Category Archives: historic

An Asokan Quest.


the mahabharat secretThe Mahabharata Secret.

ISBN                      978-93-83202-31-7

Publishers           Om Books International.

The book   The Mahabharata secret is a fiction. Set in contemporary thriller format

Occult-lore talks of brethren of nine secret men created by the great Mauryan emperor Asoka. They were the keepers of the knowledge that could destroy mankind. The lore’s have it eminent scientists like Jagadishchandra Bose and Vikram Sarabhai were part of the nine. Reminds one of the

The story opens with a prologue in the Mauryan period the emperor and his lieutenant protect the dark secret of Mahabharata.

The story then moves to contemporary period, and the treasure hunt for the hidden begins with the death of Vikram Singh the last of the nine. The events of unrevealing this quest are spread over 12 days begins at a royal residence in Jaungarh if it is related to the junagarh was founded in by the Mauryans and is rich in Buddhist heritage artefacts.  A nuclear scientist is killed, his last message to his nephew, forces the nephew on a quest to discover the secret guarded by nine.

The story travels a geographic terrain from the Bamiyan Buddha’s to Barbar caves in Bihar. From 244 BC to current day in time. A conspiracy theory involves a Rajput king turned politician, Bheem Singh, an American Vice President, a European power gatherer, a Taliban scientist on one end and the Intelligence Bureau on the other, both nudging and manipulating the protagonist Vijay Singh, and his companions through the quest.

The quest in itself is like a very childish treasure hunt which most of us can see through. He presents potential suspects pretty well. The uses Mauryan history and archaeology extensively. Though I am skeptic  Mauryan edifice in Kharoshthi which is a later Magahi dialect unlike the Magahi used during the Mauryan times.

The occult lore has it that there is a mountain that bestows knowledge if one meditated on it, the author explains it by placing  subaltern library there.  The concept of sathya and Mithya from the Bhagawat Gita where there is illusion, and truth and most people who cannot see beyond the inscribed words stay ignorant of the knowledge that it imparts or even the information that the inscription hands.

Over all a fairly good book, not unputdownable yet fairly interesting. It would entice an inquisitive reader to set on a less traversed journey of Indian history and Indian sacred lore. Like priory Sion, and illuminati keepers of knowledge in other traditions. The forgotten trail of Asokan edicts are well mapped.

About The Author:          http://www.christophercdoyle.com

The Forgotten Treasures of India.


treasure of kafurThe treasure of Kafur.

Title:                      The Treasure of Kafur

Author:                                Aroon Raman,

Publisher             Panmacmillan.co.in

ISBN 978-9-382-61612-2

 

Most Indian Historic novels are rooted in the Mogul history. At the most they stories from the Rajput kitty. Other kingdoms and their stories are forgotten.

The kings, their Hindu subjects, are acknowledged the Jains and Buddhists forming other communities of the secular pre-raj India remain vastly forgotten. Knowingly or unknowingly Aroon Raman has evoked the memory of a forgotten secular pre-mogul, pre-British India. Where Buddhism and Jainism were religions to reckon with and not mere appendages of Hinduism. The protagonist is deeply inspired by the Buddha.

Here is a writer that acknowledges that there were kingdoms south of Vindhya’s that were rich, vibrant and looted by kings before the Moguls.

The story opens with a prologue of Malik Kafur looting the south hiding the cache for a future date in the forest of Jetavana; this is observed by a Tortoise.

The current story is the story of Datta, the last keeper of the secret of the treasure of Malik Kafur, who learns this from his grandmother Ambu. The wealth is coveted by Baig, for it would fund his army against Akbar.

 

The author claims this is a piece of fiction supported by research for the characters, which is pretty evident  in Mann Singh the Rajput  vassal of Akbar, Rana Pratap, Inayat Khan, his son Dilawar  the Taarak Tantric, all from the Mogul period. The author Aroon has set the story against the back drop of Asif Baig trying to wrench the Kingdom from Akbar.

The hero Datta has empathy with birds and can communicate with them as he can with the animals, he is the child of nature. This is presented in such a matter of fact way, it is refreshing. His friendship with the Dilawar the son of Inayat Khan and the Princess of Amber very beautifully brought out.

 

Sheherzade the exotic bird guide gifted by the Sufi saint Aulia. Emperor Akbar is here is a listener, wise, street smart, adventure seeker and risk taker.

