The Magicians of Mazda (Bharat Series #7)
Author: Ashwin Sanghi
Published by @harpercollinsin
MRP: Rs. 450/-
“ ‘It is fashionable these days to ignore history in order to preserve the peace between faiths,’ she said. ‘And I am all for peace and interfaith understanding. But that process must start with recognising what happened, not whitewashing it. Forced conversions did happen; destruction of Zoroastrian places of worship did happen. Redeployment of fire temples as mosques did happen. Identification of Zoroastrians as polluted beings, najis, did happen. Transformation of Zoroastrians into beggars by snatching away inheritance rights did happen. The burning of Zoroastrian scriptures did happen. Compulsory humiliation of those paying jizya did happen.’ She ran out of breath.”
It’s been a while since the last Ashwin Sanghi book. The Vault of Vishnu, the previous book in the Bharat series, released in early 2020. All the books in this series so far (apart from the first one, the Rozabal Line) have been based on the Hindu/Indian mythologies. This book is about the Zoroastrians, better known as the Parsi’s, fused with several different topics. A lot of knowledge about the Zoroastrians, their origin, their faith, their exodus, the extreme tortures they faced, the magical properties are discussed. The author wants the reader to consider a 100% of the book as a work of fiction, even though most of the work is very well researched and fact based but some points are tweaked to suit the plots narrative. The author point being that the books in the Bharat series should act as a starting point and the reader should then read further about the topics, and all the references and citations are provided at the end of the book for the same purpose, even the ones that contradict the plot.
Jamshed or “Jim” Dastoor is the founder of the Gemini Cellular Research Center (GCRC). They have made a brilliant discovery that can possibly cure any illness in the world, the Hamzaa Dura. As much as Jim tries to keep Hamzaa Dura a secret, word reaches some very dangerous people that include CEO’s of pharmaceutical conglomerates who feel threatened, the Iranian Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah among others, who believe it to be the Atharvan Star (an object of magical properties that Zarathustra passed down among different family generations) . In an exciting chase that follows Jim , his wife Linda and others through the US, Iran , Afghanistan and India, you’ll learn about several different things about the Zoroastrians among different things.
As compared to his previous works, this one is less thrill and more philosophy, which works for me and I’m not complaining. Don’t get me wrong there’s plenty a thrill here, just that the ratio is a little different in this one. The juxta positioning between the plight of the Zoroastrians and those of the Kashmiri pandits is uncanny and undeniable. Both by the Islamic extremists. The book also discusses some of the problematic sections of the faith though, like not allowing, in fact completely resisting others from joining their faith. My favorite part of the book though without a doubt was reading about the similarities between both the Sanatan Dharma and the Zoroastrians. All our texts are more identical than we think.
If this will be your first book from Sanghi and just want to read a fast-paced thriller, you might get bored at first between the chase and the narrative voice of Jim Dastoor. But if you have read his earlier works, you know what you are in for. This book is worth reading because it will enrich the reader with the history and philosophy of a great community on the verge of extinction but that deserves to live long for the sake of humanity. It is an absorbing thriller that has lessons for the current generation too. For, history repeats itself if we don’t learn from it.
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