Shakuntala Devi born on 4 November 1929 was an Indian writer and mental calculator, known as the “Human-Computer”. She hails from a very poor background. Devi aims to simplify mathematics for students. Her ability won her a place in the edition of The Guinness Book of World Records (1982).
“Numbers have life; they’re not just symbols on paper.” – Shakuntala Devi
Let’s Peep into the Early life of Shakuntala Devi
Shakuntala Devi was born in Bangalore, Karnataka in a Kannada Brahmin family. Her father was a trapeze artist, lion tamer, tightrope walker, and magician in a circus. The time when she was just three years, her father noticed an amazing ability to memorize numbers.
Since, Devi was an intelligent kid that without any formal education she illustrated her arithmetic abilities at the University of Mysore just at the tender age. In 1944, Devi moved to London with her father.
She visited several countries around the world illustrating her arithmetic skills and knowledge. Besides a mental calculator, she was also a good author and outstanding astrologer.
Looking at her novels, here are some more interesting facts about Shakuntala Devi
1. At age 3, her father noticed her memorizing numbers efficiently.
2. This young mathematician performed complex sums within seconds.
3. When she was just 6 years old, she expressed her unique ability at the University of Mysore, Osmania university, etc.
4. She holds the Guinness World Record for “Fastest Human Computation.”
5. Devi referred her mathematical strength to the pursuit of astrology.
6. She was an outstanding writer. Apart from writing, she also demonstrated her skills at various English media. She wrote many in her later years, including fiction as well as texts about mathematics, riddles, and astrology.
7. Mitchell’s declaration that Shakuntala’s mathematical answer was correct and the original answer wrong. She earned the title of `Human Computer’ which she didn’t like.
8. Shakuntala Devi demonstrated her ability to multiply two random numbers of 13 digits.
She easily multiplied mentally 7,686,369,774,870 × 2,465,099,745,779 and gave the correct answer as 18,947,668,177,995,426,462,773,730 within 28 seconds.
9. She also was a supporter of L.G.B.T.Q. people. In 1977 she wrote, “The World of Homosexuals,” which featured her analysis outcomes, containing meetings with same-sex couples in India and abroad.
This famous book, “The World Of Homosexuals“, which is considered as the first study of homosexuality in India. She saw homosexuality in a positive light and is considered a pioneer in the field.
10. Shakuntala Devi even tried to construct a path into politics. In 1980, Devi moved for Parliament, the Lok Sabha, as a self-sufficient nominee from two different localities — Mumbai and Medak.
11. In Medak, where her main opposition was the former prime minister, Indira Gandhi, whom the Indian mathematician had openly criticized.
How was her Personal Life….
Shakuntala Devi returned to India in the mid-1960s and got married to Paritosh Banerji. Her husband was an officer of the Indian Administrative Service from Kolkata. But, later got divorced due to personal issues.
Death and Estate
In April 2013, Devi was admitted to hospital at Bangalore with severe respiratory problems. Around two weeks, she suffered from heart and kidney difficulties. She breathes her last at the age of 83 years on 21 April 2013.
Shakuntala Devi was respected with a Google Doodle on her 84th birthday.
Recently, a film titled Shakuntala Devi was announced in May 2019 based on her life. The film features actress Vidya Balan in the lead role and co-stars Sanya Malhotra, Amit Sadh, and Jisshu Sengupta. This movie is by Sony Pictures Networks Productions, and the upcoming film is being streamed worldwide on Amazon Prime Video on 31 July 2020.