? If yes, why?
Naturalist Ruddy is aimed at anyone who is curious about nature, and not just young readers. I have heard from many young readers that their parents have been engrossed in the book, hijacking it from them! And, I have also heard from parents that their kids have been reading the book multiple times, denying them their turn! I have also received a rather baffling response from a parent that her daughter wants to be a professional ‘nature-detective’ when she grows up.
This book speaks about the ‘little’ fauna of the forests like bees, beetles, moths, etc. Why do we need to know more about these species, along with elephants and tigers?
The aim of all this, but leaving the charismatic mega fauna out of this book (even though tigers and leopards do make a cameo appearance in one of the cases), and in fact also having a mongoose detective as my protagonist, is to introduce readers to universes that are much smaller than what our eyes, or those of tigers or leopards, are familiar with.
This is the universe of micro-ecosystems, of which a mongoose could be considered an apex predator, and therefore the best insight into them. By treating every interaction between the various elements of these micro-ecosystems as crime scenes and solving them, Ruddy makes readers intimate with the biology of these creatures, while the suspense of his discoveries (I hope!) keeps readers glued to the page.
I was well aware that in the era of dramatically shortening attention spans, only something dramatic would make my reader care about bugs, caterpillars and beetles, and I hope that Ruddy’s mysteries are doing the job!
Do you think that humour, or for that matter comics, are an easier way to educate people, and create an awareness of the ecology, as the message is direct, and also the popularity of your comic strip series ‘Green Humour’ has shown us. What are your thoughts on this?
I believe that it is one of the many effective ways of making your point, and ensuring that it stays with your reader. It could be anything from political satire to science communication. A lot of issues merge with one another in my series ‘Green Humour’. With Naturalist Ruddy, I have tried this too, where biology, ecology, exploration and science merge with detective fiction.
Bookworm will be hosting an author interaction with Rohan Chakravarty, on March 18, 2022 at 4:30 pm. The event will include an interactive conversation with the author, a challenging game, and of course, the opportunity to get your book signed by the author, himself.
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org to register for the event.