Was there a real person called Mandanna? Did a scientist by name Carvalho live in Mudigere?… These were some questions posed to Rajeshwari Tejaswi, wife of the late Kannada writer K.P. Poornachandra Tejaswi, at an interaction at Kottigehara, as part of a two-day workshop designed for young readers.

Around 40 youngsters from different parts of Karnataka gathered, curious to listen to Rajeshwari’s responses to questions. The event, which concluded on Sunday, was part of the two-day ‘Tejaswi Odu’ programme organised by Kosha Odu Desha Suttu and K.P. Poornachandra Tejaswi Pratistana at Kottigehara in Mudigere taluk.

Rajeshwari, 84, responded with enthusiasm. “None of the characters in his novels were really fictional. However, he was creative in the way he sketched the characters,” she said.

Tejaswi passed away in 2007. Even 13 years after his death many people, particularly the youth, visit his house near Mudigere. “Many fans of Tejaswi visit our place. It is because of their love for the writer,” she said. Appreciating the fact that Tejaswi’s novels – Carvalho, Chidambara Rahasya, Jugari Cross were widely read by the youth, Ms. Rajeshwari suggested the youth read his non-fiction works such as Vimarsheya Vimarshe and Hosa Vicharagalu.

The participants also raised critical issues about his writings. One reader raised objections to the use of some words, such as gayyaligalu to refer to bold women. Ms. Rajeshwari opined that said he used that word with an affirmative tone. “He used the word to tell the readers how strong those women characters were. Because they were strong they could bring a change. He once told me that I was not gayyali, to convey that I was not strong enough,” she said.

Kosha Odu Desha Suttu, a forum to encourage reading and travelling, had asked the participants to read Carvalho, Chidambara Rahasya and Kiragurina Gayyaligalu before the event.

Somanath P.Gurappanavar, a literature student from Hanagal in Haveri district, said, “During the lockdown, I read most of his works. I like him because he speaks about science, history, nature and all other subjects,” he said.

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