Objections to the Shiva Trilogy
by Sona on 14 Jun 2015 7 Comments

Shiva! The Mahadev. The God of Gods. Destroyer of Evil. Passionate lover. Fierce warrior. Consummate dancer. Charismatic leader. All-powerful, yet incorruptible. Quick wit, accompanied by an equally quick and fearsome temper. Over the centuries, no foreigner who came to our land — conqueror, merchant, scholar, ruler, traveller — believed that such a great man could possibly exist in reality. They assumed that he must have been a mythical God, whose existence could be possible only in the realms of human imagination. Unfortunately, this belief became our received wisdom. But what if we are wrong? What if Lord Shiva was not a figment of a rich imagination, but a person of flesh and blood? Like you and me. A man who rose to become godlike because of his karma. That is the premise of the Shiva Trilogy, which interprets the rich mythological heritage of ancient India, blending fiction with historical fact. This work is therefore a tribute to Lord Shiva and the lesson that his life teaches us. A lesson lost in the depths of time and ignorance. A lesson, that all of us can rise to be better people. A lesson, that there exists a potential god in every single human being. All we have to do is listen to ourselves. The Immortals of Meluha is the first book in the trilogy that chronicles the journey of this extraordinary hero.


The above is the introductory passage of the Shiva Trilogy Book 1, Immortals of Meluha. There are various incorrect statements:

1)      Shiva, The Mahadev, is being discussed as if he is a man.

2)    The author says that ‘unfortunately, this belief became our received wisdom.’ He is referring to the fact that many foreigners assumed that Shiva must have been a mythical God etc.

3)     The author assumes that Shiva was a figment of a rich imagination and then says what if he was a person of flesh and blood.

4)    The author says that Shiva could be a man.


The author uses the word myth in the context of an invented tale or imaginary story and has given his own distorted fictitious version. The reason why this is defamatory is because Lord Shiva is a revered God in Hinduism. (Please consult experts or internet for this.) Gods and Goddesses are an integral part of the Hindu religious belief system and we don’t want ignorant people abusing freedom of expression to ruin that for us.


The author has used other names of different Gods and related divinities such as Bhadra, Nandi etc. By saying that unfortunately this belief has become wisdom, he indicates that he does not feel that it is wisdom and regrets it. He has belittled and ridiculed this belief. The author very clearly states that his stories are his imaginary version of what he considers to be myths regarding Hindu Gods and Goddesses.




‘God bless Bhadra! At least he takes some responsibility. Shiva brought the chillum made of yak-bone to his lips and took in a deep drag. Any other day, the marijuana would have spread its munificence, dulling his troubled mind and letting him find some moments of solace.’


This excerpt from page 12 of the same book, clearly states that Shiva is using marijuana. This is inflammatory as Hindu Gods do not do drugs. In fact, Hinduism strictly forbids drugs. Hence, “dulling his troubled mind and letting him find some moments of solace” creates confusion in the minds of impressionable young people.


At the end of this brief piece, I have appended a copy of the law as found from the website of HG.org wherein there is a paragraph regarding the general harm caused by defamation due to a false statement. Hinduism is a religion just like others and deserves as much respect. Just as the cartoons of Prophet Mohamed were considered inflammatory because Muslims venerate him even if others may not.


Irrespective of what the author and his supporters say, the fact remains that just because Hindus are basically not the sort who would make a big scene, it should not mean that they should be bullied into accepting such insults to age old, highly esteemed religious beliefs. Hindu Gods and Goddesses are venerated by thousands and prayed to in temples. Seeing their names used so flippantly and irresponsibly in a work of fiction challenges the very fabric of Hindu society. In fact, in one of his interviews the author, Amish Tripathi, even mentioned that he expected a lot of objections from Hindus regarding his books and was surprised that no-one had protested, or words to that effect. That very clearly shows his malicious intent.


Recently it was reported that Hallmark removed wrapping paper from their stock because someone (not Hindu) felt that the design reminded them of the swastika and hurt their feelings. Such is the respect shown to other religions.


