Review of the book- Legends of Meluha (Author- Amish)
Blog :Delirium- the madness saves me.
Date: 10/16/2011 10:40:00 AM
I managed to read this book seriously after months of it lying in my cupboard. Once I picked it up, I simply couldn’t put it down. It’s a well-written, entertaining and knowledgable book. It’s the story set in 1200 BC of a Tibetan tribal called Shiva who is destined to deliver Suryavanshis from evil- Chandravanshis who have been mounting ruthless attacks on them, creating strife and disturbing the peaceful lives of these citizens, for the age-defying ‘Amrit’ called Somras which makes them immortal. Shiva is very reluctant to accept this destiny forced on him by the king and the Suryavanshi people when they see his Blue-coloured throat which is the proof of him being the savior that they were looking for, since centuries. They invite Shiva’s tribe from the unlivable and treacherous Mount Kailash to their empire near the Saraswati, in the Kashmir region. Shiva is a well-built leader of his tribe with long knotted hair, covered with tiger-skin wrapped around his waist and with battle-scars on his body. He is burdened with a guilt of an incident in childhood which keeps haunting him and makes him think he isn’t worthy of anything big in life, especially anyone’s savior.
Shiva is hopelessly in love with kings daughter Sati which unbeknownst to him is a widow since last 90 years and is labeled a ‘Vikarma’.
I was amazed to read about the advanced civilization of the Suryavanshis and the various facilities that they had in their kingdom. This is the civilization that we call- Mohen-Jo-Daro and Harappa which they have called the ‘Suryavanshis’.
The Suryavanshis are very organized, systematic, noble, proud but humble and great followers of Lord Ram and his teachings whom they consider the greatest Avatar ever lived and the the most noblest of kings. They do not like unnecessary showoff of wealth and even the royal palace is very understated. They place a great value on the innate ability that each person is born with his place in society according to his talent. Therefore they devise a method of selection where all the birth-mothers give away their babies to a place where they are kept till 16 and when they are mature enough, they select their own caste and profession according to his/her abilities under the guidance of elders and mark their path in life. They do not view these practices as unfair and take great pride in the fariness and the equal opportunities given to all. There is another practice called ‘Vikarma’ where anyone whose husband has died, gives birth to a stillborn and gets infected with diseases like leprosy is branded as something like ‘Untouchable’ and cannot take part in important rites and ceremonies and many of the things in daily life like remarriage and happiness are off-limits to them.
These are some things that I found very interesting in the book and the way the author has given an ancient twist to the current social evils and how the main character in the book- Shiva decides to take them head-on and points out the unfairness of the supposedly ‘fair’ systems is something I really liked. Slowly one-by-one, Shiva endears himself to all his skeptics and garners their respect. All of them vouch for the fact that he very much is, and deserves the title of ‘Mahavatara’ due to his impeccable leadership humility and unmatched qualities.
Many of Shiva’s avatars and followers like Veerbhadra, Nandi make an appearance as characters.
The Suryavanshis win the war against the Chandravanshis against tremendous odds with the brilliant analytical and inventive mind of Shiva who devises new armaments and techniques. What awaits them when they capture the evil king- Dilipa and begin their sojourn in Ayodhya and their kingdom is very surprising for Shiva and totally unexpected.
The book becomes unput-downable from the middle onwards and I loved the pace of the book. I thought the portion of the war between the two kingdoms was not given enough importance in terms of description. I loved the parts where Shiva dances and the way his experience and his excellence is told in the author’s words. The ample mix of philosophy in the book made it very interesting for me where the battles in his mind are brought forth as he questions ‘what is evil and good?’, ‘Am I a person worthy of being a Mahaavatara and savior for anyone?’ I really liked the characters of Brahaspati and Nandi. I found the leader of Nagas very mysterious and interesting and I look forward to knowing more about the Nagas in the next book. I was kind-of disappointed with the way the book goes into the part when they go to the Chandravanshi kingdom and see the sights that wait for them. I didn’t like the ending, where is goes like-‘….to be continued’ bit right in the throes of action, which I thought was kind of amateurish. But yeah, the readers will be forced to buy the next book in the trilogy nonetheless! A very entertaining book indeed, money well-spent.