“Today he is a Lord, but once he was man….”
This concept that drives these chronicles, explains that all Gods must have once existed as people and it was their thoughts and actions that elevated them to the state of Gods. The Immortals of Meluha describes the story of a Tibetan tribal leader, who migrates to India with the rest of his clan to the near perfect Indian empire Meluha established by the laws of Lord Ram. The migration based on an invitation from the Suryavanshi emperor of India, King Daksha introduces them to the advanced Meluhan way of life. The strangely organized ways of the new land awes Shiva and his clan as they are introduced to concepts of daily bathing rituals, organized living quarters and the magical Somras, which blesses the citizens with good health, vitality and long lives. But the Meluhans are threatened by extinction thanks to a drying river Saraswathi and constant terrorist attacks. They also believe that their distant neighbors, the Chandravanshis have aligned with the evil Nagas (mutilated humans / snakes) to ensure that Meluha is wiped off the Indian map.
The consumption of the Somras as a part of the routine Meluhan quarantine process , gives Shiva a blue throat, thereby turning him into the legendary Neelkanth whose arrival has been much awaited by the emperor and citizens of Meluha. Per legend the Neelkanth is considered the saving grace of the Suryavanshis who will protect them and take the Suryavanshi way of life to greater heights. Shiva is hailed as a hero and he very reluctantly tries to accept his fate. Love can move mountains and life takes a turn when Shiva meets and falls in love with Daksha’s beautiful daughter Sati. But Sati is a Vikarma [untouchable] and his road to love is not as easy as he thinks it is. Also why does Daksha want Shiva at his side? How can he help the Meluhans who think that Neelkanth is a Lord, with their destiny? Why are the Chandravanshis living on the eastern side of India considered evil? What is the destiny of the Neelkanth ? Shiva struggles with all these questions and more in his quest to conquer evil and in the process the reluctant hero discovers his inner strength and the Lord within him and those around him..
Now for my thoughts on this book…..
- Shiva the man, swore a lot!! But I also loved his reasoning behind the same as Shiva felt that only those who dared to speak their mind could swear…… 🙂
- We are introduced to a part of India created by Lord Ram which is near perfect. There is no discrimination or corruption and concepts of organization, cleanliness and hygiene occupy top spots in the rule of the empire. What a direct contrast to the India of today? Where exactly did we go wrong?
- We are introduced to the most logical reasoning behind the caste systems of yore. A persons caste was determined based on his / her professional abilities and not merely by being born in a particular caste. The methods to achieve this classification seem a bit extreme but then it ensured peace and harmony in the country and the citizens had the maturity to accept it and live with it.
- The earlier classification of people as untouchables is also explained with great clarity in the book. Though the process of this classification seems to be based on ignorance, the reason behind doing so is an eye opener. Shiva claims a special place in your heart as he slowly wipes out the entire “Vikarma” system from the empire
- The personality of Shiva as a loyal friend who enjoys a smoke with his close friend Bhadra and his great dancing abilities figure prominently throughout the book allowing the reader to think that Shiva could be his/her buddy.
- The romantic within the reader will start peeping out as he/she reads about how Shiva woos Sati 🙂
- The depiction of Sati as a warrior princess adds more dimension to her personality and is probably something that readers would not have imagined before.
- The transformation from Shiva the tribal leader to that of a talented warrior who commands the formidable Meluhan army gives the reader an insight into his abilities of leadership and his talent to envision the bigger picture
- We also learn the interesting story behind the creation of the Trishul – I loved this part.
The language of the book is very simple and straight forward and author tends to veer of his path every now and then. But it is definitely a wonderful first attempt by the author to think of a Lord as a man and describe the inner turmoil and thoughts of a personality as great as Shiva. I for one, did not know much about Shiva and this book as triggered my interest in him. I guess this is the main goal of the author and he has definitely succeeded. The book ends with Shiva setting off to fight the supposedly evil Chandravanshis to help save Meluha……
My recommendation – A read for non-fanatical bibliophiles interested in Hindu mythology.