Marvel Comics are a part of quite a lot of people’s childhood (except of course, those who are on Team DC). Almost every single superhero or supervillain we see in these comics have an element of truth in them. That truth which inspired their creators to create them in the first place.
Most of these comics are set in the US, yet, there are a few characters in the Marvel Comicverse who are distinctly Indian, or at least have an Indian element about them.
While you read, look out for some mild stereotypes peppered throughout!
Dr. Strange’s roots lie in the a 1930s American film and radio show Chandu the Mag
Magician. Chandu (alias Frank Chandler) learned mysticism and gained occult powers from an Indian yogi, who equivalent you will find in the Marvel Multiverse’s ‘The Ancient One’. Much like, Dr. Strange himself, Chandu spends time learning “eastern magic” with the Yogis in India.
Interestingly, the amulet worn by Dr. Strange, The Eye of the Agamotto is gifted to him by a Triumvirated entity Vishanti, meaning “to enter” in Sanskrit. Agamotto, one of the Vishanti, created the amulet to function as his “third eye” – the All-Seeing Eye of Infinity or the Eye of Truth are amongst it’s other titles.
Sounds familiar? Shiva’s “third eye” is said to have the same functionality – seeing beyond the apparent truth.
Part of the multiple pantheons of gods housed in the Marvel Multiverse, the Daevas are quivalent to the Devas of the Indian mythos.
The life force emitted by each of these pantheons is what keeps the universe alive. The Daevas (note the extra ‘a’) are depicted as extradimensional beings who arrived on Earth and were worshipped by the Aryan tribes. Their base of operations is Krauncha, considered to be the fifth of seven of oceans surrounding Loka (directional space), separating Aloka (non-directional space) in the comics.
This concept comes from the Krauncha or the Krauncha Dwipa believed to be the fifth of the seven islands which makes up the world, Jambu Dwipa being Earth. It is said that the seven islands together also corresponds to the geographical continents of the seven great root-races and even to the dry-land divisions of the earth during the period of one root-race. Thus, Krauncha Dwipa corresponds to the fifth root-race continent – in the Marvel Universe, it is in Krauncha that the Indian pantheon of gods are based in.
Surprisingly, Krauncha had nothing to do with the origin of the Devas in the Indian mythos; Devas consisted of Indira and his courtier, but the Daevas consist of all Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva as well, and like in Indian stories, the triumvirate is looked upon to lead them and are similar in their likeness to the Indian mythology..
Chakra alias Raju Rai
Created by Stan Lee, Chakra is a superhero (alias Raju Rai) who derives his power from what is known as the ‘chakras’ in the body. He possesses a suit that allows him to weaponise his chakras, which his mentor Dr. Singh makes for him.
According to yogic sciences though, chakras can’t be “activated” through mere suits and decades of meditation is required to activate one chakra, let alone all of them.
Thunderbird alias Neal Shaara
Thunderbird has the ability to transform the molecules of his body into solar plasma, enabling him to convert portions of himself into thermodynamic energy furnaces that release luminescent radiance, pyrotechnic displays, concentrated plasma beams, shaped plasma charges that can deflect solid matter or displace volumes of air on impact for a heatless release of concussive force, and explosive thrust from his legs for flight or projection of focused blasts, flashes, or explosive spheres.
Grid alias Dinesh Deol
A member of the Inhumans race (which is honestly nothing like the TV show), Dinesh has the power of being able to visually see the electromagnetic spectrum to an unknown degree, but far greater than what is visible to an ordinary human or Inhuman.
He is able to psionically control waves of the spectrum and render them tangible to certain effects. For example, using this ability he was able to instinctively, with no training, easily lift an automobile.
Through his powers Deol can mentally interact with and intuitively understand the innate workings cybernetics and information, like how he did battle with Stark’s A.I., Friday.
He can also emit a burst of electro-magnetic spectrum energy which can knock out most electronics.
Grid can act as a channeling device to siphon and redirect energy from. He once used this effect to take his hometown of Mumbai and a couple of the other neighboring cities nearby to supply them with free energies.
Ghost Rider alias Shobha
Much like the conventional ghostrider, but the most interestingly “Indian” thing about her is that is seen mounting an elephant instead of a motorbike.
Indra alias Paras Gavaskar
Paras’ mutant capabilities and family background are both very fascinating.
His mutant power is a retractable exoskeleton of superior strength. This armour is made to look like a stylized version of the Rajput armour – with breastplates, shoulder plates, armbraces called dastana, armored boots called rak and even a tilak on his forehead.
The little bit known about his family will sound familiar – his older brother Tejpal falls into a coma, and Paras is made to take his brother’s place in marriage because once family ties are made, it is dishonourable to break them or so Indian Soaps preach!
The Lords of Light and Darkness
They are a group of scientists turned supervillains, studying radiation (what else?), lead by the Indian scientist Araman Nila. They were hit by an earthquake and transformed into superhumans, each one of them gaining power similar to that of a god from the Hindu pantheon.
The members of this group have named themselves after the gods in accordance to their power – Example: Brahma the Creator (adept at telepathic communication), Vishnu the Preserver (originally a biophysicist), Agni, Ratri, etc.
Ghazandi was an Indian mystic who trained Trago, a rival of Ant-Man, to mesmerize cobras and even people with music but he warned him that certain combinations of notes will hypnotise the player, which is what ultimately happens to Trago.
In Marvel, Indian cities like Mumbai, Calcutta and Delhi have significance. Byculla and Dharavi from Mumbai have also been the setting for some minor story arcs in the comics.
*All Images Sourced from ComicVine & Marvel
Amulya's mission is to someday become an author of more than just fan fiction."
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