Author: Anant Pai
Publisher: India Book House
ISBN/UPC (if available): N/A
This Amar Chitra Katha set includes 15 comic books titled as follows:
1.Mahavira or Prahlad
4.Tulsidas or Kalidas
7.Sai Baba Ki Katha
12.Jahangir or Rani Durgavati
14.Jhansi ki Rani
Mahavira was born in Kundagram near Vaishali in Bihar to King Siddhartha and his wife, Trishala, in 599 BC. Prince Cardhamana, as he was named, was destined to become great. After years of contemplation on life and the ultimate truth, he renounced the world and became an ascetic at the age of 30.
For 12 long years he practiced deep meditation, silence and compassion, leading a life of austerity and penance. At the end of this period, he achieved enlightenment – full knowledge or kevala gyana – and went on to become the 24th Jain Tirthankara (one who finds enlightenment and shows the way to others).
Bhagawan Mahavira, however, was neither a pioneer of Jainism nor its last Tirthankara. Jain tradition believes that there have been many Tirthankaras before Mahavira, and there will be several in the future. Mahavira himself said that his religious teachings – based on the Jain principles of ahimsa, karma and nirvana – had been propounded by many Jinas (one who has conquered in the past, and will be taught by many Jinas in the future.)
2. BHAGAVAN BUDDHA
Hinduism, like any other living religion, produced its share of free thinkers. Prince Siddhartha who became Gautama the Buddha was the most noteworthy of them all. The Hinduism that Siddhartha saw, had lost much of its primal energy and its pristine purity.
He refused to subscribe to the caste system which had ceased to be Dharma and had become a tool of oppression. He would not accept the power-drunk priests as sole agents of God. He questioned the authority of the Vedas. And he was convinced that penance and meditation as mere rituals without the accompanying sincerity and contemplation were futile.
So he set out alone to seek the ultimate truth. His search led him to the enlightenment that liberated him as he pondered under a Bodhi tree. He returned to preach what he had known and experienced and he did this out of compassion for his fellow beings as converting them was never his aim.
Today, he has followers all over the world but the largest numbers are concentrated in the far-eastern countries.
3. GURU NANAK
Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, was born in a critical period of Indian history. On the one hand, the people were divided into castes, sects and factions; on the other, the Muslim rulers perpetrated atrocities on the Hindus and the weaker sections of society. The masses in their hardships and miseries cried for a saviour. Nanak came as god’s messenger in the common man’s hour of dire need.
He was revered alike by Hindus and Muslims. His life is an inspiring example of the practice of truth, love and humility.
The Ramayana, written in Sanskrit by Valmiki is considered to be the Adikavya, the first ever poem. Tulsidas rendered it into Hindi in the sixteenth century.
Tulsidas hailed from a poor family of Rajapur in Uttar Pradesh. He was orphaned soon after this birth and even his foster-mother died when he was barely seven years old. When he was married, he became deeply attached to his wife, Ratna. She was the first person in his life whom he could call his own.
One day not finding her at home on his return, he became extremely restless and rushed to his father-in-law’s house in the dead of the night, braving heavy rains and a storm.
But Ratna rebuked him and said, Had you loved Rama as intensively as you do this bundle of flesh and bones, you would have overcome all mortal fears. This was the turning point in his life.
The story as narrated in this book is mostly based on legends.
There is no dearth of mystics in India. But among them Mirabai is unique. She was born a princess and in marriage became a queen. But the kingdom she chose was the one of Krishna. Not for a moment did she swerve from her purpose. Hers was the immutable faith in Krishna. Uncharitable relatives and uncomprehending friends were no hindrance in her devotion. She had given herself up to Krishna. She belonged to him completely.
The lyrics that poured out of her, sing the praises of Krishna. The sincerity and sweetness of the songs made them popular all over the land and they remain a rich heritage of mystic poetry in India. The story of Mira, as narrated in this book, is based on legends about her and not on historical facts.
6. SRI RAMAKRISHNA
Mahatma Gandhi, in his preface to Life of Sri Ramakrishna, says, “The life of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa is a life of religion in practice. His life enables us to see God face to face.
In his Life of Ramakrishna, the French thinker Romain Rolland introduces Sri Ramakrishna as The consummation of two thousand years of the spiritual life of three hundred million people.
