Anant Pai, (born 17 September, 1929) popularly known as Uncle Pai, is a renowned educationalist and creator of Indian comics, in particular the Amar Chitra Katha series, which retold traditional Indian folk tales, mythological stories, and biographies of historical characters, and Tinkle, a children's anthology.
Born in Karkala, Karnataka to Venkataraya and Susheela Pai, he lost his parents at the age of two. At the age of twelve, he came to Mumbai, where he studied in Orient School, Mahim. He studied chemistry, physics and chemical technology at the University of Bombay Department of Chemical Technology (UDCT now UICT) and was a dual degree holder from the University of Bombay (now Mumbai). 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 was launched by the Times Group. Indrajal featured reprints of popular American strip characters such as the the Phantom, Mandrake the Magician, and later, indigenous characters like Bahadur and Dara.
The Amar Chitra Katha years
The idea behind starting a comicbook 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.
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".
Ramu and Shamu, Kapish, Little Raji, Rekha, Fact Fantasy, Funland and Funtime are some of the comic strips created by Pai, most of which continue to appear in newspapers and magazines. He has written and produced two video films, Ekam Sat (the Vedic Concept of God) and The Secret of Success, in English and Hindi.
Pai's other works include a number of books on personality development for children and teenagers, ("How To Develop Self-confidence", "How to Achieve Success", "How To Develop A Super Memory", UBS Publishers) and a series of audio book versions of Amar Chitra Katha stories, "Storytime with Uncle Pai" (Universal Music India, Dec 2001), where he plays the role of narrator-storyteller.
- Karpoorchand Puraskar of Uttar Pradesh Bal Kalyan Sansthan (1994)
- Yudhvir Memorial Award in Hyderabad (1996)
- Maharashtra Rajya Hindi Sahitya Academy Award (1996)
- Dr. T. M. A. Pai Memorial Award in Manipal (1997)
- University of Bombay Department of Chemical Technology's Distinguished Alumnus Award (1999)
- Millennium Konkani Sammelan Award, Illinois, U.S.A (2000)
- Raja Rammohan Roy Library Foundation's Award (2001)
- Priyadarshni Academy Award (2002)
- Vishwa Saraswat Sammaan (2003)
Check following links:
Many many thanks to “Ajay Misra” for providing ACK scan.