River Ganga has been flowing ever since we know. From our great great great grandfathers to our fathers and now us and our children, everyone has seen it, though who saw it last in its former mighty form is unclear as well as for how long we’ll be seeing it.
Water undoubtedly is an essential natural resource in the world. It is the life-giving element that separates us from the other planets in our milky way. Although we haven’t yet realized the enormity of the dire situation we are in due to the massive degradation of our water bodies, we at least must start to acknowledge it as a problem.
Ganga, Truth Unrevealed by Sanjay Bapat is a mythological fiction that takes up the episode of Bhagirath bringing down the sacred River Ganga and tells it in an unorthodox fashion.
It’s been years since the rains have fallen, and the kingdom of Ishkvaku is facing severe drought. Worst case scenario? If it continues, the whole of the plains may perish. King Sagar is an old man and is helpless to do anything for his people. Handing over the reins to his grandson Anshuman, he retires. He takes it upon himself to find a solution for nature’s wrath that has hit them. His resolve takes him and his men to the north in search of a mythical wall, known to be a mystery, and the tribe of Mahadeva. Simultaneously, the acting kings of kingdoms that King Sagar had conquered revolt against the appointment of Anshuman as the new emperor.
With trouble brewing up in the realm and the imminent threat of war, will Anshuman be able to save the lives of his people? Will, he able to complete what he has undertaken and put everyone out of the misery that has befallen them?
When I decided to take this book up, I was excited since it would have been my first mythological fiction on River Ganga. Amidst the ocean of books on popular characters in this genre, a story on our revered river seemed like a freshwater waterfall on a sunny day. But then, yes, here comes my but again, it turned out to be one of those books which have been published without a first glance, let alone second, with simply no editing. It was only my sheer curiosity that made me read this book, which is actually not even the least bit polished to be called a first draft. From grammar and language to narration and its flow, everything was off and discouraging. The kind of words used was absolutely unsuitable for the era in which the story is set. For example, a king from the mythological era wouldn’t have called his ministers as “Guys” and the prince wouldn’t call his parents as “Mom” and “Dad”! The narration in the third person was going okay in the beginning, but it made no sense later when it started changing course along with tenses, which kept shifting between past and present. The flow of the story was confusing, the timelines felt mixed up and it was difficult to catch up with all the action that was happening in the multiple areas. The narration wasn’t gripping, it kept losing control at times. Also, the pace with which the story was moving sped up after around a third of the complete book, and by the end, it was traveling at the speed of light. And, I wouldn’t even comment on the grammar.
The story was intriguing. Putting together a modernized view of something that’s always been traditional is always good to read. The author has done a good job of thinking up a scientific explanation for a mythological episode from ancient times and the set up as well. The characters were quite well built, could have done without a few of them, which were unnecessarily adding to the bulk, and kept the story from branching out too much. With all its flaws, it took a lot of self-motivation to keep on moving forward just for the sake of the story, and also because of the commitment to review was to be honored.
Did the story click? Yes. Did the book as a whole appeal? No. Is it worth a read? Definitely, only if the author decides to re-publish it after rigorous editing and change of narration style.