Saturday, November 2, 2013

A novel worth our time ...

I honestly did not think I would break my blog silence finally, for writing about a book, rather a sequel. Yes, I had been intrigued initially by it but when I laid my hands on the sequel, I just could not put them down and read them through over 3 nights and some parts of the days as well.

I am talking about the Shiva Trilogy by Amish Tripathi. I am writing this right after closing the final book, The oath of the Vayuputras. Till about mid-way through the last book of this series, I was actually happy that I have finally stumbled upon a brilliant classic from an Indian author. Am I retaining that feeling after the completion, am not so sure. One thing is sure though, it was a heart wrenching tale of how Sati sacrificed herself and the events which happened post that. May be I am being so sentimental and melodramatic here, but having been immersed in it straight through, the pain of Sati's death still lies heavy in my heart.

Puritans of Indian History and Mythology may balk. But as far as I am concerned, the good things about this series are:

1) It introduces a lot of characters from Indian mythology, even if in different contexts than what you would know of them traditionally
2) It puts up the perspective of how the caste system originated (and everyone now knows how it degenerated)
3) Indian Rishis, now worshipped as Gods, have been clearly treated more as scientists who had a spectacular understanding of this universe, but human at the same time
4) The length and breadth of Indian Geography is discussed in such wonderful detail
5) The way the author portrays scientific advances made by ancient Indians is truly commendable. Today, a substantial portion of that has been proven true although the timelines
6) Even the description of weaponry used in ancient times in such detail has been brilliant

The Legend of Shiva, starting from the moment he is shown as a man fighting for his tribe, till his death, showing him at various inflection points in his life rising above rest of humanity around him, is simply superb. It shows what every human is capable of, if only we have the conviction to find out the truth for ourselves.

Overall, it is a brilliant conception, a smart introduction to ancient Indian sciences, a humane story of struggle for power vs truth and has been told that way. It tends to drag a bit through the dialogues, the philosophy and the war sections, but those have been critical sections as I see to introduce the readers to ancient Indian way of living.

A word of caution to the readers though - you have to read it as if you are reading a novel, which is what I presume the author tried to present. Do not read it from historical accuracy perspective and find faults with it.

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