It’s not every day that I come across such a bundle of happiness. This book released on the 20th of June and I had in my hands by the 23rd. A respite from quarantine you may call it. For those of you who aren’t already aware, this book is the product of the immense hard work of the writer’s club and the one and only, Amish. And if you were wondering if this was worth your buck, let’s go!
A Forgotten Hero. An Unforgettable Battle. India, 1025 AD. Repeated attacks by Mahmud of Ghazni and his barbaric Turkic hordes have weakened India’s northern regions. The invaders lay waste to vast swathes of the subcontinent plundering, killing, raping, pillaging. Many of the old Indian kingdoms, tired and divided, fall to them. Those who do fight, battle with old codes of chivalry and are unable to stop the savage Turkic army which repeatedly breaks all rules to win.
Then the Turks raid and destroy one of the holiest temples in the land: the magnificent Lord Shiva temple at Somnath. At this most desperate of times, a warrior rises to defend the nation. King Suheldev. The ruler of a small kingdom, he sees what must be done for his motherland, and is willing to sacrifice his all for it. A fierce rebel. A charismatic leader. An inclusive patriot.
I would be lying if I said this was the same level of legendary as the Shiva or Ram series. Because it isn’t. Yet, it is one of the most carefully crafted books I’ve ever read. It definitely wasn’t as thrilling as his other books but man, this hit a different note altogether in my heart.
One of the major reasons Amish is so endeared is because of his skill of writing dry religious scripts and tales in almost intimate and perceptive terms. And this book almost beat the others in its own way. Legend of Suheldev is a story, a story of India’s victory over its barbarian intruders, a story that her children have forgotten. Until today.
This book showed me that problems of religion, caste and creed faced by modern-day Indians date back to the 11th century. Who would have ever guessed? Our country is atomised into narrow, grime-filled lanes of religious differences, so much so that people are ready to die protecting “their God” but not their motherland. The fight for women’s rights is another proof of how advanced our ancestors were and it is rightly shown so in this book.
The character of Suheldev was emphasised on profusely; his morality, his insistence to stick to his karma, his valour and his shrewd mind, all of these were showcased with stirring language and a phenomenal writing style. This book is more focused on the national awakening that took place at that time than on the development of sub-plots of various characters. And of course, we have the quintessential Amish styled thrills and spills throughout this glorious novel.
About 3 quarters into the books, the pace slowed down drastically, this was, I assume, to bring out the patriotism among us all. But this had quite an anti-climatic effect that didn’t go down well with many. But, to be honest, I was fine with it. Though one or two twists in the plot were obvious, the overall book kept me thinking for a long time.
If you were to pick up this book purely based on the merit of Amish’s other books, please don’t do so, You’d only disappoint yourself. But if you are genuinely curious about rediscovering the tumultuous times our ancestors had to face, go ahead! In contemporary India, each decade carries the face of a moral crisis and I firmly believe that this book gives us the mindset we were lacking.