Self Expression Magazine

The Apple Grower.

By Atulsharmasharma

The Apple Grower.

Image David Niblack,

He was the only American to be the political prisoner of the British when they ruled over India. He was born as Samuel Evans Stokes, Jr. into a wealthy business family in America. In 1904, aged 22 he came to India to work in a leper colony in Subathu in Simla hills. Angered, his parents cut off his money supply. They wanted him to return and look after the business. And he refused to do so. But after a few years they relented and the love of their son forced them to send considerable sums to their son. And the good son used the money not for his personal gains but for providing for the lepers and the poor local populace.
In 1912 he married a local Raput girl. And now he shunned his poverty and used the large amount of money he got from inheritance to buy large chunks of land to grow apples. The local farmers saw his prosperity and wanted to grow apples too. Instead of acting as a petty human being and trying to stop them from growing apples he helped all of them wholeheartedly and even provided seeds to them. The local populace became prosperous too because of him.
In 1932 he converted to Hinduism and changed his name to Satyanand. He was in favour of an Independent India. And he participated in the struggle too, for this he had to pay the cost as he was arrested.
On Stokes’ arrest, Mahatma Gandhi wrote: “That he (Stokes) should feel with and like an Indian, share his sorrows and throw himself into the struggle, has proved too much for the government. To leave him free to criticize the government was intolerable, so his white skin has proved no protection for him."
He died on 14 May, 1946 without being able to see an Independent India. The prosperity of Himachal Pradesh because of apples is to be attributed to him.

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