A Meet with the Author

The author of 'Devayani' - Manjula Tekal

"Always wanted to write about Devayani. She was a willful character and wanted to catch life with both her hands. Devayani wanted to live every moment. She was once upon a time in love with Kacha. He had come to Devayani's father Sukra in order to learn the life giving Sanjeevi Mantra. He plays with her, learns the incantation, and goes back to the Devas. Sukracharya happens to be the preceptor of the Asuras and Devayani was his darling daughter. The pampered daughter had a playmate in Sharmishta, the daughter of the ruler Vrishaparva.

Sukra was the preceptor of the kingdom. Childhood rivalry between Devayani and Sharmishta caused a lot of angst in the minds of the former. They grew up eventually and Devayani used an altercation as an excuse to take Sharmishta to task. This eventually resulted in Sharmishta becoming a slave of Devayani for life. The daughter of Sukra manipulates King Yayati and marries him. Sharmishta goes along with Devayani to the palace of Yayati. Eventually both Yayati and Sharmishta fall for each other. The daughter of Vrishaparva thinks that she is eligible to be the companion of Yayati due to her aristocratic origin.

Her love for Yayati justifies her tough process. The treatment meted to her by her father and Sukracharya due to the influence of Devayani becomes reason enough for this relationship. The relationship gets discovered and there is a change of events. The novel is based on this story from the past. It is a precursor to the Dasarajna War. River Saraswathi had been flowing fully at the time of these happenings," stated the author Manjula Tekal while talking about her book 'Devayani'.

Garuda Prakashan has published this work of Manjula Tekal. This publishing house was founded by Sankrant Sanu and Pathak three years ago. It is based in Gurugram and calls itself a platform where stories that bring forth the perspective and narrative of Indian civilisation can be told. The book, ‘Devayani’, would take the reader on a journey through infatuation, lust, jealousy, betrayal, love, and wisdom. Yayati's son, Puru, would later inherit the land of Saraswathi and create the Puru dynasty. This platform has brought this story out very well.

"The old story has been retold in a modern way. It is the same tale with a different narration. A number of people helped with this book. To start with maps were a big task for me. I thought that Prathistana was in the centre but came to know that it was in Haryana. Nilesh Oak helped me to see the maps in the right manner. It would be out of place if I do not recognise the work of Shrikant Talageri. His work helped me to form the geographic interpretation. I hope he reads the book and agrees. Amish Tripathi has endorsed my work and I must thank Sankrant Sanu, the CEO of Garuda Prakashan. Sankrant is a fount of knowledge and his encouragement made to complete my work with confidence. I am relatively unknown, and he trusted me. He worked with me and made it happen. Thanks, are very much due to the famous author Saiswaroopa Iyer, and Abhinav Agarwal. Saiswaroopa was responsible in identifying my first editor Vrinda Baliga. I am grateful to this author who is a beacon light to many like me", added the energetic author Manjula Tekal.

Manjula Tekal furthered the conversation by stating facts connected with the work of Shrikant Talageri. The eminent researcher had concluded that Indians and Persians have an old connection. They have a lot in common says, Manjula Tekal. She spoke about the sons of Yayati over the discussion. While Dhruhyu, Anu, and Puru were born to Sharmishta - Yadu, and Turvasu were the sons of Devayani. Puru becomes the ruler and the rest of the sons of Yayati go in different directions. Yadu starts the Yadava dynasty (the dynasty which gave the world, Lord Krishna), Turvasu moves South East while Dhruhyu and Anu go off to the North Western region - Gandhara and Kashmir. The story of Nahusha and his attempted dalliance with Sachi is found in 'Devayani'.

The author grew up reading the books published by Bharata Bharathi in Kannada. Her father had got them. They were later translated into English. She had been a proud owner of 500 titles and even today she has more than 100 titles with her. Manjula Tekal is translating Ajeya, the biography of Chandrashekhar Azad from Kannada to English. The Kannada version's author happens to be Babu Krishna Murthy. Chandrashekhar Azad is a Brahmin by birth. Manjula had been doing translations all along and she had to stop due to her preoccupation with family life.

"My father T. S. Vishwanath was an engineer cum teacher who had served as the Principal of an engineering college. Mother Parvathi used to teach English and Geography. My paternal grandfather Vedantam Subbiah Sastri was a professional but was deeply interested in the philosophy of Sankara. He had interpreted a number of the works of Sankara and was honoured with the title 'Vedantam' by none other than His Holiness Chandrashekhara Bharathi, the Pontiff of Sringeri. A number of books were written by him. My grandfather was quite close to the charitable Yadalam family. I still remember visiting the residence of Yadalam Subbiah Setty those days. I got time in India while staying with my ailing mother in 2018. Had to quit the job and get into a different mode, " chuckled the author.

Manjula Tekal was educated in Bengaluru. She has done her education from BMS College of Engineering and IIM Bengaluru. This Academic Professional did her additional management programme from the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign. She is very Indic. The author's paternal kula devata is Nanjundeshwara and her current one is Thimmappa (Tirumala Venkateshwara). Her maternal grandfather, Narayan Rao was the tutor for His Highness Jayachamaraja Wodeyar.

The patriotic author spoke about the Maharaja of Mysore during the course of the long conversation, "The institutions of higher learning like the Indian Institute of Technology owe a lot to the Maharaja of Mysore, Jayachamaraja Wodeyar. He was also the Governor of Madras State and was responsible for the Brindavan Express. His Highness had commissioned the translation of a slew of the puranas from Sanskrit to Kannada. He was a noble soul".

Manjula Tekal and her tribe of Bharatiya authors are doing much in the interest of our culture and tradition. May their tribe increase.