ANANT PAI - THE MAN BEHIND AMAR CHITRA KATHA
In 1967, Anant Pai and his wife, who were visiting New Delhi, were at a bookstore in the city. The TV at the store was playing a quiz featuring some students from St Stephen’s College and
Pai was disappointed when the participants couldn’t name the mother of Hindu god Ram. His disappointment only increased when one of them answered a toughie about a Greek god. And that was the moment Amar Chitra Katha (ACK) was born.
Pai thought it was a shame that the youth of the time had little knowledge of Indian stories and tales. He mulled over the idea of using comic books to teach what he deemed “Indian values and themes”, and took the idea to H.G. Mirchandani, then the publishing director at
publishing firm India Book House (IBH).
Pai was hired as the editor of this new series, which he called “Amar Chitra Katha”. The idea was simple. “Bharat ke bachche agar sapne dekhein to Bharat ke sapne dekhein (If the children of India dream, let them dream of India)
Every month, Uncle Pai & his team would take up a certain theme or character from Indian epics and go through hundreds of relevant material including ancient scriptures, palm leaf manuscripts, poetry, folk-tales, etc, to collect as much genuine information as possible, and