The Legend of Suheldev: The King Who Saved India traces the journey of an 11th-century unsung hero, who united all the Indians against the foreign invaders for the love of motherland. This fascinating account of the inspirational prince is an interesting mix of fiction and history.
This is the eighth book by the acclaimed author Amish Tripathi and the first book from the Immortal Writers’ Centre, a team of writers who jointly conduct the research according to the given guidelines and compose the first draft while Amish did the editing and wrote the final draft. This book is adapted into an eponymous film directed by Senthil Kumar and produced by Wakaoo Films, Casa Media & Immortal Studios.
Inspiration / The Impulse
Amish Tripathi is a contemporary Indian fiction writer best known for writing the Shiva Trilogy. As far as I’m concerned, his debut book- ‘The Immortals of Meluha’ is the reason I keep on waiting for all his new releases. To be honest, until now, I could not find any of his other books touching the benchmark that he had set through Meluha. This doesn’t mean that his other books are any less but the magic that Meluha created is yet to be matched. Actually, his debut book was a game changer for Indian fiction. The concept was totally fresh and exciting and like many others, I also became a fan of his writing. So, it was compulsory for me to read this new book by Amish. One more reason to read this book was, when I heard about its announcement while waiting for the fourth book of the Ramchandra series, I had no idea about who Suheldev was. Then I did a little googling and found that his statue was unveiled in Bahraich by Shri Amit Shah ji and that he was a legendary warrior king from Shravasti who defeated the barbaric Ghaznavid General Ghazi Saiyyad Salar Masud at Bahraich in 1034 CE. In our school times, we have mostly read about the invaders and the invasions but warriors like king Suheldev were never brought to the limelight, which is a very sad aspect of our current education system. So, this title itself was enough to arouse my curiosity in this book. Now let’s move to the next section to explore more.
Darkness does not win because it is strong. It wins because the lamps stop fighting.
Synopsis - The Legend of Suheldev
This is the story of a king and his efforts to unite the entire nation for the sake of the love for motherland, to fight against the barbarian Turks. His name was Suheldev, the prince of Shravasti. The time is 1025 CE and Mehmud of Ghazni and his barbarian hordes were invading India from the northern region. The invaders wreaked havoc in the name of war; plundering, pillaging, raping, killing and what not the people of India had faced. Because of the infighting within the country, many old kingdoms fell apart or chose to surrender to the Turks. Those who fought with them, adhering to the old codes of war, were wiped out from the map. This barbarian army broke all rules to win the war. But when the Turks raid and destroy one of the holiest temples in the land, the Lord Shiva temple at Somnath, a bandit prince rises to defend the nation- Suheldev. His brother Malladev died trying to save the temple.
You have it in you, Suhel. I know you can do it. Fight for me. Fight for Lord Shiva. Fight for the great land that cradles us. Fight for Mother India.
A fierce rebel who was ready to sacrifice everything for his motherland, broke the barriers of caste, religion, gender; united the divided people of India and its kingdoms and led a confederacy of 21 kings to fight against the barbaric Turks and save the motherland India and its rich culture.
India will remain secure only if there are enough men who choose India over everything else. And I mean everything else. If I have to choose between my religion and India, I will choose India. Every. Single. Time. As long as there are enough Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Muslims and Christians who think like that, our country will be safe.
The extreme patriotism displayed by the protagonist is the focal point of this novel. Other characters like Govardhan, Ashwaghosh, Abdul, Toshani, and Sanghamani are also great warriors playing an important part in building the story. Overall it is a great story about a patriotic king who became the reason to halt the foreign conquest of India for about a century.
Come to India as devotees, and our motherland will open her heart for you. Dare to come as invaders, and we will burn every single one of you.
Major takeaway from this book is that everything is inferior in front of the love for motherland and second is- where there is unity, there is always victory.
What I liked
The thing I liked most about the book is that it introduced us to a brave unsung hero who united the entire nation to fight against the Turk invaders. Though it is a fictional account of king Suheldev, yet it gives a vivid idea about the valour and vision of the magnificent king and portrays the depth of his patriotism beautifully. The plot is well crafted and wisely written. Writing is smooth and is easy to grasp. The war scenes are beautifully drafted. Some philosophical insights are also beautifully portrayed through the conversations between the characters, like the violence and non- violence debate or the religion and patriotism debate. The book also advocates communal harmony which is need of the hour in India. Amish has kept the entertainment quotient of this book very high by maintaining suspense, drama and creating the romance angle as well. Overall, it is a book which can be remembered for many good things, specially as a story of a brave heart unsung hero who loved India and saved India from the invaders.
What I did not like
There are few things which I liked less about this book. The first among those is the adaptation of the legend to suit the current political scenario. The recurring portrayal of secularism seemed unnecessary and motive driven. The next thing that made the story less believable is the modernized conversations between the characters. The language used lacked the feel of that era and the characters also were not developed properly in the story. Last thing, the standard that Amish had set through his debut book, was nowhere matched by this book.
Recommendation - The Legend of Suheldev
Kudos to Amish for choosing such subject for his book which is bound to enlighten the readers about the great legacy Indians have received and make them remember and cherish the sacrifice of all the forgotten warriors who lived for the motherland and died also for the motherland. Leaving few things the book is very good. Can surely give it a try.