Samuel Stokes Jr, the name not many Indian’s know. He’s an American Scholar, born in a Quakers family in Philadelphia to a wealthy businessman who owns an Elevator making Company. Stokes came to India attracted by its spiritual nature and went to a remote village near Simla, where he led an ascetic life. His personality that showed reluctance to take on the business, troubled Mr. Stokes Sr, but having a strong philosophical base, he understood his son’s mind and kept on sending him ample financial aid.
With the money, Samuel used it to develop the village and help its residents. Thus, he gained much notability, being a non-Indian, he attracted the attention of local missionaries and Christian communities which persuaded him to work along with them. But after two years, Samuel gave that up and focussed his attention on Ancient Indian knowledge and ardently learned Sanskrit and he even taught the local children. Samuel married Agnes Benjamin, a woman from that village who belonged to an early converted Christian community. As Samuel is so much fascinated by the Ancient Culture he changed his name to Satyananda Stokes and his wife became Priyadevi.
Stokes also actively participated in India’s freedom struggle and he even got imprisoned, became the only American to be charged an imprisonment in the Indian Freedom Movement. Mahatma Gandhi then gave a statement regarding this that even his skin color “proved no protection for him” from the colonials. Stokes is now most noted for bringing Apples to Simla. Without his efforts, India wouldn’t have enjoyed the taste of home-grown apples. He also helped the local farmers by letting them cultivate apple crops in his land, thus, apples became a major crop in Simla.
-Viswanath Venkat Dasari.