There are few things in the history of any land or time as beautiful as the short life of Akhnaton, king of Egypt in the early fourteenth century B.C. Some men are celebrated for their extraordinary intelligence; others are famous as great artists; others have become immortal account of their goodness. But few have been intellectual geniuses, artists and saints at the same time, in the natural perfection of their being. Akhnaton was such a man. He was one of those rare historic figures whose very existence is sufficient to make one proud to be a man, in spite of all the atrocities that have dishonoured our species from the beginning up to now. And yet, such is the irony of fate that the public at large hardly knows his name.
At the opening of this year 1942 A.D. — exactly three thousand three hundred years after Akhnaton’s death, if we accept the chronology of some historians — I present this simple book to the young people of all the world in the hope that it may teach them to love that most lovable of men. My own life would have been richer and more beautiful, had I had the privilege to know of him when I was twelve years old. To try to give that privilege to others seems to me the best way of amending for long years of neglect, and of keeping up King Akhnaton’s thirty third centenary in the midst of our troubled times.
Calcutta, 14th of February 1942.