Anant Pai

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Anant Pai

Born: 17 September 1929

Died: 24 February 2011

  • He popularly is known as Uncle Pai, was an Indian educationalist and a pioneer in Indian comics.
  • He is most famous as the creator of two comic book series viz.
  • Amar Chitra Katha, which retold traditional Indian folk tales, mythological stories, and biographies of historical characters; and Tinkle, a children’s anthology.
  • Endowed with a passion for publishing and comics, his failed attempt at creating a children’s magazine (Manav, 1954) was followed by a career as a junior executive in The Times of India books division, putting him in the thick of affairs when Indrajal Comics, which was famous for publishing comic book series like Mandrake and The Phantom, was launched by the Times Group.
  • The idea behind starting a comic-book series devoted to Indian culture and history came to Pai from a quiz contest aired on Doordarshan in February 1967, in which participants could easily answer questions pertaining to Greek mythology, but were unable to reply to the question “In the Ramayana, who was Rama’s mother?”
  • He left his job at The Times of India the very same year and started Amar Chitra Katha, a comic-book series which retold traditional Indian folk tales, Hindu mythology and biographies of historical persons, with the help of late G. L. Mirchandani of India Book House, when most other publishers from Allied Publishers to Jaico had rejected the concept.
  • He took on the role of writer, editor, and publisher.
  • The series went on to become a publishing milestone for the Indian comic book scene, selling over 86 million copies of about 440 titles.

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