So why discriminate against Hindus and their religious sentiments? I am not interested in any long drawn out legal battles, appeals etc. I am a busy person and I am sure you are too. I just wish to appeal to the general readers’ sense of fairness and equality and hope that Indians will remove the Shiva Trilogy from your libraries as it misleads readers into thinking that Hinduism is not a religion with concrete provable beliefs but a bundle of myths and superstitions, as is insinuated by the author throughout his trilogy. It would be too much to discuss each paragraph of all the three books but I am sure the introduction tells it all.




DEFAMATION LAW falls under Tort Law. It refers to false statements about a person, communicated as fact to one or more other persons by an individual or entity (such as a person, newspaper, magazine, or political organization), which causes damage and does harm to the target’s reputation and/or standing in the community. Defamation is addressed primarily by state legislation. However, Constitutional Law may also apply, as the right of freedom of speech also extends to certain defamation claims. Defamation is categorized as either Slander or Libel

The general harm caused by defamation is identified as being ridiculed, shamed, hated, scorned, belittled or held in contempt by others, and lowers him/her in esteem of a reasonably prudent person, due to the communication of the false statement. This tort can result in a lawsuit for damages. Many states have statutes requiring that the allegedly damaged party must first demand a printed retraction of the defamatory statement, before they may proceed to court. If the plaintiff proceeds with a lawsuit without first seeking the retraction or if he/she receives a retraction but proceeds anyway, most states will limit the damages they may pursue to the actual or special damages they experienced, such as loss of employment or wages. 

Malice – if intentional malice can be shown/proven, than the act usually qualifies as defamation for damage to one’s reputation. However, even without this, if it is obvious that the statement would do harm and that it is untrue, one can still pursue this tort if he/she can demonstrate actual/tangible harm, such as loss of business (called special damages). 

Libel is defamatory statements and/or pictures published in print or writing; or broadcast in the media, such as over the radio, on TV or in film. The publication does not need to be made to more than one person to qualify as libel. However, it must be represented as a fact, not an opinion. If one libels the reputation of a deceased person, the target’s heirs may be able to bring an action for damages. 

Oral defamatory statements are categorized as slander. Damages for slander are generally more difficult to identify and prove; although when malice is involved, it can be easier to accomplish. These statements must also be represented as fact, rather than just an opinion, to be considered slanderous. Slander of title refers to a remark regarding property ownership which maligns the owner and his/her ability to transfer the property, and results in a monetary loss. 

Defamation Per Se refers to defamatory statements that are so vicious and the harm is so obvious, that malice is assumed, and proof of intent is not required for general damages (i.e. falsely accusing someone of committing a crime involving immorality; claiming someone has a repugnant, contagious disease; or statements claiming that the individual is unfit or unable to perform his employment duties.) Most states specifically recognize these categories of false statements as defamatory per se. Libel per se is also referred to as libel on its face, meaning it meets all the required elements without further proof. Defamation Per Quod is the opposite of per se, in that it is not obvious and extrinsic proof is required to demonstrate that the communication was damaging. 

Exclusions/Exceptions/Defenses to defamation

-        “fair comment” - a statement of opinion which was arrived at based on accurate facts, which do not allege dishonorable motives by the person about whom the statements were made. 

-        Statements made about a public person (political candidates, governmental officeholder, movie star, author, celebrity, sports hero, etc.) are usually exempt, even if they are untrue and harmful. However, if they were made with malice – with hate, dislike, intent and/or desire to harm and with reckless disregard for the truth – the public person may have a cause of action. This was determined by the US Supreme Court and has been re-interpreted various times. 

-        Minor errors in reporting, such as publishing a person’s age or title inaccurately or providing the wrong address. 

-        Governmental bodies due to the premise that a non-personal entity cannot have intent. 

-        Public records are exempt from claims of libel. 

-        Truth – the communication was true. 

Copyright HG.org

The author is an alumni of the J.J. Institute of Applied Arts, Mumbai

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