Author : Amish
Publisher : Westland
ISBN : 978-93-80658-54-4
The book is based on the belief that perhaps the actions, the deeds and karma are the only deciding factors in transforming an ordinary man to Mahadev - God of Gods.
The book begins with a tribal leader Shiva in a dilemma over an enticing offer from Nandi, who hails from Meluha (the land of pure life) inviting Shiva and his tribe of Gunas to relocate to Meluha. The Meluhan King of Suryavanshis - Daksh, invites various tribes to stay in his country in desperate pursuit of a sole savior Neelkanth for them.
Meluha is a near perfect empire created many centuries ago by Lord Ram whose reign was exemplary in many ways. But now the country is struggling against many issues - the aggression by Chandravanshis who apparently have allied with Nagas for terrorist attacks on Suryavanshis, shortage of somras and slow extinction of revered Saraswati river. But the Meluhans firmly believe in the ancient legend which gives them a glimmer of hope - when the problems become insurmountable for ordinary men, the Neelkanth will appear. It turns out that Shiva is the Neelkanth when his throat turns blue on partaking the Somras (the drink which reduces the oxidants in the body and makes the people of Meluha enjoy longer lives).
Shiva finds himself responding to the call of destiny while finding love of his life, forming brotherly associations with some and leading a whole country against evil. But are they up against evil?
I could see glimpse of Suryavanshi-Chandrvanshi disputes being analogous to the ones between India-Pakistan - having the same origin and at one point the argument between the Suryavanshi and Chandravanshi seemed very similar to the ones that we have witnessed many times between India and Pakistan.
What I liked the most about the book:
- Using the same characters, places and names which are associated with Lord Shiva -Mansarovar, Sati, Nandi, Daksh, Gunas, makes the whole story very believable and easy to relate to.
- Many euphoric moments throughout the narrative, especially the episode when Neelkanth inspires the Suryavanshi army to believe in 'Har Har Mahadev' - each and every person is Mahadev.
- The climax and the final revelation to Neelkanth. His inner struggle, turmoil, frustration and desperation to find the answer, the solution and the final realization. The brilliant portrayal of duality of life and of our existence takes the book many notches higher.
- Interweaving the sub plots of Saptrishis, Vasudevs, brief history of Devas and Asurasa and Rudra in the narrative without confusing the readers anywhere.
- The detailed description of places and situations which helps the readers in understanding the story and moving along with it.
- A completely original plot brilliantly amalgamating mythology, history and fiction to create a mesmerizing saga. I would like to give 10/10 for the imagination of the author.
- The author has fictionalized and simplified the mythology to such an extent that it can easily be followed by all, thereby increasing its reach extensively.
A few irritants:
The abusive language used by Shiva and his chillum are some of the aspects which may be objectionable to many, but Shiva is shown as a tribal, so I guess in order to bring the authenticity the author decided to retain them. However, I personally did not like these portions, could have been easily done away with, without losing anything on the plot and the impact of the whole story.
Language is very simple, can easily be followed by young adults too. A little refined language and tighter editing can definitely help the book positively.
Some excerpts from the book :
- Whether a man is a legend or not is decided by history, not fortune tellers.
- A man becomes a Mahadev, only when he fights for good. A Mahadev is not born from his mother's womb. He is forged in the heat of battle, when he wages a war to destroy evil. Har Har Mahadev - All of us are Mahadev.
- A person's ethics and character are not tested in good times. It is only in bad times that a person shows how steadfast he is to his dharma.
After reading this book, I was wondering, perhaps the 'page-turner' term was coined for such books. This book completely lives up to the term.
I feel really happy that the literary scene in India is in good hands as long as people like Amish are present on the literary firmament, with their out-of-the box thinking and wonderful plots.
Definitely one of the stories which will remain with the readers for a very long time and I am sure Shiva/Neelkanth/Mahadev will be in their hearts forever.
I am glad to have read and reviewed this book which is one of the shortlisted books for Vodafone Crossword Book Awards 2010.
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The Vodafone Crossword Book Award is one of the most prestigious and popular literary prizes in India that not only recognizes and rewards the best of Indian writing but also actively promotes the authors and their books.
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1. Vodafone Crossword Fiction Award.
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4. Vodafone Crossword Children’s Award.
5. Vodafone Crossword Popular Award.
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