Devan (R. Mahadevan) (8 September 1913 - 5 May 1957) was one of the greatest of twentieth century Tamil writers, known for his witty and humorous stories.

Devan was a competent and accomplished writer, who used several interesting and varied techniques in fiction writing. From travelogues to recipes, from detective stories to social dramas, he has written them all.

Early life

Devan was born in 1913 at Thiruvidaimarudur in Thanjavur district, Tamil Nadu, India, where he did his schooling. He came to Kumbakonam Government College to complete his B.A. degree. He worked as a school teacher for a few years, before joining the popular Tamil weekly magazine, Ananda Vikatan in 1934. Devan's first foray into the world of writing was through the short story "Rajamani", written when he was in his twenties.

Life as an Editor

Devan started as a Sub-Editor at Ananda Vikatan. From 1942 to 1957 he worked as Editor.

During this time, he wrote several stories, articles and travelogues. A common feature in all his work was his gentle sense of humour. He was a very popular writer and stories abound of how, when a new issue of Ananda Vikatan came out, everyone in the family would fight to get hold of the copy first.

Devan worked under famous writers like Kalki Krishnamurthy and S S Vasan. It was his wish that his stories get published as books, but sadly this did not happen in his lifetime, due to the nature of his contract with Vikatan.

During this time, he also served as Chairman of the Tamil Writers' Guild twice, and helped to promote Tamil literature.

Devan was also editor of the popular Tamil magazine, Ananda Vikatan until his death in 1957. In his short life, he experimented with different types of writing - travelogues, humour, current affairs. Devan's books are a joy to read even today, when social values and techniques in fiction writing are so different.

Devan's writings were also dramatised by several Tamil drama troupes, even during his lifetime. More recently, some of his works were made into television serials also.

Famous Works

Devan's stories and travelogues were serialised in Ananda Vikatan (with, perhaps, one exception, 'Mythili' which was serialized in 'Naradar'). His writiings are copyright of the Devan Endowments. Recently, many of Devan's works have been published by Alliance Publishers, Chennai, India. 'Kizakkup padhippagam' has also recently started publishing Devan's writings.

His writings include :


  • Mythili
  • Thuppariyum Sambu
  • GOmathiyin KAdhalan
  • KalyANi
  • Miss JAnaki
  • SrimAn Sudharsanam
  • Mr VedhAntham
  • Justice JagannAthan
  • Lakshmi KatAksham
  • CID Chandru (his last novel)

Other collections of stories, articles and travelogues include:

  • RajAmaNi
  • Vichuvukku Kadithangal
  • AppaLak KachchEri - Short stories with a recipe at the end of each story
  • Aindhu NaadugaLil ARupathu NaaL (60 Days in 5 countries) - Travelogue
  • POkkiri MAmA
  • PallisAmiyin Thuppu
  • MOtAr AgarAthi
  • Chinna KaNNan
  • RAjiyin PiLLai
  • Adhisaya thaambathigaL
  • Kamalam SolgirAL
  • Podaatha Thapaal
  • Sarasuvukku Kadithangal
  • manidha subAvam
  • chInup payal
  • chinnan chiRu kadhaigaL
  • pArvathiyin sangalpam
  • mallAri rAo kadhaigaL
  • En indha asattuththanam
  • jAngiri sundharam
  • peyarpOna puLugugaL
  • mAlathi
  • nadandhathu nadanthapadiyE
  • rangUn periyappA
  • chonnapadi kELungaL
  • rAjaththin manOratham

External links

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