Anand Pai, the man who introduced millions of Indians to their history and roots died of a heart attack on February 24, 2011.
Pai was the man who created the Amar Chitra Katha series which currently sells 3 million copies in a year. The idea behind the series was born when Pai noticed that children in a quiz show were able to answer questions on Greek mythology but were clueless when it came to questions on Indian epics, like the Ramayana. Thus was born the idea of a series that would, in simple terms, introduce children to great personalities, events and legends of India. When Pai first came up with the idea, he was rejected by nearly all the publishing houses except for G. L. Mirchandani of India Book House. Thus began a partnership that created books that have been devoured and adored by millions.
In 1969 Pai started Rang Rekha Features, India’s first comic book and cartoon syndicate. In April 1980 he brought out the first issue of Tinkle, a monthly comic which would become the childhood companion for millions of Indian kids. He was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at India’s first ever Comic Convention held in Delhi last week.
Surprisingly, the man who went on to redefine Indian publishing by starting desi comics was a degree holder in physics, chemistry, and chemical technology. He was born in Karkala, Karnataka and lost both his parents at the age of 2. It is said that Pai personally answered all the letters from his young readers who affectionately called him uncle Pai.
Rest in peace Uncle Pai!