Normally, I wouldnât jump in a book review into the blog. I have decided after a long time the focus of this blog to be gaming, startups and life (everything that falls under curious observation). So permit me to start that new focus of this blog with the Life part.
The Concept of Shiva
I saw the preview of the book at Landmark about 3 weeks back in a small flyer and was immediately captivated by the book cover. This had Shiva with the trishul on the background. To most foreign readers, Shiva or Lord Shiva is considered to be one of the Gods in the Holy Trinity. The Creator, Brahma, The sustainer, Lord Vishnu, and the destroyer, Lord Shiva.
But what if Shiva wasnât a God. What if this person we revere today as a destroyer of evil was actually a man who rose up to his challenges and acquired the title of Mahadev?
These are the questions that set the tone of Amishâs book, The Immortals of Meluha. I picked the book the moment it was released and spent the next few days reading it. I wasnât reading it with a religious fervor by any means. I was curious to see how someone would interpret this treatise of thought.
In many lines of thought, Meluha which we know as the Indus valley civilisation is considered to be the original birthplace of these âSuper menâ. They did things that werenât done by normal residents. They were thus exalted as Gods. Curiously Shiva here is considerd a cattle herder who actually was at the foothills of the Himalayas, that doesnât even make him truly Indian but half Tibetan! A blasphemy you would say? There seems to be rich documentation to negate that.
The Immortals of Meluha the book
This book is a treatise on a concept that has not been explored. Amish, the author, is actually an IIM graduate (whatâs with all these IIM graduates and writing books?) who takes the concept of Shiva as a Tibetian Tribal man who decides to cross borders to a city called Meluha which is ruled by the descendants of Lord Ram, called the Suryavanshis.
They have their counterpart the Chandravanshis that fight them (kinda like the Devas and Asuras) and Shiva is given their nectar, the Somras. He drinks it and is beheld as the Neelkanth (blue throat). The actual legend is that while the Asuras and Devas were fighting, Lord Rudra (as shiva was then known) drank the poison churned out of the seas and thus his neck turned blue.
But thatâs not the case here and thatâs all not the case in many of his treatments to the popular characters. Nandi is a close colleague in battle, not the original cow that we know them as, and Dashya, Veerabhadra etc are people who interact with him and remain part of his life, just not in the way we are used to.
There are many other subtle depictions of Lord Ram and other characters and overall its very well written. I wrote to Amish to express one small observation, the script writing is not that sharp. You have words like âGoddamnitâ, âbloody hellâ, In the name of God what is this nonsense etc, which I guess would be great for an Indian audience but after you just finish a Steven Erikson novel you find it falling a little flat.
But I wouldnât want to tarnish your read on the book. Hereâs the first chapter, indulge yourself. And watch the video following it. Well done Amish, I look forward to the next book. And I am very happy someones taking the Indian folklore to fiction and doing it well.