Thursday, March 23, 2017

Scion of Ishvaku - review

I don’t remember the last time I read a novel and got angry. Well, there is always a first for everything and “Scion of Ishvaku” by Amish takes the credit. This is the same guy who came up with the “Meluha” trilogy, loosely based on Shiva Puranam and specifically around how Shiva avenges the death of Sati his wife. Though he can claim literary license, he had simply re-written the puranam in local tongue, making Lord Ganesh and Kali look like mutants and Lord Karthikeya as a battle hardened boy. Though it was a rehashed version of the purana there was a sense of respect for the underlying characters as they are all worshipped as gods in real time. That respect is the single biggest victim in this book.

The series was touted as upgraded version of Ramayana. The very first chapter of the book demolishes any notions on any similarity it may carry to the “Meluhan” series. The story varies 180 degress from Ramayana at times, probably borrowing heavily from every folk form of the epic available, with the first battle scene between Dasarath and Ravan setting the tone. There were few interesting changes to the chraracterisation that might pour petrol on already stoked passions, where Rama is shown as a non-veg eating person. Not just him, the entire clan feasts on meat. How much ever this attracts criticism and probably threats considering, I feel it makes logical sense going by his description of a Kshatriya and warrior prince. That logical link apart, rest of the story was all utter non-sense with no semblance of a coherent script. It felt as if the author took a real long break between each chapters and forgot the flow!! There were so many jumps and sequence mismatches that it felt neither like an adaptation of the epic nor original.

To me the ultimate sacrilege to the story was the inclusion of “Nirbhaya” episode and how Rama would’ve handled it. That was the worst thing that could’ve been ever fathomed and linked to what is supposedly a sacred book for many. Again, had the novel been true to itself as a mere story resembling Ramayana, it may not have been much felt and would’ve even worked in its favor. But every single scene borrowed literally from the book and with every character even retaining the same name and characterization, it felt nothing short of blasphemy. The first part of the supposed trilogy(?) end with Ravan abducting Sita, who follows Ram into his self imposed exile as punishment for using mass destruction weapons on the war against Ravan, who attacks Mithila to abduct Sita. That’s right. Ram vs Ravan begins right after their wedding itself and even before that on the day Ram was born, Ravan defeats Dasarath mortally injuring him. The story goes back and forth with no proper sequence and there is nothing that holds the interest to await the next part. What was excruciating was that he mentions Tamil nadu as sangam Tamil, with even understanding the difference between an era and a land area. Total pissoff.

Gils verdict – when I got the book from library, my wife, being a Ramayana buff, took the book to her eyes in respect. She has done a bit of research on Ramayana and has even received appreciation letter from our former president APJK, encouraging her work. Wonder how many pieces this book would’ve gone into had she read it J This book is a strict no for anyone who is a devotee and definite no for anyone wanting to try a novel.

1 comment:

Vincy said...

You are an inspiration for me to read. I need to desperately get back to my reading habit.