Google India pays tribute to our dear Uncle Anant Pai the creator of Amar Chitra Katha and other popular comics books on his 82nd birth anniversary by dedicating a Google doodle. The doodle drawn in classic Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle style shows Uncle Pai, as Anant Pai was known to millions of young readers, surrounded by Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle comic books.
Anant Pai (17 September 1929 – 24 February 2011), popularly known as Uncle Pai, was an Indian educationalist and creator of Indian comics, in particular the Amar Chitra Katha series in 1967, along with the India Book House publishers, and which retold traditional Indian folk tales, mythological stories, and biographies of historical characters. In 1980, he launched Tinkle, a children’s anthology, which was started under Rang Rekha Features, India’s first comic and cartoon syndicate, that lasted till 1998, with him as the Managing Director.
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 and started Amar Chitra Katha the same year, 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. Later, 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.
The idea and proposal for Amar Chitra Katha was made by a Bangalore book salesman called G.K. Ananthram which led to the first Amar Chitra Katha comics being produced in 1965—in Kannada, not English. “The English ACK titles begin from number eleven because the first ten were in Kannada,” clarifies Ananthram. To Anathram’s satisfaction, the venture was a great commercial success which lead to the head office in Mumbai pursuing the Amar Chitra Katha idea diligently, and the rest is history. “They brought in Anant Pai” says Ananthram. “And he built a wonderful team and a great brand.” In 1969, Anant Pai founded Rang Rekha Features, India’s first comic and cartoon syndicate, and started the children’s magazine Tinkle in 1980. His involvement with the above, and the rapport he shared with his readers earned him the title “Uncle Pai”.
Google’s doodle shows two pictures, one showing Uncle Pai sitting in his office, surrounded by shelves full comic books and the other in which he is in standing form and also the Google logo residing nicely among it connecting the two. A mouse-over reveals that it is meant to celebrate ‘Anant Pai’s 82nd Birthday’. Clicking will lead to a search results for the name of ‘Anant Pai’.
Thanks Google India for the doodle dedicated to this great story-teller Anant Pai. Do comment your views on this.