20 August 2010

Mythical Fiction: Gods or Heroes

Historical fiction is a popular genre.. and Mythical fiction comes a step further.. with one glorifying the recent heroes and the other the past ones… The legends of the past are recreated.. Gods are humanized and traditions are questioned… In fact such books need to be treated very sensitively what if it offends the moral police.. 

Gods, Saints or Heroes
‘The Immortals of Meluha’ is a book which questions the basic fundamental of Hindu Religion that whether Shiva, Ram, Vishnu, Krishna were Gods, incarnations of Gods or were they Great Kings and powerful warriors. Did God take birth in human form or people glorified them and their teachings to equate them to the all mighty? Were the Rakshas or the Asuras ordinary human beings living as tribal or vagabonds and not in an idealistic, conformist or moralistic society of the Great kingdoms of Ramayana & Mahabharata, hence terming them as demons? These so called devils  lost their lives in the wars against the Great Kings and hence it was termed as victory of Good over evil? Don’t we see that in today’s wars where it’s always my side is right & yours wrong, the wars over river water, land divisions, power & supremacy? The same issues of today plagued the kingdoms of the Gods… the dilemmas which face us bothered the Gods too… They were humans who stood up to lead the others, set examples, won people’s faith and mesmerized the world.
Mythical stories are very popular in India. As a child I read them in Chanda Mama, watched them on TV & Cinema. like Vikram and Baital, Seehansan Battissi They were quoted to us as children by our elders or narrated during the Katha recitation of Ramayan or Bhagwad Geeta, but they still leave me craving for more... Even today if there is a new version of Vikram and Baital played on TV, I can’t get my eyes off it. Infact I remember most of the stories and still love to see them unfold in front of my eyes... These stories were part of syllabus in School, and each story had a moral tagged to it.. ensuring us to learn these to be better people and get a guaranteed seat at Swarga post death.


Fiction over Myth i.e Fiction to the power of infinity
We all love fantasies, heroes and superhuman powers and the mythical fiction have it all, plus the religious tinge to it which gives full sanction of parents… Recently there has been a spate of Cartoons & movies on Mythical characters of Hanuman, Ganesha, Bheem, etc. They look cute in their child Avatars and get the kids off the foreign dose of Superman and Shinchams.. after all the local heroes imbibe the Indian values & uphold the traditions.


Well ‘The Immortal of Meluha’ does the same but for the adults.. like Jesus and Mary story was used in ‘Da Vinci Code’ or the Greek Gods and their multiple myths. Without revealing too much I would say it traces the journey of Shiva beautifully from being just a tribal to becoming a Mahadeva . Even other related characters of Ram, Nandi, Sati, Daksha, Brahma are neatly placed and the subjects of Caste system, old cities of Harappa & Mohenjo-Daro, creation of Trishula, and the cry of ‘Har Har Mahadeva’ are explicitly weaved in, only leaving you asking for more…


And not to worry Amish has a trilogy to meet your appetite and keep you hooked till the next ones hit the market...

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