Shiva. Lord Shiva. The Destroyer. One of the Hindu Trinity. Mahadev. Nataraja. Husband of Parvati or Sati. The Supreme Yogi.
Most Indians, and certainly all Hindus, know Shiva in all these forms and then some more. For millions he is a revered God, an ishta devta, worshipped in his myriad forms. Probably, that’s why many of his devotees do not think of Shiva’s origins — perhaps, the fact that Shiva is a God and is, therefore, eternal inhibits them from thinking about his beginnings.
The author of The Immortals of Meluha (Westland, pp.412, Rs.195), Amish, has no such inhibitions. The first book in the Shiva Trilogy, it introduces Shiva as an ordinary human being with an extraordinary destiny in store for him. A destiny which makes him a saviour and a god, and whose arrival has been prophesied in an ancient legend.
It is the year 1900 BC in the area that the world today knows as the site of the Indus Valley Civilisation. But the people living there at that time call it Meluha, a near-perfect, disciplined society that lives by the rules laid down by Lord Rama himself. A caste-based society where every member’s place is determined not by birth, but by his/her abilities.
A society that is almost immortal due to the availability of somras, an anti-ageing potion, for all its members. This is the society of the Suryavanshis or descendents of the sun.