Saturday 2 January 2016

Book Review: Scion Of Ikshvaku

This is a book from author of the Shiva Trilogy- Amish, and is the first in the Ram Chandra series. 

The cover of this book is appealing, and the plot is promising. The author's way of writing is one of its kind. He picks up godlike characters from Indian mythology, and portrays them as humans- the extra ordinary humans, and their society as rational, real and scientific. I have also read Shiva Trilogy by Amish, and it draws analogy to the way of living and philosophies from that series. I am awed at how beautifully he links the two series by giving a hint that Ram Chandra dreams of a civilization like Meluha, and on the other hand, Shiva Trilogy has various mentions of the way of living inspired by Ram Chandra. He has also connected well the Vayupurtas and Nagas here. 

The characterization is flawless, and the plot contemplates a different philosphy. To most of the people including me, Ramayan is not as interesting as Mahabharata. But Amish has imagined it well, and carved his version out of the epic. We live in the era of remixes, this holds true for Amish's books as well!

Special applause for the section on the gangrape case which drew analogy from the Nirbhaya case, and the punishment which was administered to the perpetrators, esp. the justice delivered to the juvenille. A book covering the contemporary world's vices, providing exemplary solutions, driving the readers' empathy perfectly, and wisely including that as a part of the age old epic like this deserves acclaim.

When we are speaking about Ramayan, it is ceremonial to talk about the prime characters- Sita and Ram. Ram's role is perfectly articulated- the legendary man, the law abiding member of the royal clan of Ikshvaku, jeweled with clarity of thoughts and a loyal, loving husband. Complementing him well, unlike other versions of Ramayan which showcase Sita as the abla-naari (the helpless lady), Amish portrays her as a strong, powerful warrior and a witty lady, who is the Prime Minister at her father's kingdom and later a perfect better half to her husband. 

The original legend shows Ram as the descendant of King Raghu (Raghukul), but this book tells us that it was Ikshvaku who founded the dynasty and hence, he's the Scion of Ikshvaku.
Moreover, Ravana the Demon becomes an exploiting business tycoon. Manthra, the poor maid in Ramayan becomes a powerful merchant. Vishwamitra, the sage, becomes a conspiring sarcastic leader of Malayaputra clan. The continued depiction of various demigods with special features as Naga is interesting. Jatayu becomes a Naga and so would anyone with any resemblance to other animals.

The first half of the book could have been shortened. But the second half was speedy, captivating and well articulated. Even after having read, heard, watched as multiple TV serials and movies through years, I could still discover a lot in this book, because it is believable. 

A few not-so-good things-
1) Roshni is an Urdu word. How could Indians name their daughter with an Urdu name dates back when there was no mark of a Muslim in their vicinity? Also, this character must be imaginary since best to my knowledge, Ram had no Rakhi sister.

2) The use of word Dada for elder brother looked quite perky when it comes to picturesque of Sanskrit speaking society. 

3) Although they do not take the name of Krishna but often mention about Dwarka and the Yadav clan having existed decades back, which is confusing, since it is believed that Ram existed prior to Krishna and that Krishna is the last incarnation of Vishnu as yet.

My expectations from the subsequent books in the series would be -
1) How the story unfolds whence Amish's Sita unleashes her power in front of the demon Raavan (and not the abla-naari awaiting and solely relying on her husband to rescue her)

2) How Amish's Ram Chandra shapes the Meluhan way of living for the "Immortals of Meluha", and I believe this will come when Ram rules the throne of Ayodhya, and in turn, the Sapt Sindhu.

My verdict- It's a simple yet refreshing read for the contemporary generation. I rate it 4 on 5.

This book is special for me because it came as a birthday gift and won me a chance to meet Amish via Flipkart editors (which, unfortunately I could not avail).

(PS: the reviews expressed here are based on my personal reading experience, and do not intend to defame, derate or 
degrade the sale or vice-versa for the book. I am not paid for writing the review.)

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