Finally, I had the opportunity to read this novel, which has been long pending, due to one reason or the other and more of my laziness. Since it was an e-book and I do not have any e-book reader that I can carry around, I was not able to concentrate on the novel while reading on my computer. Finally, last week my wife gifted me a smartphone; I quickly decided to read all the pending e-books, and the first to hit the ball was Trade Winds to Meluhha by Vasant Dave.
Trade Winds to Meluhha has been set in 3rd millennium BC, the same time when Indus Valley Civilization or Harappa Civilization flourished in the region extending from Manda in North to Narmada estuary (Daimabad) in South, from Suktagendor (Baluchistan) in the West to Meerut (Alamgirpur in the East. The novel is set in IVC, Babylon, and Bahrain and most of the scenes are set in IVC and Babylon (Babili in novel). The story is about a young man Samasin, a Sumeru (present Iran was known as Sumer), who witnesses a muder and is later charged for that murder. Story revolves around how he had a narrow escape from death and how he travels from Babili (Babylon), via Bahrain (Dilmun), reached Lothal (Lothalur), and traverses most of the IVC (Meluhha) region in search of a man known as Siwa Saqra to give him the last message from the man whose murder he had witnessed. The story talks about his heroics and romance in Meluhha and Babili.
The author has done justice to the prehistoric setting and has taken ample care to use archaeological evidence available for that time while using them in his novel. At the sametime he has taken creative freedom to derive a story that matches the chord with the readers. The Archaeological evidence suggests that there were trade relations between IVC and Mesopotamia as many seals of IVC have been discovered from Mesopotomian sites. Also, the Mesopotamian records from about the same period in which the novel has been set refer to trade relations with “Meluhha”, which is the ancient name of Indus region. The text also speaks about two intermediate trading stations called Dilmun and Makan identified with Bahrain in the Persian Gulf and MakranCoast or Oman respectively. And the author has used these linkages to establish a trading relationship in his novel as well as the title of the novel itself suggests.
It is always difficult to write a historic novel and given to understand that there are many novels based on history especially Indian history available in the market, this novel stands out from the lot. It has been well researched and does justice to the archaeological evidence available in IVC and other cultures of the same period and literary evidence available from Mesopotamia. Written in a lucid style, novel never seems to lose its continuity – the very reason I completed the e-book on my mobile in a week’s time. There were some spelling mistakes and typographical errors, which I think, can be ignored given the quality of story line produced by one of the creative thinkers. I wish to see more of similar creativity by Vasant Dave. Till then waiting for the sequel to the novel that he has promised in the section, “How this Pre-Historic Novel was Written,” an interesting read in itself.
My rating 5/5. Believe me, it will keep you engaged! :) History will never be as interesting as it is presented in this novel.
P.S.:- I had received the book as a gift from Vasantji in Feb 2012, for nothing in return.