 

The book is well written fast paced clean language with just the required amount of  spice without being a boring gossiping narrative.  A definite skill that I would like to acknowledge in Aroon, which I have experienced in very few contemporary writers is, his ability to ensure that the visual created is on par with the era that they are talking about. This is that  something that takes him out of the platform of mundane to the cadre of Indu Sundaresan, Anand Neelakantan, Krishna Udayshankar, and Ashwin Sanghi. Please note that Amish Tripati is not included in this elite.

 

Definitely enjoyed book and looking forward to more from this author.

 

About the author:Aroon Raman is a Bengaluru based author, his research and innovation company works in material science he has won critical acclaim for developing scientific talent in the grass root level. To know more please  visit http://www.aroonraman.com

The quest For the Syamantaka


the krishna keyThe Krishna Key

Author: Ashwin Sanghi

Publisher: Westland Ltd.

ISBN: 978-93-81626-68-9

From the writer of Chants of Chankya.

The book is about the quest of the mythical Symanthaka gem of the Mahabharata times. The books uses the flexibility of Sanskrit language and the ekam saddah, vipro bahuda vidante that is the truth is one, but scholars interpret differently in great versatility.

The various thoughts and historical debates on Krishna are well used.

The author rightly points the absence of Radha in Bhagawatam and claims she makes an entry in the Gauda sampradaya, however, Radha debutes in the Hindu faith as Nalla Pennu in Sangama literature; she evolves to a deified icon with Jayadeva Geeta Govinda. Incidentally the evidence of Gautama Siddhartha being the Buddha also debuts through the poetry of Jayadeva.

Another interesting word play Ashwin uses is the Gau- in Sanskrit, by the way Ashwin Gaurakshakestra, is not the root for Goa, but Gaumantaka Kshetra was.

The Star of David, the shadkoni, the two equilateral triangles placed one over the other in opposite direction, the ultimate truth of the universe, the ultimate creative energy, the fusion of male and female, Shiva and Shakti. If Dan Brown revolved the quest for the Grail round this, Ashwin has made this one of the key’s to find the Symanthaka.

However the promised Kalki, the poor little rich boy remains in the background without much of presence as a character.

Excerpts from Mahabharata, is an interesting lead, though misleading most of the times.

Over all a great reading. I had enjoyed chants of chankya, I like this too, and the author’s story telling craft had definitely improved. However Mr.Sanghvi, physicists are comfortable with philosophy and mythology, but Historians are not equipped to deal with the research protocol of genetics and physics.

About the author: Ashwin Sanghi is a Mumbai based entrepreneur by profession but writes historical fiction in the thriller genre. He has had his education in Mumbai and holds a master’s degree from Yale. He is currently working on his PhD. Website. http://www.sanghi.in.

 

Chanakya’s chants


Chanakya’s chants
Author: Ashwin Sanghi
Publisher: Westland ltd.
ISBN 978-93-80658-67-4
The author Ashwin Sanghi, an entrepreneur by profession, publishes this novel in his own name unlike his first The Rozabal Line which was published under a pseudonym Shawn Haigins.
The books swings in time between the Chankyan Era and Modern India politically. He draws parallels in between the lives of the modern-day King maker Gangaprasad and the ancient Chanakya Vishnugupta.
The book is fairly interesting, though the author is not able to linguistically create the swing in time. He has Gangaprasad’s protégée Chandini Gupta to match Chanakya’s Chandragupta. The twist being a romantic angle of Chanakya who lands up being Rakshas mistress her curse will allow the chant of Chankya to succeed only if the protégée is a woman. He also attributes the success of chanakya to his Shakti mantra.
What I now do is a taboo, but after the refined time swing of Asoka era by Amita Kanekar the book seems a little crude.
An interesting book to borrow and read.

A spoke in the wheel


A SPOKE IN THE WHEEL
Author: Amita Kanekar
Publisher HarperCollins India.
ISBN 81-7223-574-7
Genre Historic Novel.
Amita Kanekar a teacher of archaeological history and comparative mythology narrates a tale of the Buddha. Like the traditional Indian storytelling, it is metatheaterical in character where the story of the Buddha is revealed through the story of his biographer to be Upali. Upali is a Monk of the turbulent post Kalinga Maurya Empire he envisions the degeneration of the Aryravarta during the period of Gautama Siddhartha who came to be known as the Gautama Buddha or the Shakyamuni.
My own experience was that there seems a vague parallel between the current social health and the periods of the Shakyamuni and Asoka Maurya which could explain the revival of Buddhism. This of course is a very personal observation.
A very interesting read though the pace might have been a little more upbeat if the period of Upali and Asoka Maurya was in active tense.
Looking forward to Kanekar’s next novel.

a spoke in the wheel