The Indian Da Vinci Code! with a mix of Ayn Rand and modern India!

Just finished reading "The Immortals of Meluha" by the debutant author Amish Tripathi. The Immortals of Meluha is the personification of the great Hindu deity Lord Shiva. The book talks about Lord Shiva, various mythological stories related to him in simple daily talk English, more important English that the present Indian generation can identify with. The story starts with the emergence of Neelkanth, the saviour, the evil defeater. Later on as the story progresses, Shiva meets Sati and further later defeats the evil. But then he is perplexed. Who/what really is evil. The people he has just defeated are they evil? Or has he been tricked into evil by the erstwhile Asuras?
And then he lands up in the land that he has just conquered, Ayodhya, the invincible land, the birth place of Lord Rama.

The last 100 pages of the book compare the two kingdoms - Meluha and Swadeep. Meluha, the land of immortals. The place where people are taken care of by the state. And then Swadeep, where people are left to fend for themselves. However there is a big difference! The Swadeeps live with dignity! Even the beggar on the road has more dignity than the Princess of Meluha could muster while she was ostracized!

The later part of the book looks like a description of modern day India. Infact, the whole book mentions the word "India" only a few times. But somehow the word "India" feels out of place in the context. The story talks about the sapta-sindhu, the citadel of Hariappa (Hariyupa as in book) and Mohenjodaro along with the its great bath. All this reference to history in modern reference brings back somehow nice memories of high school history textbooks.

Also the book seems to be slighty inspired by Ayn Rand - With the initial part talking about state taking care of people (which is completely anti- Ayn Rand btw but pro Ram-Rajya) and then the a capitalist like rule in the actual land of Ram Rajya. One wonders whether the author wants to ask what really is Ram Rajya? The place where every one has all that he needs, all equal amongst themselves but then they deny dignity to the sufferers just to maintain some order? Or whether Ram Rajya is really a place where every one, no matter whether rich and mighty or poor and destitute are at peace with themselves and ve enough dignity to look anyone and everyone in their eyes with pride. Amish also takes a nice and well discussed look upon the caste system, its origin and how it was malformed to its present rigid system.

This book is the first in the series of trilogy about the Shiva.

Written on April 15, 2010