When angels fear to tread- demons appear in the clout of angels.
What is religion? It’s debatable- no doubt. To an atheist it is the opium of the people. To a philosopher it is the expression of a man in the solitude, and the way of valuing most comprehensively and intensively. To a man like me it is the frescos of Ajanta, the choir song at churches or the unbelievable architecture of the Jama Masjid. Or to a common man- a god fearing man, religion is a set of tradition, faiths and customs.
And when the common man is chained by the customs, faith and traditions deliberately created by the propagators of religious practices on earth ,it really becomes the opium of the commoner. History is the witness- that through the ages when state power has messed up with the so called propagators of god- the plight of the people reached its zenith! When there is absolute power at the hands of those who demands that they have divine orders- it corrupts absolutely. It may be the saga of old, medieval or modern world- the picture remains the same.
In this backdrop let us take glimpses of an appealing story- the story of sacrifice of a mother to the lust of one of those so called ‘ sons of god’ , her indomitable attitude to save her daughter from that demon in the clout of an angel . ‘ The Pparahan Oracle’ by I.J. Roy is the story of the relentless struggle of an individual against the society and the all prevailing religious institutions- set up in the backdrop of the forgotten days of the ancient India. It is my estimate that the storyline dates back to the days of Indus valley civilization when there is a well developed city state was in vogue and direct trade links were established with countries- near and far away!
They called their lands Givenland- as because they are very proud of their origin. And they should be- because the city state bore the signature of a rich cultural, ethnic and technological identity. Let us take a sneak peak from the description of the city
“In Pparahan, except for the Baths, granaries and a few other communal buildings, all the houses were built on similar sized plots. Each block created by the streets was divided into twenty –five plots, with narrow lanes leading to the inner houses. The only exceptions were the plots enclosed by the central streets. These plots were two and a quarter times the size of the other plots. A few of them were occupied by the High priests and Dassas, but most of them by young families, who had to keep ready two of their rooms for children whose family had taken ill and had been quarantined.”
You must be trying to visualize this society and thinking what a developed technology and social structure- what a planned way of establishing social order and justice. Well-you are wrong, horribly wrong.
Things were not so smooth in those days-just like today. Let us come to our story.
Beautiful Zayyaa- the snow white girl was not a native of the Pparaha. There are rumours that she and her father had migrated from Darromohe-another city of the Givenland. One day, she has encountered a youth-
“The moment she saw the youth smiling, Zayaa started blushing. Looking around she saw that his smile seemed to be affecting everyone. Now she looked at the youth with new interest. When she saw the youth’s soft but intelligent and kind but confident eyes, still fixed on the little girl, she became irrationally jealous and it was exactly then that she had fallen in love with him.”
Isn’t it a lovely piece of narration to describe the advent of first spring into the minds of an innocent girl. And smooth it was indeed, like a cakewalk she had married her prince charming- the man of her dream –Vyaan. But she was soon to realize that in the mortal world nightmares do coexist with dreams.
At their marriage ceremony- rituals were performed by none other than the chief High Priest Apaan- and the newly wedded couple were too innocent to fathom what a deadly plan was playing through his devilish head after first seeing Zayaa.
And one day
…and two days after Vyaan had left, two High Priests came over to Zayaa’s house…..
‘Great tidings, indeed.’ the other High Priest repeated and shouted out to the neighbourhood, ‘the gods have spoken. The daughter of this house, Zayaa, shall be a Daasa. Praise be to Zaaya, our new Daasa.”
According to the chief High Priest the girl is destinated to be the servant of god. Considering the social fabric of those days, it was a prestige. The why her father protested unto the last?
He had to give up – considering the reason in mind of leaving his native city and the girl had to face the inevitable. It was a long journey to the once innocent girl- long journey of slow death of her soul in the clout of divinity.
So when she saw that the same fate is awaiting her little girl Tiraa and that too from her tormentor- she became determined to avert it.
but will it be so easy to fight back against the all prevailing priestdom? (It is a new word I have used-consciously. only if you read the story you will realize.)
it is a quest- full of surprises all the way- a quest of a father an d a daughter in search of a safe haven- a quest of a man from a far away land in search of white gods- a quest of twin brothers who have fought a crusade for the sole purpose of fulfilling the dreams of others. It is the struggle against the tyranny- a fight against a brutal system that threatens the human dignity in the name of god.
The writer has created many characters in the story who have propelled the pace of the narration. Extensive research works have been done to make the story a true reflection of the 2000 century B.C. and the positive point is that in spite of being a historical novel- the storyline will never let you breathe slowly- always you will find your anxiety increasing , pulse rate increasing- just to know what will happen next. And yes-it is not a Dan Brown thriller-it is a historical novel- yet having all ingredients to be a thriller.)
Wondering what will happen to the tormentor-well read the novel.
To know whether the sword of Nemesis can strike the powerful?
Will justice prevail?
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