In Sri Ramakrishna we can see today what Bertrand Russell demands of modern men, namely, the flowering of knowledge into wisdom, without which, as he expresses it, increase of knowledge will be increase of sorrow.
7. SAI BABA KI KATHA
Nobody knows for certain when Sai Baba was born or who his parents were, or what his real name was. He arrived one day in 1872 at Shirdi in Maharashtra. He was dressed like a fakir (Muslim ascetic) and lived in a dilapidated mosque-but spoke of a Hindu guru, whom he called Venkusa. He seemed to be well acquainted with the Hindu scriptures, but at the same time was heard to quote from the Quran.
Sai Baba died in 1918. Even during his lifetime he had become famous, and now, after his death, Shirdi (where he had lived for almost half a century) has become a place of pilgrimage where hundreds of devotees congregate every year.
The tales in this Amar Chitra Katha are based on reports from Sai Baba’s devotees.
8.MAHARSHI DAYANANDA :
Swami Dayananda was born at a time when our country was dominated by foreign powers. Women were not allowed a formal education, nor were the scheduled castes. They were required only to serve the rest of the community without any opportunities for their own development. Domestic ills and prejudices of caste and creed plagued our society.
One of the greatest builder of modern India, Swami Dayananda thought he Arya Samaj helped society to rid itself of its evils and build a free, strong and united nation.
9. SAMRAT ASHOK
History chronicles innumerable kings who were brave conquerors and valiant soldiers. But Ashoka stands above them all because he is the only one who at the zenith of his conquests saw the futility of violence and had the courage to renounce it.
This volume is based on the original research of the author into the Mahavamsa, the Dipavamsa, the commentary on the Mahavamsa, and the edicts of Ashoka. Pali manuscripts and other secondary sources have also been extensively studied in gleaning facts which should kindle a new interest in Ashoka.
With the death of Harsha, King of Kanauj, about 647 A.D. his great empire in North India Collapsed. It rapidly disintegrated into several petty kingdoms. This political division weakened the unity of the country and led to several violent disputes between the chieftains of these new kingdoms.
Prithviraj Chauhan was a famous king and warrior. He was noted for his valour and chivalry. Despite his defeat and death, his name has been immortalised and he has become the hero of many legends. The story of Prithviraj Chauhan as told in the following pages is based on these legends.
11. RANA PRATAP
During this period when almost everyone in Northern India had bowed down before Akbar, only the lone, unbending figure of Rana Pratap stood against him. He refused to accept Akbar’ supremacy. Had he agreed to surrender, Rana Pratap could have led an easy and comfortable life at the court of Akbar. But for this cherished even more than his own life. Greatly outnumbered by Akbar’s huge forces the Rana lived a hunted life in the jungles, and suffered grave hardships. But these sufferings only spurred him on in his struggle for freedom.
The following pages present the tale of Rana Pratap’s heroic struggle against the might of the Mughal Empire.
It is tough to be a famous junior, and more so when the senior happens to be Akbar, the Mughal-e-Azam. This was the tragedy of Jahangir.
It was a personal tragedy in which neither Anarkali nor Noor Jahan had any role, though popular stories associate these two women, more than anyone else, with the personality of Jahangir.
The events described here are based on the memoirs of Akbar and Jahangir and other historical records.
During the seventeenth century, the Mughals reigned supreme over Northern and Central India. In the Deccan endless battles went on between other kings like Adil Shah of Bijapur and chiefs like the Nawab of Janjira. The common man suffered at the hands of the officers as well as the marauding Khans and Sardars. Even the zeal of such fighting races as the Rajputs had been suppressed by centuries of slavery under Mughal rule. Many of them had become mere puppets, holding posts of honour under their royal masters.
At such a period was Shivaji born. He was the son of an incredibly brave father and a wise and loving mother. These two and a teacher named Dadoji were the moulding influences on Shivaji’s character. The boy showed an uncommon understanding of the happenings around him. The wicked deeds of the ruling class made him angry and restless. The flame of freedom burnt in the little boy’s heart. He collected around him a band of devoted followers and as they grew up they swore to throw off the yoke of alien rule. How Shivaji carried out his ambitious plans with success, is told in pictures in the following pages.
14.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.
15.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.
1.Mahavira or Prahlad
4.Tulsidas or Kalidas
7.Sai Baba Ki Katha
12.Jahangir or Rani Durgavati
14.Jhansi ki Rani