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Drishti Bodhraj Premprakashi

JWB Blogger

17-Year Old Tara Conducts A History Class For JWB On Indian Women Warriors

  • JWB Post
  •  August 25, 2016


When I think about my history class, I do remember my history teacher making everything sound so pictorial that you could almost feel you were there. There was so much to learn! There was Chhatrapati Shivaji, Maharana Pratap, Genghis Khan, Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great.



Do you notice a pattern here?

All of these famous warriors were men. Numerous women warriors came and went, and no one even bats an eye.  Until, 17-year-old Tara Anand, picked up her paint brush. She created a series of illustrations called, “I am no man” to give female warriors the recognition they deserve.   

I think it is not just History textbooks but everything we commemorate our heroes with. Statues and roads are named after the men, and we also make movies and TV shows on them. So yeah, there’s a general lack of female presence in the way we record and remember our history,” she said.

What woman warrior do you associate yourself with?

*Giggles* None of them, really. I can’t claim to be half as brave or motivated as them. 

14: Rani Mangammal was queen on behalf of her grandson and defended her kingdom against invading forces from near by territories #illustration #art #indianwomen #indianhistory #feminism #brownskingirls #intersectionalfeminism #history #india #indianqueens #rani

A photo posted by Tara (@taranandart) on

You’ve used a lot of pink in yellow circles. What is the reason behind this?

I wanted to use pink because it’s a color that’s associated with femininity and has a lot of stigma against it as a “girly” colour. It’s not the first colour you would think of when you name a Warrior Women Group. The Gulabi gang, for example, is reclaiming the significance of pink as a colour that represents women and how society wants women to be depicted. It also shows how we want ourselves to be portrayed.

Any unknown historical fact that made you wonder a lot?

I’ve always wondered about Bose’s death and how, had he not died, our history and political landscape would be completely different.

Many people think history is boring. What’s your take on it?

I think its vital. I know it’s a cliché to say that you need to study the past to understand the future, but I think studying history also gives you context and much-needed background to reflect on contemporary issues and scenarios. You need to know your history if you are to participate actively in society.  

If you had the authority, what one chapter would you include in a history book?

I’d include a whole chapter on women in Indian history, a book even, telling the whole thing from their perspective. 

Are you a fighter? What do you fight for?

I wouldn’t call myself a fighter because I’m privileged enough to have nothing to fight for (for myself). However, I fight to do whatever little I can to aid others in their fights, be it donating money, time or making artwork.

If you were a warrior, what would your weapon be?

Bow and Arrow, for sure. 

Those women warriors were also great leaders. How would you define women leadership?

Pretty much just as you would define leadership in general. I don’t personally think there should be a difference.

"I am no man" Rani Laxmi Bai was an Indian queen who is best known for forming and commandeering an army against the British in an effort to defend her kingdom of Jhansi. She also lead another military campaign against the forces of Orchha and Datia and took over the administration of the kingdom after her husband died #feminism #india #queen #history #illustration #art #iamnoman

A photo posted by Tara (@taranandart) on

Spoken like a true feminist.

If you had a time machine, what year would you like to transport yourself to and why?

That’s a hard one but probably sometime in the 1960s because I live in Bombay, and it looked like such a great place to be in the 60s. 

Who is your art critic?

My mum, who is an artist herself, and my friends. Although they’re all really supportive of everything I do, so I try to be my own worst critic.

Are you planning to continue this project further with women from the world history?

Not immediately. Although I had plans to expand it to mythological and political figures but within India.

5: After succeeding her father to the Kakatiya Throne at 14, Rani Rudrama Devi lead battles against the nobles in her kingdom who opposed her rule because she was a woman #Rani #queen #iamnoman #history #indian #women #art #graphicart #illustration #feminism @indiaculturalhub @homegrownin

A photo posted by Tara (@taranandart) on

How do you plan to use art in your future career?

I hope to study illustration for the next four years and want to work as an illustrator or comic artist in India after that. I want to use my art as a rhetorical tool and change the narrative in India, whether it’s about Caste, religion or gender.

We saw on your Instagram that you’d drawn a lot from Harry Potter. Have you read ‘The Cursed Child’?

I have! I have to admit; I was fairly disappointed.

🎨 #tonks #nymphadoratonks #harrypotter #hp #orderofthephoenix #art

A photo posted by Tara (@taranandart) on

You experiment a lot with art styles, what is your favorite?

I tend to lean more towards comic book styles. Some of my favourites are Wes Craig and Emma Rios, but I also fall for messier pencil styles.

You drew Sansa Stark and made a reference to one of her quotes that went like, ‘There are no heroes in life. Only monsters win’. Who do you consider monsters?

People in power with little or no regard for human life and people who can’t accept that their way of seeing the world isn’t the only way.

In honour of Season6 #sansastark #gameofthrones #got

A photo posted by Tara (@taranandart) on

You listen to a lot of rock artists like My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy. What song of theirs do you listen to while drawing?

I love MCR’S ‘Three Cheers to Sweet Revenge” album and FOB’s “Folie a Deux” so if I’m drawing I just put one or the other on so that I’m good to go for about an hour.

"Like ghosts in the snow" #mychemicalromance #art

A photo posted by Tara (@taranandart) on

Well, hopefully, her art will be remembered for “centuries.” See what I did there?

Any other project of yours that you want us to know about?

Nothing major immediately but I do make zines with a friend under the name @thethursdaypeople on Instagram!

Now for some short questions.

Your bravest adventure with friends?

*Laughs * My friends and I are really boring. We just draw and go to the museum.

Um, museums might not scream ‘adventure’ but they’re definitely not boring.

Favorite subject at school/college?

Art and English.

Color pencil or paintbrush?


Rainbow or monochrome? 


For quite a long time, history was a monochrome of only male heroes. And Tara, you’re doing great, showing to us the rainbow of a gender diverse past. You deserve a cheer from all feminists around the world.

You can follow more of her work  and here.

Photo Source: Tara Anand

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