Thursday, June 15, 2017

Book Review: The Indus Challenge by Dr. Durgadoss

Name of the Book: The Indus Challenge
Author: Dr. R. Durgadoss
Star Rating: 4 stars 
Goodreads: Read the Blurb here 

It's a war zone:
When the title of a book is "The Indus Challenge' how can a mythological lover like me not pick it up? One cannot help but stare at the image of the book, wondering how much a war will influence the characters in this one. None of us are ignorant to the bloody times of the Mahabharata Period, where every character seemed to be born to play a role in the war.

The young lad who set an example of determination:
We have heard about Abhimanyu's spearing through the Chakravyuh but none of us can ever imagine how a chakravuyuh looked like.

Dr. Durgadoss showed it to us. By an illustration which is like a maze- a very difficult one at that. I even tried to trace lines to reach the ends of the maze. It's not easy. One must see the diagram to see what I am talking about. It made me close the book and think about the young lad who knew how to enter this "chakra" and entered it knowing well that he might not be able to come out of it. Our ancestors had guts, no doubt about that.

The Bold and the Beautiful
One story that fascinated me was that of Rudra and Swastika. His bravery and her boldness were complimenting each other. And I had never heard of this story before. Reading a modern day mythology is like hearing stories from the past in a new packaging. But Dr. Durgadoss has brought in new anecdotes which are very interesting. I suppose watching the serial Chandra Nandini made me visualize it more. Hailing from the land of the Mauryans, I was always fascinated by Chandragupta's story. He was my first historical love affair anyway.

But it has been always been from the Royal's POV. This was the first time I was standing along with the characters outside the palace and watching history unfolding.

Swastika, even from poison we extract nectar, we wash and take back gold if it has fallen in filth, receive the highest knowledge from a lowborn person; so also is a girl who possesses virtuous qualities, even if she is born in a disreputable family.
The Storyteller:
The author lets us travel across time using narratives and stories of the great men of those days. Many anecdotes surprised me. Draupadi asked to sleep with a horse - which she refused but instead put a bindi on the horse as a symbol of completion of the ritual. It was not her sleeping with the horse that surprised me - our ancient culture does not surprise me anymore. Sometimes I feel, symbolism has been twisted as the stories were mostly word of mouth. But what surprised me was the women of India - be it Draupadi or Swastika were bold and knew what they wanted. When Swastika's uncle wanted to marry her, he could have just forced her to marry but still, her consent was necessary. So when did women are the weaker sex syndrome start?

As mentioned above, we have many more philosophies and code of conducts discussed in this book. Some of them even surprised me to think they date back to such an extent. This is no doubt a very well researched book.

The language of the book:
The author has kept the tone of the book a bit archaic. It can be due to the subject, I don't know. It has a soothing quality - a narration, every mytho lover would love to go on and on. Some of you might find it a tad old fashioned but once you get used to it, believe me, this book is something one must read to get a glimpse of our ancient culture, where science, art, politics, and economics were not mere subjects, but a way of life.

My views:
I enjoyed reading this book. I think the story of Rudra is very well placed - for it captures a reader's attention from the start. In fact, I hated it when the author diverted from this story. A must read for all historical and mythological lovers.


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