Synopsis of the graphic novel and animation film

Labonno/Labony needs to do a school project on family memories of 1971, the Bangladesh War. When coming to ask her grandmother, she wakes the latter from one of her frequent nightmares. What follows is her grandmother’s (Nanu/Rehana) narration of the history of ‘birangona’ (brave women), the term given by the Bangladesh government in 1971 to honour the women who had been raped during the war. Her mother, Hena, also tells her of the Oral History Project through which they tried to collect testimonies. This leads them to talk about the various points that need to be covered for an ethical guidance to record testimonies of sexual violence during conflict (svc). But hidden in these discussions of the guidelines Labonno discovers an intricate secret family history. What could that secret be? What would Labonno feel when she hears of that secret? What will Labonno do in the future about her family and the nation’s history?

Durham University ©
Film direction: Nayanika Mookherjee, Nazmunnahar Keya
Storyline, Text and Dialogue: Nayanika Mookherjee
Graphic Artist: Nazzmunnahar Keya
Voiceover Artists: Jesmin and Apu Chowdhury
Music: Artlist
Animation: Clearhead Media Ltd
Production Manager: Stefan Christopher
Animation: Simon Brooke
Published by: Arifur Rahman, Noktaarts, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Editorial Assistance: Rashida Akter, Anita Datta, Raihana Ferdous, Yaeshir Arafath Borno
Guideline, Graphic Novel and Animation Film is downloadable/viewable in Bangla and English from:

For further queries, comments, information about this project and printed copies of the graphic novel,
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These resources have been developed by Professor Nayanika Mookherjee (Anthropology, Durham University) in collaboration with Research Initiatives Bangladesh (RIB) and have co-created this guideline, graphic novel and animation film in consultation with various stakeholders in Bangladesh and UK. This is a follow-on project from Nayanika’s book [The Spectral Wound: Sexual Violence, Public Memories and the Bangladesh War of 1971. Durham: Duke University Press (2015); Delhi: Zubaan Books (2016)]. Detailed findings from the original research can be found here.

As part of this project, we have produced this website, a set of guidelines, a graphic novel and an animation film outlining how to ethically record testimonies of sexual violence. The graphic novel, guideline and animation film are freely downloadable/viewable from the website. The guidelines, graphic and animation film novel has been funded by the ESRC’s Impact Acceleration Account and Durham University’s Research Impact Fund.

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We have provided links to download/view the guidelines, graphic novel and animation film in Bangla and English. The pages are designed to be used either on a desktop PC or projected on to classroom whiteboards.

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