Scion of Ikshvaku: Plot-cum-Review
Regards to my elders
Greetings ladies and gentlemen
In this post I will tell you about the plot plus review of the first installment in the Ram Chandra series, ‘Scion of Ikshvaku written by Amish Tripathi. ‘Scion of Ikshvaku’ is the fourth book of Amish Tripathi’s professional writing career and was as a equal hit as his Shiva Trilogy comprising of ‘The Immortals of Meluha’, ‘The secret of the Nagas’ and the ‘ Oath of the Vayuputras’. In this post I will tell you about the plot and how it was diffferent from the original epic ‘Ramayan’ on which it is based(as many as i am able to find). Vakmiki is the one who wrote the Ramayana. Scion of Ikshvaku: plot-cum-Review.
The word ‘Scion’ means being a descendant and its another meaning is being a guardian. The word’ Ikshvaku’ in puranic literature is a dynasty founded by the great king Ikshvaku who were ‘Suryavanshis’ or the descendants of the Sun. From this dynasty came out able leaders like lord Raghu and Lord Ram. Maybe later on, the Ikshvaku clan came to be known as the Raghu clan. The story is set somewhere between 3300 BCE and 3400 BCE. Dashrath the overlord of Sapt Sindhu, the one who has never lost a fight yet, goes up against the army of kubaer led by his commander Raavan at karachapa(an ancient sea port east to the Indian subcontinent). The war is caused mainly due to the reason that Lanka had failed to give commission to the overlord of Sapt Sindhu and due to arrogant behavior of Raavan in the meeting scheduled between Dashrath and Kubaer. Dashrath is defeated in this war and he blames all this upon his son Ram who is born on the same day from Kaushalya. Kaushalya had been facing difficulty earlier having a child, hence Dashrath had 2 more wives Sumitra and kaikeyi and Kaikeyi was his favorite. Kaikeyi had also saved Dashrath’s life in the war between him and Raavan. Dashrath had Ram from Kuashalya, Bharat from Kaikeyi and Lakshman and Shatrughan from Sumitra. Ram grows up hating Raavan because his victory over his father Dashrath, had led to his miserable life in the nobility and in Ayodhya. Nonetheless, Ram is virtuous and someone who holds deep respect for the rules. Such respect that he believes that rules and laws are above everything else.
I don’t know the age difference between all of the four brothers but i think, Ram is definitely the eldest, Ram is 3 years older that both Lakshman and Shatrughan and maybe Bharat is a year or some months younger than Ram. Vashishta, the raj guru(royal priest) of Ayodhya, takes all the four sons of Dashrath to his gurukul(a place where students are taught). He trains the 4 brothers, with the aim of building either Ram or Bharat into such a character that they will be recognized as the seventh Vishnu. The work of the Vishnu is to propagate good and in Hinduism he is the part of the trinity along with Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva. Vishnu is the one who operates the universe. Ram comes back to Ayodhya along with his brothers when he is 18 years old. He is given the job of Chief of Police whereas Bharat is made to look after the diplomatic affairs. Ram quickly gains support of the masses as he works according to the laws and he subjects himself to the same rules as the common masses. Roshni, rakhi-sister to the four brothers and the daughter of the richest merchant in Sapt Sindhu, is raped by a group of men. Every person gets death punishment except for a minor named Dhenuka who is able to escape from punishment due to the legal technicality. This invites the ill conspiracies of Manthra towards Ram( Dhenuka is later killed by Bharat). On an hunting expedition where Ram is tasked for the protection of his father, he is attacked by a leopard and is severely injured in an attempt to protect his father. This makes Dashrath accept Ram as his son and then appoints him as the crown prince. Meanwhile, Vishwamitra the chief of Malayaputras has come to Ayodhya to ask Dashrath to send his sons, Lakshman and Ram with him on a mission. He does not tell them that they are to go Mithila( modern day Bihar) where Ram has to win the hand of Sita. When they reach Mithila and Ram is told about this, he can do nothing but take part in the swayamvar( a competition where men compete or are given a set of tasks to win the hand of the bride) as his name is already registered in the swayamvar and his father had asked him to do anything Vishwamitra asks him to do. Raavan to was invited in the Swayavar but he left because Vishvamitra asked that Ram will first string and fire the Pinaka(the bow of Lord Rudra) and Raavan felt that he was insulted.Ram wins the hand of sita which he had began to like because of a certain incident which had happened earlier. Sita’s sister Urmila is married to Lakshman. The next day, Raavan prepares to attack Mithila with the forces he has brought with him. Ram decides to fire the Asuraastra( A kind of missile which is banned by the previous Mahadev to be ever used) as the army of Mithila is very weak and he decides to save his wife’s kingdom. Asuraastra being a Daivi astra( weapons of the gods) invites an exile of 14 years from the Sapts Sinsdhu to the one who fires it as it is a weapon of mass destruction banned by Lord Rudra.
