Sunday, 16 October 2011

The Immortals of Meluha: A Critical Review


Recently I finished reading one of the recent bestsellers, The Immortals of Meluha, by Amish.First of all kudos to the author for trying to deal with Hindu mythology and giving it the shape that would be interesting to the modern reader. Hindu mythology is a subject that very few Indian authors have tried to use in their story telling,much less to base their story on it. The fact that Amish has,goes a long way to say how our rich heritage could be used in the modern day and age. It is a very noble beginning, and I really hope we have many authors who would use this historical background to base their stories upon. We could recreate thousands of Da Vinci Codes, if we delved into our history and mythology deep enough.

Honestly, I felt I needed to write about the book, because, though it has captured the imaginations of many a readers, it would be grossly incorrect, if we were to believe that the author has tried to focus on the ancient and rich history of India. Sure, as a work of pure fiction, it is indeed good, but there are certain facts misrepresented as history of our land. It would be very unfair on my part as a reader, if I do not put out an unbiased view of the book, because even I really enjoyed how the story unfolds.

Let me first start by giving a brief synopsis of the story. The story, unfolds in the ancient land of India, known as Meluha, where reigns Emperor Daksha of the Suryavanshi clan. They are a highly civilized society where rules, guidelines and regulations are to an extent just. Their science, culture, tradition all are taken from the venerable Lord Ram, the proginetor of the Suryavanshi clan. These Suryavanshis are in constant fear of terrorist attacks from another clan, the Chandravanshis, who are exactly the opposite of them as in they adhere to no rules, regulations or guidelines. Their society isn't as civilized as the Suryanvanshis and they have now formed an ally with the "Nagas", the most heinous of all the tribes of India and together they want to steal the secret formula of "Somrasa", which Suryavanshis value as their holy drink.
Now there is a prophecy that a blue throated man from the lands of the "Sapt-Sindhu" would come and rescue the Suryavanshis. Enters Shiva, a tribal chieftain from the mountains of Kailasha, whose throat has turned blue upon consuming Somrasa, is he the prophetic one? Will he be able to deliver Suryavanshis from their problems and are Chandravanshis really the problem? Who are these Nagas? Are the Suryavanshis really as good as portrayed? For finding the answers to these questions, one has to read The Immortals of Meluha.

Now coming to the narrative style, Amish's style can never be called gripping, and cannot hold the attention of the reader. Another thing I quite disagreed with,is the occasional usage of swear words. They have been employed far too many times. The story has been weaved exceptionally well and the climax is really good though the end is kept wide open. Amish cleverly uses this book as a prequel to his next book, "The Secret of the Nagas". Kudos to Amish for knowing his historical facts well and cleverly using them to his advantage. The book can in no way be taken as a narrative of the rich ancient history of our land, but as a work of pure fiction. People reading this should bear it in mind that the author has grossly played with the historical facts and jumbled them up to present a very juvenile land of India.
Lastly it is a book, one should read as purely a work of fiction. Please do note that there are grossly misrepresented facts but yes, the storyline is good, some of the concepts given in it are extremely interesting and overall a good read, though I would not rate it as a "must read". Read it at our own leisure, for the simple pleasure of reading.

10 comments:

Druv said...

It would be illogical to call these stories Mythological.

Firstly, the word mythology comes from the word "Mythya or Mithya" from Sanskrit which means a lie or deception. Hence from the beginning you are adding some thing very wrongful to begin with.

It has been an Abrahmic poly to warp history , and people keep using the subtle manipulation which will destroy the foundations of Vedic civilization.Its best you become more aware of the destruction happening around you.

Augadha

Reflections... said...

With all due respect to those who found the word "mythology" wrongly implied, I accept my mistake, but if the readers truly have read Indian History and then read this book, the entire story is fabricated... I am sorry to say,that the author has tried to play around with historical facts, to create a story of his own and being someone who takes pride in our history, I feel very humiliated by the author's misrepresentation.

according to ronnie said...

Myth has no connection what so ever with the term "Mythya" or lie ....in fact Myth actually mean something of an unknown origin !!! According to Dictionary of English Folklore," Oxford [J. Simpson & S. Roud, "Dictionary of English Folklore," Oxford, 2000, p.254]; it came into origin from the Greek word "mythos" & specifically mean "speech, thought, story, myth," of unknown origin.....it is not even remotely connected with Sanskrit....
Mr. Dhruv has very little notion of what is right & what is wrong.
Miss Sanyal should never have apologized to such an unwarranted comment ....the Immortals of Meluha is a very bad piece of fiction indeed.

Capt. Ajit Vadakayil said...

hi,

let the author write a book like this about allah or mohammed, if he has the guts.

he has no idea who shiva is.

a rank bad book, even if it is fiction.

given good reviews by vested interests, who want to make a man out of god.

capt ajit vadakayil
..

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Anonymous said...

I read this book after all the rave reviews it received but to my utter disappointment, the writer neither has skill nor any knowledge about Indian Gods. He has ruined our mythology by depicting Lord Shiva in this book. His English is so poor, it makes you wonder he even got published. And the book's a bestseller!

Anonymous said...

I read this book after all the rave reviews it received but to my utter disappointment, the writer neither has skill nor any knowledge about Indian Gods. He has ruined our mythology by depicting Lord Shiva in this book. His English is so poor, it makes you wonder he even got published. And the book's a bestseller!

Anonymous said...

What Mr. Tripathi has missed out in the book is a disclaimer indicating that this is a work of fiction, and has no connection with the Shiva of Hindu religion. The way well-known aspects such as chronology of events (e.g Shiva being born a thousand years after Ram which would make Ram's Swayamvar with Sita impossible - remember Shiva's bow which was broken by Ram, Ravan being a Shiva worshipper etc.), making a hotchpotch of historical aspects such as a marble temple of Ram 2500 years before marble was used as a building material in India etc. reminds one of the contrived writing of Vikas Swaroop in his Q&A and six Suspects. It is time now that Indian writing in English matures beyond the level of juvenile pulp fiction and becomes more convincing.

J Vishwanath said...

I just read this book because I had nothing else to do while on journey by train to Kolkatta.

Being a devout shivite myself and worship him daily in my morning rituals, I found it very hurting to read each and every page, my instinct was to put it down.

Capt. Was right, If he has tried this under islam, Fatwa would have been issued. I wonder how this one got printed. We hindus are tolerant.

If it is a fiction, then why Shiva's name is being used? and to add to that best seller tag to this... disgusting!!

J Vishwanath said...

I just read this book because I had nothing else to do while on journey by train to Kolkatta.

Being a devout shivite myself and worship him daily in my morning rituals, I found it very hurting to read each and every page, my instinct was to put it down.

Capt. Was right, If he has tried this under islam, Fatwa would have been issued. I wonder how this one got printed. We hindus are tolerant.

If it is a fiction, then why Shiva's name is being used? and to add to that best seller tag to this... disgusting!!