Bhikaiji Cama – ‘Mother of the Indian Revolution’


Bhikaiji Cama was an important figure in the movement for an independent India. Known to some as ‘Madam Cama’ and others as ‘The Mother of the Indian Revolution’.

Bhikaiji Sorab Patel was born on the 24th September 1861 into British-ruled India. Her young life was fairly uneventful; raised in a privileged family,  she did well at school and had a flair for languages.

In 1885 she was married, and her name became Bhikaiji Rustom Cama. Unfortunately this marriage wasn’t very successful. By this time in her life Bhikaiji had begun to have strong feelings about the British rule of India, and had become very interested in the Indian Nationalist Movement which campaigned for a free and independent country. Sadly her husband didn’t share her views, he was pro-British and enjoyed the benefits this gave him. Eventually, and controversially for the time, she left him.

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Priya’s Shakti: Comics, Justice and the Indian Way Part I – Interview with Ram Devineni by Suna Dasi

The brutal Delhi gang rape and subsequent death of the victim in December 2012 shocked the world. More importantly, it rocked India to its core, with outraged people taking to the streets, demanding better urban safety and an improved judicial system for rape victims everywhere in India. This is an ongoing issue that has yet to see full success, but slow progress has been made.

It is not easy to nudge a certain mode of cultural thinking that results in women drawing the shirtest legal and social straw into different channels. 

I have personal experience with this kind of crime and so have most of my female friends and loved ones, one way or another. I have on occasion used the resources of my work in support of organisations who work tirelessly towards making a difference. On a purely voluntary basis, Art Attack Films has created corporate films for Rape Crisis Centres and local police instruction in Scotland, to further better understanding and approach towards rape victims when they come forward to report their experience. The films were shot with both English and Polish actors; several organisations use them in their work with Romany travellers. One of Edinburgh’s largest universities used the films to encourage debate on the subject among their students.

Then, in the aftermath of the Delhi gang rape, which I had followed with horror and grief, the Priya’s Shakti campaign gained global traction in 2014. This unusual, creative and passionate initiative to create awareness through an interactive comic deeply moved and intrigued me.

(The Blippar App enables supporters of Priya’s Shakti to creatively show their solidarity.)

As an avid comic reader, I know what a great platform for social commentary and political satire it can be, not to mention how solace can be found in them if one feels different, alien and lonely outside the expected cultural norm. Many of Chris Claremont’s X-Men narratives saved my own teenage sanity for this exact reason. Looking further, Pat Mill’s Charlie’s War and Marshall Law, Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta and lesser known comics like 2000AD serials Bratz Bizarre and Finn instantly spring to mind.

Those not into comics would and do not particularly associate them with addressing societal wrongs. While comics are becoming more and more part of the cultural mainstream as a way to create our modern day mythologies, it is still one of the last bastions where one can get away with truly subversive and status quo challenging subject matter, where other fictional genres are beginning to creak under the increasing weight of politically correct sanitation.

It’s less dangerous when it’s drawn, right?

Read the FULL ARTICLE on the SciFi and Fantasy Network: 


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Madhubani – Forest of Honey: Living Traditions of Folk Paintings of India

Article by Lopamudra:

“intings, sometimes stated as Madhubani, belong to the genre of folk paintings of India. It originated in the region of Mithila from where they also derive their name. Since it is the geographical derivation and medium of the artwork that unites this genre and kind, this classification or nomenclature is fitting.”

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Mini Documentary on The Last Mughal Zafar narrated by William Dalrymple

imageMirza Abu Zafar Sirajuddin Muhammad Bahadur Shah was the last Mughal emperor. He succeeded his father, Akbar II, on his death in 1837. Under nom de plume Zafar, which means victory, he was a prolific Urdu poet, writing many ghazals. His authority was limited to the city of Delhi only.

Following his involvement in the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the British exiled him to Burma, which was British-owned at the time. The above photograph shows him after his trials and before being shipped off to Rangoon.

This 8 minute video

Zafar the Last Mughal

is a very potted history of his life and is narrated by writer William Dalrymple, the author of the fantastic and highly recommended books ‘The Last Mughal’ and ‘White Mughals’, among many other beautifully written works on India’s history, culture and current affairs.


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Steampunk Marvel Crossovers (X-men)

Absolutely wonderful Steampunk X-Men crossover, from the Adventures With Mala blog!

Adventures With Mala

X-men is one of my all time favorite comics so I very excited to share this feature with you.  I love to seeing collaborative projects too!  Make sure to check out all the talented people involved in this amazing project.   I really can’t say enough about these detail in each of these costumes. If you know X-men you will appreciate how the design is balanced with the character design and the originality of each piece. I have been debating about how to write up this feature but seriously there is way too much to say!  Instead of me saying how epic these are I hope you can find the elements in each piece that you appreciate for your own reasons.  – Mala

The costumes were made by Maise Designs Seamstress and designed by Art of Jen Broomall.
Photos by Grant Brummett

 photo xmen group_zps4m0sr7uu.jpg

In order left to right:
Rogue: Itty Bitty…

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Happy 150th Birthday, Anandibai Joshi! 

Happy 150th Birthday, Anandibai Joshi! Born on this day in Kalyan near Mumbai, she was the first Indian woman to get a Western medicine degree in 1886.


