Kalaripayattu and Mathematics Graphic Novels @ BYOB Party in May 2018 (Part 1)
The BYOB Party in May started off with graphic novels, a segment of books that is growing in popularity in India. Amruta is a big fan of Indian graphic novels, particularly those that do not glorify mythology too much. She discovered a set of two graphic novels called Odayan, a martial art series featuring a mysterious vigilante who wants to give people back the power they have lost to the Zamorin. The writer and artists Suhas Sundar and Deepak Sharma illustrate the feudalism that once existed in Kerala.
“I particularly loved the clean lines of the artwork. The vigilante wears something like a Kathakali mask; by hiding his mukha (face), his intent is hidden. The story starts with the history of Kerala and how it was formed when Parashurama the warrior threw his axe. The story is distinctly Malayali and not your usual DC comic.” Amrutha found the second part of the series a little darker interspersed with black magic but she recommends the series for its originality: “They even have Malayalam words popping out during the fight scenes!” Suhas Sundar won the best writer award for this work in the Comic-Con India awards 2012.
Vaibhav, a mathematician, also got a comic, one called Logicomix by Apostolos Doxiadia, which we’ve discussed at a previous BYOB Party. This BYOB Party was the party of repeats- lots of books that have been talked about earlier popped up. What doesn’t remain the same is the discussions though. Similar books elicit multiple responses each time. Vaibhav expressed how difficult it is to get an accessible mathematical book, let alone a graphic novel that explores this theme. Logicomix tells the story of Bertrand Russell’s life and by way of this character, Doxiadia describes the 1920s, the golden age in mathematics when the foundations of truth and logic were laid. Russell interacts with characters he would not have been able to see in real life. Themes like the Russell’s Paradox came up and non-mathematical beings like myself got acquainted with mathematical greats like Gödel and Bourbaki. This BYOB Party had quite a bit of intense discussion and this was just the beginning!