Book review | The Hidden Hindu by Akshat Gupta
Author: Akshat Gupta
Genre: Mythological fiction, science fiction
No. of pages: 187
Published by: Genee Publishing
Published on: 2nd April 2020
My rating: ★★★☆☆
Prithvi, a cryptic 21-year-old who remembers incidents from before his birth, is in pursuit of a mysterious middle-aged Aghori (Shiva devotee) who was tracked for more than 200 years before being captured and transported to a high-tech facility on an isolated island of India. When drugged and hypnotized for the interrogation by a team of 6 specialists, the Aghori had claimed to have witnessed all four Yugas (the epochs in Hinduism) and to even have participated in both Ramayana and Mahabharata. Prithvi recalls the name of this otherworldly man. Om Shastri. Throughout the interrogation, Om’s revelations of his incredible past, puzzling the very nature of mortality, had left the entire team baffled. The team had also discovered that Om had been in search of the other immortals declared in every Yuga, along with all other bizarre secrets that could alter the myths of ancient, beliefs of the present and course of the future. Who is Om Shastri? Why had he been captured? How can Prithvi recap the series of events that took place before his existence? Why is he searching for Om? Board the boat of Om Shastri’s secrecies, Prithvi’s pursuit, and secrets of other enigmatic immortals of the Hindu mythology in the lightning-paced journey.
This book is the first part of a trilogy. This part is set in the year 2041 and follows Om Shashtri, an aghori, who has claimed that he has been alive during all the four Yugas of Hinduism. This mysterious person has been sedated and kept inside a high tech facility in a secluded Island in Southern India. As he is being interrogated by a team of 6 specialists, they discover frightening truths about the mysterious man. He is on a mission to find the seven immortals of Hinduism and he claims to have multiple identities from different timelines. While he was Chanakya in one of the many timelines, he was Subhas Chandra Bose in another.
Meanwhile, Prithvi, a 21 year old is confused as to why he remembers events from 2020 - a year before his birth. He is on a mission to find out the circumstances revolving his existence. As the events in the book progresses, the aghori and Prithvi comes closer to the truth. What is the secret behind this aghori? How will they find the other immortals?
For the major part of this book, it's just the Six scientists interrogating Om Shastri - the mysterious Aghori. Om Shastri has a lot of identities - he has lived the lives of some of the major figures in Indian history. From Shushen - the vedic doctor who saved Lord Rama's brother Lakshman, to Subhas Chandra Bose - the brave Indian freedom fighter, Om Shastri has lived all these lives. And the specialists interrogating Om Shastri throw in a lot of facts and theories revolving these famous and infamous figures. Though these were really interesting to read, at times it became a overbearing. And this interrogation continues for more than half of the book. These random theories could have been subtly introduced at different times in the plot, not dumped altogether at once.
I liked the mythological part of the book. I got to know about some of the most revelling theories that exist in Hindu mythology and about the 4 Yugas. But I felt that the science fiction part was lacking. Hopefully, we might get to see that part in the later books of the trilogy.
The book is fast paced and not too descriptive. The paragraphs are short, making the book seem like a light read. The dialogues are written in a crisp manner. There's this air of mystery and suspense that hangs from the first page itself making the book a thrilling read. The book definitely has a lot of scope if the story was executed properly. The information dump was clumped at one place which didn't sit right with me.
I received a copy of the book in exchange of an honest and unbiased review.