Here, I intend to write what comes to my mind about India. This could be about anything, politics, religion, movies or remote happenings. Feel free to check this blog for updates, who knows some could be of some interest to you.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Who created the favorite books of our school days?

...first, did we have anything called a 'favorite' book when in school? I think most of us were allergic to 'books'...for sure I was.

Now, let me spin the time machine anti-clockwise and help you remember the days we lived in. If you are someone who grew up in India between late 70s and early 90s, when we had the joy of playing 'gilli-danda' with just wooden sticks not needing joy-sticks to play any game. Days when we rented bi-cycles to learn cycling, when our living room was NOT invaded by a zillion TV channels. We did not have favorite news channels but news readers Tajeswar Sigh, Minu, Komal GB Singh, Sashikumar...and sports encyclopedia called Narotam Puri. When the sound of the tri-wheelered mobile kulfi waala's brass bell cooled down the heat of our sweltering summers, when the Television sets were Black and White and Cricket was played in white and white...we exchanged comic books with our friends not CDs.

If these sounds familiar and makes you visualize yourself in these settings then tell me how could you forget the favorite books we had. Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle, the comics that are part of our childhood which had characters like Supandi, Shikari Shambu and the Indian mythological stories illustrated with vivid colorful cartoons. Asides to our grandmas, we owe whatever little we know about the great epics of this land to Uncle Pai.

Anant Pai a.k.a Uncle Pai who died on 24-Feb-2011 came up with the idea of Amar Chitra Katha when he saw that school children in a quiz competition couldn't answer the question 'In the Ramayana, who was Rama's mother?'. He decided that it was time to re-introduce to the children of India the good stories of our heritage in an enjoyable form and he succeeded. He had to ensure that the stories were done without hurting the feelings of any community as it will have great impact when shaping young minds. Later he introduced Tinkle which is more driven by the stories from it's reading community that is how our Shikari Shambu, Kalia the crow and smiling Supandi were born. If you noticed, Shambu though a comical timid hunter was never shown as hurting or killing any animal. So is the passion that it generated that some of the readers and contributors grew up to become part of the Tinkle publication staff.

On behalf of all the children who were benefited by your creation and had their characters shaped by it but who would never know the man behind it, I thank you Uncle Pai, to me the Walt Disney of India.