The Immortals of Meluha is the first novel of the Shiva trilogy series by Amish Tripathi. The story is set in the land of Meluha and starts with the arrival of the Tibetan tribal Shiva. The Meluhan belief that Shiva is their fabled saviour Neelkanth, is confirmed when he consumes the Somras, a legendary healing potion, which turns his throat blue. Shiva decides to help the Meluhans in their war against the Chandravanshis, who had joined forces with a cursed group called Nagas; however, in his journey and the resulting fight that ensues, Shiva learns how his choices actually reflected who he aspires to be and how it led to dire consequences.
A brief plot introduction:
Meluha is a near perfect empire, created many centuries earlier by Lord Ram, one of the greatest kings that ever lived. However, the once proud empire and its Suryavanshi rulers face severe crisis as its primary river, the revered Saraswati, is slowly drying to extinction. They also face devastating terrorist attacks from the east, the land of the Chandravanshis who have joined forces with the Nagas, a cursed race with physical deformities. The present king of Meluha, Daksha, sends his emissaries to North India in Tibet, to invite the tribes that live there to Meluha. One of those invited are the Gunas, whose chief Shiva is a brave warrior and protector. Shiva accepts the proposal and moves to Meluha with his tribe. They reach the city of Srinagar and are received there by Ayurvati, the Chief of Medicine of the Meluhans. Shiva and his tribe are impressed with the Meluhan way of life. On their first night of stay at Srinagar, the Gunas wake up amid high fever and sweating. The Meluhans, under Ayurvati’s orders, carry on the healing process. However, Ayurvati finds out that Shiva is the only one devoid of these symptoms and that his throat has turned blue. The Meluhans announce Shiva as the Neelkanth, their fabled saviour.
From there on, the reader begins to wonder.
- Shiva, a warrior with human emotion and feeling? From the tribe of the gunas?
- Daksha – most impetuous, as the meeting with Emporer Dilipa reveals
- Nandi – a human? My, my, what imagination this author has!
- Sati – well, here’s a woman warrior – although transformed into soppy puppy love
- Vikarma – a belief embedded. Do avatars come to change us?
- Marijuana: hmmm. Indulge to forget? Certainly, our Shiva in this novel is driven by memories of his past; inwardly chased by the kingdom of dreams.
- Good and evil and the balance: every author raises this question. This is a driving force in the quest of our all-too-human Lord Neelakanth. What is evil? Do we agree with the Vasudev, the tribe of Pandits?
There are those who are familiar with the puranas and the legends of Bharath, and read same assidiously. This makes the text all the more intriguing. We will read this book again and provide a more fulsome review.
Shiva the warrior ponders over Devagiri