She was born in 1865 in an extremely orthodox Brahmin family in Maharashtra. As a nine year old girl she was married off to a widower who was almost thrice her age. However, he appears to have been a more forward thinking fellow than his peers at this time (and aside from the deeply problematic custom of child bridehood): Gopalrao Joshi was a postal clerk. When his wife at age fourteen expressed she wanted to study medicine he supported her. It seems her drive to do so came after their first child died, ten days after birth, because proper medical resources were not available.

This was a time when women’s education wasn’t thought of or if it was, sneered at. Gopalrao seems to have been an exception to the rule: he married Anandi specifically on the condition that his wife be educated, whether her family had traditional misgivings or not.

She sadly died at the very young age of twenty-one, yet she opened the gates for many young women in India who wanted to move beyond solely dedicating their lives to a domestic status.


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Filed under Diversity, History, India, MultiCulturalism in Steampunk, MultiCuturalism, Victorian PoC, Victoriana, Woman, Women's History

How to Punk Your Steam: Make it Multicultural

Excellent For Whom the Gear Turns article on Multiculturalism in Steampunk.

For Whom the Gear Turns

For some people, Steampunk isn’t Steampunk unless there is some connection to jolly ol’ England, but I find this view to be unreasonably limiting. The period surrounding the Industrial Revolution in England saw unprecedented opportunities for travel and exploration, and the people of Western Europe became fascinated with (sometimes fictionalized) accounts of these journeys. These travelogues were definitely influenced by the culture of the observers and can tell us just as much, or in some cases more, about the writers than the places they actually visit.

For instance, Jules Verne’s contrasting characterizations of the phlegmatic Phileas Fogg (English), the emotional and adventurous Passepartout (French), and the short-tempered, violent Colonel Stamp Proctor (American) from Around the World in 80 Days, as well as the unflappable Hans (Icelandic) from Journey to the Center of the Earth, are all attributed to their country of origin. He and Arthur Conan Doyle also…

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The Tinku Diaries: New fiction up on Steampunk India, in collaboration with Clockwork Watch.

FICTION is now LIVE: The Tinku Diaries are up on the Steampunk India website: It was written exclusively for The Clockwork Watch: The Transmedia Experience’s event ‘Clocking Off Late’, imagineered and directed by Yomi Ayeni. The diaries build upon a character from the Clockwork Watch comics, Tinku Ranbir.
It was a great pleasure to collaborate and delve deeper into Tinku’s mind. – Suna Dasi


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Introducing The

Finally the announcement can be made! Today sees the launch of a brand spanking new website: The, a EuroCentric fandom site created by Tolkien artist and illustrator Jay Johnstone, in collaboration with YA SciFi writer Francesca Barbini.

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I am very pleased to be a contributing writer. Not only on all matters of Multiculturalism and Steampunk, as below

but with sundry articles on general Geekdom topics, plus book, film and comic reviews. I will in all categories be focusing on Multicultural aspects and female artists working in the genre as much as possible.


An in-depth interview with the creators of the Priya’s Shakti comic is coming soon.

The Network is also still looking for contributors so climb into your quills and contact them via the e-mail address below if you wish to be part of this new endeavour:

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Rites of Spring: Holi in India

Today all of India celebrates Holi. This year is marked by especially moving events as widows are taking to the streets to participate. In India, widows are complete outcasts from society, shunned by their families and made to fend for themselves. Most of them make a pilgrimage to the two main widow communities in Vrinavan and Varanasi. There they live out the rest of their lives among each other. They may only wear white, are completely excluded from participating in life and barely scrape a living. (Deepa Mehta’s searing (fictional) movie ‘Water’ follows the lives and trials of a small widow’s conclave in Varanasi in 1938. Recommended if harrowing viewing.) This Holi, against traditonalist opposition, many of them have come outside to douse each other with colour and celebrate the coming of Spring. This is quite possibly the best smile I’ve ever seen…

Holi celebrations could be compared to pagan Beltain festivities: The celebrations start with a bonfire the previous night. Folk join each other by the fire to revel. The next morning everyone gets up early and a riotous carnival of colours ensues. Everyone plays, chases each other and throws vibrantly hued powder and coloured water. Massive water gun -and balloon fights break out everywhere. Anyone and everyone is fair game, family, stranger, friend or foe, rich or poor, man or woman, children and elders. The entire city is overrun with frolicking people. Some go from place to place with musical intrsuments, there is song and dance all round. It is time for eating, drinking, love and intoxication: Bhang, made from cannabis leaves, is a common ingredient in drinks and sweets. 

(I have made a very conscious choice to show revelling, happy women: there is an aspect of Holi which is less savoury, which is that under cover of the powder men grab a chance to lay their hands on women. However, as this is a woeful component of the society any day and is something that is continually discussed, something about which movements for change are extremely vocal and activist, I have chosen to highlight moments of intimate exuberance.)

When night falls, people sober up and dress up, to go visit friends and family.

This historical image shows Holi celebrations with a group of women laying into some men with coloured powder. It is not uncommon for powder games to ensue where it very blatantly becomes about men vs women, family vs family or whole neighbourhoods against each other! Date unfortunately uncertain, possibly 1700s.

“Holi is celebrated at the approach of vernal equinox, on the Phalguna Purnima (Full Moon). The festival date varies every year, per the Hindu calendar, and typically comes in March, sometimes February in the Gregorian Calendar. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair ruptured relationships.” – Wikipedia

Two women touch foreheads in a quiet moment in the revelries.

For the many background legends on the significance of Holi in different regions of India, visit:

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