Monday, October 20, 2014

Har Har Mahadev – book review of the Shiva trilogy by Amish Tripathi

Though mythology is an important feature of every culture, its value from our generation is seen to be fading out mostly because of the conflict between the existence of the myths passed on to the generation and the rational thoughts. Added to the already existing confusion is the complexity of the mythology to some extent.

Amish Tripathi’s Shiva trilogy amalgamates mythology, history and fiction to make the whole story very believable and easy to be followed by all. The series makes you belief that the actions/deeds (karma) are the deciding factors in transforming a human to supreme unlike the fantasy stories (from Hindu mythology) that we heard while growing up from our parents/grandparents. The characterization of Shiva is very appealing and so is the climax and revelation of Neelkanth. The detailed description of other characters, places and situations actually helps the readers to proceed smoothly with the plot. The immortals of Meluha is a certain page-turner with an interesting take on Shiva. Integrating all the known details about the Indus Valley Civilization and giving own explanations for various concepts made the first book of the trilogy a brilliant piece of work.

It isn’t often one comes across a book by an Indian author, with a sequel. The Secret of the Nagas – second book of the trilogy is filled with secret, suspense and shock. While the protagonist Shiva- a tribal leader slowly rises to prominence as a powerful leader, the story managed to continue the mesmerized saga by weaving Shiva - Pasupathi, Parvathi - the Mother Goddess, Ram - the supreme Lord of the times, Ganesh - the elephant headed God , Parasurama and Kali - the black form of Parvati, the Naga Queen. The author managed to bring together timelines for a perfect mix and elaborate tale that takes a different kind of imagination.

The third and last book of the series – The Oath of the Vayuputras takes us on a beautiful visual journey with the powerful writing and narration style clubbed with amazing conceptualization. The classic good vs. evil tale includes emotion, drama, action and war. There are a lot of twists and turns each linked to each other in some way or another – but the author brings a closure to all the characters of the trilogy. The action-packed massive book provides a satisfying experience as the story progresses and ends.

The perfect fabrication of the very well conceptualized story with the history (Indus Valley Civilization), geography (North Indian plains above the Vindhays) and mythology of India is still a fantasy! The author often uses the story to put forth his opinion on many issues - like karma, ethics, consequentialism, existentialism and the balance of good and evil. Though it is clearly intended to make the readers think, sometimes it just feels irksome. It is understood that the author is trying to give the story a modern touch to connect with the general audience but usage of certain words/phrases is quite jarring given the era the trilogy is set in.  The language used throughout the trilogy is very simple – may be for beginners, for whom Amitav Ghosh’s brilliance may be too much to comprehend. Overall, I liked the concept of the trilogy, satisfied with the explanations through the research done by the author and would recommend to Indian readers who can co-relate the mythological stories with the facts described in the series.

1 comment:

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