Anant Pai (1929 – 2011)

- September 16, 2020


Every year, on 17th September, we celebrate the birthday of our founder Anant Pai, our beloved Uncle Pai, on what we call Uncle Pai Day! Here’s a quick snapshot of how he came to start Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle over half a century ago. Anant Pai was born on September 17th, 1929, in a small village in Karnataka called Karkala. Throughout his life, Mr Pai was a diligent student. He would score brilliant marks everywhere. Despite not knowing how to speak in English, Anant and his sister, Savita got admission in Orient High School in Mumbai’s Mahim area. After he finished his schooling, he got admission in Wilson College, Mumbai. Later, he went on to study Chemical Engineering at the University Department of Chemical Technology.  The origins of Amar Chitra Katha Eventually, Anant Pai started working at Times of India where he was asked to do a market survey for reprints of American comics. That’s when he suggested to his boss if the newspaper can print comics based on Indian mythology or history. However, his request was denied. But the idea never left his mind. Illustration: Dilip Kadam One day, when Anant Pai and his wife were visiting Delhi, they came across a TV shop that was broadcasting a quiz show. He was an avid reader and tried to learn from wherever he could. As he watched the programme, he noticed that the participants knew more about Greek mythology than they knew about Indian mythology. From that day onwards, Anant Pai decided to resign from his job and create comic books on Indian historical and mythological figures.  He spent days thinking of a name that best represented the company’s essence and something that would connect with Indians in every corner of the country. That’s when he came up with the name Amar Chitra Katha. Amar means eternal and Chitra Katha means comic books. It was a simple yet effective name that is now synonymous with Indian comics. In February 1970, the first-ever Amar Chitra Katha title,...

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