Karachi, August 17: Basila, a young girl from the Makrani community of Sindh is an active citizen. From child labor to animal abuse, she is troubled by all social ills of the community. That’s where she rises to the challenge and takes to teach homeless aspiring artists to pursue their passion through painting visual messages of love, peace and interfaith harmony on public walls and open spaces. Streets of Karachi are her classrooms and the city walls are her canvas.
Basila and the Street Crew is one of Azcorp Entertainment’s breakthrough comic books. While it focuses on various societal issues, it draws attention to a very important theme of social inclusion by introducing a transgender character. Riffat Apa, the aunt of the protagonist, is the leading character. She also shares the same passion for the country and her surroundings like Basila.
With various incidents of transphobia reported every day in Pakistan, the need to normalize their existence is ever crucial.
“More than anything, the transgender community of Pakistan wants acceptance”, said Anain Shaikh, the co-creator and illustrator of Basila and the Street Crew. “We’ve aimed to neither glorify nor victimize a transgender person but to rather show them in everyday roles such as a parent, or a mentor”, she added.
In their efforts to humanize the ostracized community, Azcorp has molded the storyline. “Like many comic books, Basila and the Street Crew begins in tragedy. After a vicious attack, our hero is left a vulnerable orphan in a dangerous world. Here, coming to her aid is the transgender community, who raise her with the love and training she needs to survive”, said Noman Ansari, the lead writer of the series.
The aspect at large that Basila and the Street Crew aims to highlight though, is active citizenship and civic participation. Through this series, the idea that any citizen regardless of his/her social status, ethnicity, gender, race, or religion, can volunteer to make a difference. Targeted at teens and young adults, the comic book aims to invoke a sense of responsibility within its readers, so the future of this country can collectively work towards its betterment, with the resources they have.
The event was attended by key stakeholders, activists, journalists, bloggers and general public.
Azcorp Entertainment works in the space of Edutainment and makes comics for kids, teens and young adults along the subjects of civics, gender equality, diversity, inclusion, tolerance, and other similar themes important to social discourse. A few of their signature products are:
Mein Hero – built around the idea that there is a hero inside everyone; extracts stories of everyday heroes from children in marginalized schools, with citizens rising to the occasion, solving issues within their communities.
Team Muhafiz – with multi-ethnic & interfaith heroes who fight social ills & raise awareness to the society’s key social & development challenges.Tags: Art Book, Azcorp Entertainment, Basila and the street crew, T2F, Team Muhafiz