HIRA LAL KAK
When Samuel Stokes left home in Philadelphia & set sail for India aged 22, his parents had hoped he would return home after a year or two. But this did nothappen. Instead, Stokes made India his home.
Stokes worked closely with Mahatma Gandhi and took part in the Non-Cooperation Movement. He was impris- oned for six months for sedition in the Lahore jail & refused bail, the only American to be jailed in India’s struggle for Independence.
He wore Khadi, married an Indian, learnt Sanskrit, became a Hindu, set up a school & introduced apples to Himachal Pradesh. The hill state’s most famous pro- duce owes its origins to the apple cuttings Stokes had brought from America to persuade farmers to start apple cultivation. Samuel
Stokes renamed himself Satyanand and never went back to the US after a trip he made with his young wife in 1914. His family still maintains roots with Kotgarh in Himachal Pradesh where Stokes started it all.
He died in 1946 & was cremated in the hills he loved so dearly. For some reason his contribution has largely been ignored. Few years ago, his granddaugh- ter Asha Sharma, wrote a biography on Samuel Stokes, “An American in Khadi”.
So next time you eat an apple from Himachal, do remember him for a moment.
HIRA LAL KAK