BANGALORE: Dr Shankar Kashyap’s Harappan series is an extraordinary work based on the Indus Valley Civilization during the third millennium BCE. The author has brought to life the Indus Valley civilization and the episodes in Rigveda. He also uses archaeological and historical evidence linking the Harappans with other great civilizations of the time, namely Mesopotamia and Egypt.
Dr Kashyap is a great storyteller and his first book, Harappa: The Lure of Soma is a gripping tale set against the backdrop of an ancient civilization.
Based in 2500 BCE, the book takes you on a fascinating journey across dense forests, ancient rivers, seas, mountains, glaciers, passes, and famous cities. It deals with the daily life of Harappans, the prevailing political climate and the armed conflict between Avestans and the Harappans.
The book chronicles the magnificent achievements of a historical urban populace who were great engineers, doctors, planners, war strategists and dabbled in occult science. Shedding light on their great achievements through a set of imaginary characters, the author shows the victory of good over evil.
At the zenith of its power and prosperity, Harappa is a highly refined urban conglomerate in the Indus Valley, visited by trade caravans and travelers from faraway lands. The city's sense of organization, its mastery of technology, its engineering prowess, economic wellbeing, and above all, its possession of Soma, inevitably draws enemy troops to its door. For the drought-stricken, impoverished neighbors, Harappa is the land of fulfillment and everybody is drawn to it. Indeed Soma is the basis of life, a measure against which the power of a state could be judged. The Soma plant has been the centerpiece of several hymns in the Vedic scriptures. The Vedic people revered it as a god, drank the extract from the stalk of the plant, used the plant for medicinal purposes and magical properties. The Avestan had a similar plant and called it Haoma and their scriptures also revered the plant for its spiritual properties. Soma forms the basis of the first book and how Harappans fight the Avestans for supremacy through knowledge and strategy.
The author tells the unforgettable tale through the eyes of a young doctor Upaas, working in a city hospital. He recounts Harappa's sudden plunge into the frenzy of war. He also recounts how travellers and citizens of this ancient city mingle and his own love story with a migrant. The peaceful society comes under the shadow of a malevolent godman which changes their peaceful life for ever. Secret gatherings and sinister designs set the stage for a bloody, meaningless war.
The book brings ancient characters from scriptures alive. Dr Kashyap takes the readers through the third millennium BCE in India using archaeological and literary evidence along with characters and events from the enormous Vedic corpus and spins a fascinating tale out of it.