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Satyananda Stokes

(1882 – 1946) – Himachal Pradesh

Satyananda Stokes (Aged 64), born on August 16, 1882, was an American who settled in India. Originally named Samuel Evans Stokes Jr., he was born into a successful American Quaker family. Although he did not acquire any professional skills or interest in business, he participated in the Indian Independence Movement. He is best known for introducing apple cultivation to the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, which is now a major horticultural export crop.

At the age of 22, Samuel came to India in 1904 to work at a leper colony in Subathu, Shimla. He was drawn to Indian spirituality and began living a simple, frugal life among the villagers, becoming a sort of Christian Sannyasi.

Stokes had a strong sense of social justice and later became active in India’s freedom struggle. He was the only American to become a member of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) of the Indian National Congress, representing Punjab alongside Lala Lajpat Rai.

In 1921, he was jailed for sedition and promoting hatred against the British government, becoming the only American political prisoner of Great Britain during the freedom struggle. He passed away on May 14, 1946.