A ‘Comical’ Journey in the History Classroom

- June 28, 2024

By Mangalam Narayanan and Lakshmi Madhusudan

History is considered boring and studying for and writing history exams is nothing less than a chore. Some of the more enterprising teachers have devised interesting ways of teaching history, but what about history exams? How can we make history exams inspiring and engaging for our students?

Have you tried setting a history question paper based on the Amar Chitra Katha comics? We share in this short article, our successful effort. Most lessons in Indian history can be found in Amar Chitra Katha comics—whether it is the Indian movement of independence, or Indian rulers, or civilizations. After we teach a lesson in history, we can ask students to read the corresponding Amar Chitra Katha comic book. For example, after teaching 9th graders the lesson on Chandra Gupta Maurya, we asked the students to read Magesthenese from Amar Chitra Katha comics as an extension of the lesson.

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Once the children have read the comics, you can set question papers that relate both to the comics they have read and the lesson in their history textbooks. It does take some effort on the part of the teacher to choose the right scene and dialogue from the comics to ask the questions. But all the effort is worth it as it both an exciting and wonderful learning experience for the students.

We share here a few examples of how we can set question papers using comics and cartoons.

Question 1
Script: Shubha Khandekar; Illustration: Ram Waeerkar
  1. Who was Megasthenes?
  2. Name the book written by him.
  3. What is his book about?
  4. How was he able to write the book?
  5. What was the spy system during Chandra Gupta Maurya’s time like?
Question 2

Observe the picture below, read the information, and answer the questions that follow.

Script: Indu J. Tilak; Illustration: Dilip Kadam
  1. Why did Lord Curzon divide Bengal? Which year did he do it?
  2. When was Bengal divided?
  3. Name three famous leaders of the Congress during Curzon’s time.
  4. Explain the methods used by the Congress.
  5. What do you see in the picture? Which leader is leading the event?
  6. What is his famous slogan?
Question 3
Script: Yagya Sharma and Haridas Shetty; Illustration: H.S. Chavan and Sailo Chakravarty
  1. Look at the picture and identify the personalities.
  2. Why did he meet Hitler? Did he get any help from Hitler?
  3. After meeting Hitler where did he go?
  4.  What did he do after reaching Singapore?
  5. What was the famous slogan he spread among the youth?

Questions papers based on comic books encourage the reading habit in children, which in turn builds their knowledge. Because comics are illustrated, even reluctant readers may find them easy to handle. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. What better way than to teach and learn history?

Mangalam Narayanan is on the advisory board of Leo International School, Kalher, Upper Thane. She can be reached at 07mangalam@gmail.com.

Lakshmi Madhusudan is Principal of Sunitidevi Singhania school Thane. She can be reached at lmadhusudan1968@gmail.com.

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Comic of The Month

Dr Kotnis in China

In 1938, twenty-eight-year-old Dr Dwarkanath Kotnis was part of a medical mission that India sent to aid China in its war with Japan. Dr Kotnis was committed to saving lives, even in the precarious war-time situation. He remained behind to continue his work in China after the rest of his group returned. He was, and remains, a selfless and fearless hero to the people of China and India alike. 

20 Minute Read