Ram comes back to Ayodhya, along with Sita, Lakshman, and Urmila. He asks his father to banish him from Ayodhya but his father refuses. Kaikeyi, Under pressure from Manthra and as she is in need of money, asks for her two boons from Dashrath which he promised to fulfill at any cost when Kaikeyi saved him after his war with Raavan. She asks for the banishment of Ram and establishing Bharat as the crown prince of Ayodhya. Ram(along with Sita and Lakshman) is banished from the Sapt Sindhu for 14 years and Bharat rules Ayodhya by placing Ram’s royal slippers on the throne which meant that he is taking care of the empire only in his brothers absence.
13 years pass by in exile as the the trio along with a guard of Malayaputras serve there punishment south of the river Narmada. In their last year of Exile, Raavan kidnaps sita because Lakhman had spilled the royal lankan blood by cutting the nose of Shrupnkha, the half sister of Raavan, who had come to seek refuge along with Vibhishan( Raavan’s half brother)in Ram’s camp. The Book ends here with many secrets to be revealed in the second part of Ram Chandra series, Sita The Warrior of Mithtila.
There are a lot of differences in the ‘Scion Of Ikshvaku’ and the original Ramayana. Here are some differences which I was able to find.
- The character of Raavan does not hold prominence in the original Ramayana until he after takes part in the Swayamvar and then later on kidnaps Sita. However in the Scion of Ikshvaku, Raavan comes directly in prominence by defeating Dashrath.
- In the Scion of Ikshvaku, It is shown that Dashrath doesn’t like Ram for the most part of his childhood, but in Ramayana Ram is like Dashrath’s favorite son.
- Manthra in the’ Scion of Ikshvaku’ is the richest merchant in Sapt Sindhu whereas in Ramayana she is the maid of Kaikeyi. Moreover, there is no such character of Roshni depicted as Manthra’s daughter in ‘Scion of Ikshvaku’ in Ramayana.
- Raavan has a single head instead of ten in the ‘Scion of Ikshvaku’.
- Raavan is severe devotee of Lord Rudra however in ‘Scion Of Ikshvaku’ he is shown disrespectfully throwing the bow of Lord Rudra. Maybe, he just did not know it was Rudra’s or Amish may reveal something about it later on.
- Ram wins the hand of Sita by breaking the bow.
- Shrupnakha( Raavan’s half sister) comes alone in Panchvati and not along with Vibhishan as told in Amish’s novel.
- Ram was bansihed in the Ramayana because Kaikeyi asked Dashrath to do so. However, In Amish’s book, he is banished for firing the Asuraastra.
There are a lot more differences because the Characters of Ramayana are simply not bound by the limitations of a human( In most cases, I guess) however the characters in ‘Scion of Ikshvaku’ are. All in All Amish is able to satisfy, after the much satisfying Shiva triology. The conversations Ram and his brothers have with Guru Vashistha when they are in the Gurukul such as, how the society is declining due to a birth based fate, what it means to get married, the masculine and the feminine way of life and more are just a treat to read. Further, how Sita and Ram have conversations to establish ways to build an ideal society, ways which in future with establish Ram Rajya(The Rule of Ram).
I will end here… I hope I continue in future
Glory to Lord Ram.