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Author: Anant Pai
Arvind Mandrekar/Luis M Fernandes
Editor(s): Anant Pai
Publisher: India Book House
ISBN/UPC (if available): 817508et. Al
1. Jawaharlal Nehru-The Early Days
“I am proud of that great inheritance that has been and is ours and I am conscious that I too, like all of us, am a link in that unbroken chain which goes back to the dawn of history in the immemorial past of India. That chain I would not break, for I treasure it and seek inspiration from it.”
These words of Jawaharlal Nehru extracted from his will provide the rationale for the selection of Nehru as the last regular title of the Amar Chitra Katha series that retold many a tale from Indian mythology, legend, history and folklore.
The volume traces the ancestry of Nehru and dwells over the early-years of his life that helped shaped this great man of destiny.
2. MAHATMA GANDHI
"I never saw Gandhi…I don not know his language. I never set foot in his country and yet, I feel the same sorrow as if I had lost someone near and dear", wrote the Frenchman Leon Blum, when he heard that Mahatma Gandhi was dead.
Millions, not only in India but the world over, felt the same way, for Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) has been the only politician in modern history who strove to rule not men, but the hearts of men.
3. Lal Bahadur Shastri
Lal Bahadur Shastri rose from poor circumstances to be the second prime minister of India. Added to the personal challenge of matching the stature of his predecessor, Pandit Nehru, a leader of international repute, Lal Bahadur Shastri had to face a number of obstacles when he assumed office. Slowly and steadily and with his characteristic cool, not only did he measure up to all these challenges, but he also demonstrated that he could be tough when the occasion demanded.
The life story of this great son of India is depicted for our young readers in this Amar Chitra Katha.
4. Babasaheb Ambedkar
Babasaheb Ambedkar was born in a Mahar family. Though the Mahars formed a leading community among the depressed classes, they were not spared by the caste Hindus. In his childhood, Ambedkar noticed how people of his community were contemptuously branded as untouchables, how they were ill-treated, humiliated and exploited.
Babasaheb refused to accept meekly this unjust treatment. He wanted his people to be aware of their rights and fight for their honour. United under his dynamic leadership, they realized that no one could help them gain their rightful place in society except themselves. As he told them, rights are to be earned, not given.
Ambedkar made the untouchables politically conscious. He also realised the importance of making the practice of any form of untouchability an offence under the law. It is only in the fitness of things that the practice of untouchability should have been abolished by the constitution of India, which Ambedkar helped to frame. Babasaheb devoted the rest of his life to secure for the depressed classes what had been guaranteed by the constitution but denied by society.
After a halting and defensive response to the challenge of the modern world, in the first part of the 19th century, India rose to her full spiritual stature in two unique teachers, Shri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda.
The following pages will give the reader the fascinating story of Vivekananda (1863-1902), who roused his nation from its sleep of centuries and gave to it a man-making and nation-building faith and resolve. At the same time, he imparted, to the waiting peoples of the West, the rational and universal message of India’s Vedanta philosophy. He also forged the unity of East and West – and all this within ten brief working years, from 1893 when he began his work to 1902 when he passed away.
6. Subramania Bharati
Subramania Bharati loved children, and wrote poems and songs for them. He loved the koel and the sparrow. Even the crow. He once embraced the lowly donkey. To him all birds and animals were like brothers. To him the Brahmin and the untouchable were alike. He looked upon all mankind as one family.
He loved India with all his heart and suffered because he was a patriot. He was the poet of freedom and he wrote poetry that was like fire. He wrote prose, too, which everyone understood.
Bharati died when he was only 39. But in a short life he did much, said much, wrote much. He was one of the great Tamil poets. He was one of the great Indian poets.
7. Veer Savarkar-In the Andamans
No textbook of history will tell you the hardships Indian revolutionaries had to suffer and the sacrifices they had to make for their country’s freedom. This Amar Chitra Katha highlights the life of revolutionaries who were exiled to the dreaded cellular prison in Port Blair in the Andaman Islands.
Many went insane and a few committed suicide. But Veer Savarkar refused to be daunted. He valiantly continued the fight for human dignity and freedom, even in prison.
What was the secret of Savarkar’s strength? He was utterly confident that India would achieve freedom. That conviction gave him hope and courage to overcome depression and keep fighting wherever he was – inside or outside the prison.
8. SUBHAS CHANDRA BOSE
The national movement for independence in India threw up figures larger than life, who surrendered themselves to a cause bigger than anything they had ever known.
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose stands out as a dynamic, restless force in an era which had chosen the path of Gandhi, the path of peace and non-violent non-co-operation. Bengal chose to voice its protest militantly and Subhas Chandra Bose was a true son of Bengal.
His stirring victory slogan Jai Hind drew India into one united whole. To this day, on occasions of national importance, it reminds us that we are one people.
9. RANI OF JHANSI
Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi is among those national heroines whose name conjures up visions of tremendous bravery and dauntless courage against overwhelming odds. She was not aggressive by nature and it that she took up arms. She was also extremely shrewd and possessed all the qualities of a good leader. The unforgettable memory of Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi however remained – the memory of a person of unbreakable pride and utter fearlessness.
The bards of Central India still sing of the valour and virtues of the Rani, who held her own against not only her Bundela enemies but also the mighty British.
10. Bhagat Singh
Bhagat Singh is perhaps the most celebrated revolutionary of India. Bhagat Singh and his comrades were not blood-thirsty, trigger-happy terrorists. They were waging a war against a relentless colonial power. The odds were heavily against them. They were just a handful of selfless patriots and they had dared to take on the mighty British power. It was a battle they were not going to win.
Yet Bhagat Singh and his associates did not die in vain. They compelled the British authorities to sit up and take note of the deep unrest prevailing in the country. They showed their fellow countrymen how to dare and die. They gave young Indians a heritage from which to draw inspiration.