October 4, 2023
Of  Devotion and Deceit
Book Review

Of Devotion and Deceit

Dec 18, 2019
Manoj V Jain

In A Man from Mandu, author Manoj V Jain takes the reader into the world of god-men and devotees, faith and money. The plot traverses through unexpected twists and turns, making this book a riveting read.

A large gathering of people of all ages and communities eagerly await the arrival of a spiritual master they look up to. They begin interacting with each other, sharing stories of how they first heard of this guru and what exactly he means to them. Soon enough, the crowd settles down when the god-man makes his way on to the platform, at the front of the field. He is Avishkar Baba, revered by the masses for his spiritual sermons, communicated as short, relevant stories.

But he was not always this magnetic personality with thousands of followers. Avishkar Baba was once a simple man from Mandu called Dhawal. He was cherry-picked by a girl called Tarini, who had agreed upon a wager with her best friend to find and promote a guru with a huge following. If Tarini won the challenge, her friend would help her breathe life into a failing corporate career.

When Tarini chances upon Dhawal on a trip to Mandu, she sees in him the potential to become a full-fledged god-man. But, will Avishkar Baba continue to be just as popular with the masses if Tarini wins the bet and moves on to greener pastures?

Author Manoj V Jain tells the story of the dark world of god-men and blind faith through the perspective of Tarini. A cast of characters, each well-developed in their own right, makes A Man from Mandu a gripping read. The plot journeys through unexpected twists and turns, leaving the reader both baffled and intrigued with the character and plot-line developments.

Each chapter opens with a short quote by Avishkar Baba himself. Like a takeaway of sorts, it leads the reader into each new story filled with relevant situations that the god-man narrates to his followers.

The six-time author, an alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad and a student of psychology, is no stranger to human behaviour. In fact, Jain has always had an affinity for human relationships and how they are affected by circumstances. His deep understanding of the manner in which people think is best demonstrated in this book.

A Man from Mandu
Author: Manoj V Jain
Publisher: Notion Press
Price: R349/-