Navapura: The City of Nine Gates by Subhash Iyer

Did you know when man learned swimming? Or are you aware of the time when man did not know what a deer was? Subhash Iyer’s Navapura, set in the fictional city of the same name which had been enclosed within nine gates for as long as one could remember, might be able to assist you with the answers. The King and his subjects had been happy with the Kingdom but under the Kingship of Manyu and Mahi, Navapura’s horizon saw new boundaries. The far-sighted Manyu was not satisfied to stay and rule on the basis of the traditional parameters. His thirst for knowledge was only fulfilled once he ventured out to discover the unknown.

Though Navapura deals with a hypothetical storyline; its relevance is well understood in contemporary times. King Manyu’s predecessors had always focussed on imparting one skill to a particular class of people; making them experts in mechanical vocations rather than multitasking or multi-talented human beings. Today, most people are pressurized to excel in their fields, without giving them a chance to portray other talents.

King Manyu had inherited it all from his forefathers and for quite some time was unable to figure out how to add value to the equilibrium. Similarly, children sometimes inherit it all from their parents, but their success lies in investing their principles and values into their inheritance; and turn it into something more beautiful than ever. This is just what King Manyu’s thoughtfulness, curiosity, and desire to know more did to his Kingdom.

An interesting aspect of thinking outside the box is often being misunderstood by one’s own people. Being different is a norm which takes a while to sink in. At first, people laugh, then criticise, some even think one is a mad fool but after sometime give in to a new perspective; only to reap its successful benefits. Navapura is a story of not only discovering the world beyond the nine gates literally but also discovering oneself through bodily gates created by the sense organs. The king’s patronage of equally represented individuals from every class of society dealt with the necessity of equality of humankind referring to the fact that the benefits of a new invention should be equally distributed to the world at large.

Each adventure was a symbolic representation of a thoughtful process while their travels to the jungles professed their might in taming the forest resources; it was also a metaphor for modern-day hunters and poachers of the wild. The riverside showed them the power of human inventions when necessity arose. From building rafts to boats and learning how to swim; all were thought o when requirement arose. The lush fields invited them to taste the intoxicants- poppy and tobacco- which gave them momentary pleasure. The wastelands made them ponder about the meaning of life and the way one I treated after death. The last adventure was in search of metal.It was the ultimate journey in the life of King Manyu beyond his kingdom. It leads him to discover one of the most important and valuable resources of mankind.

With each gate opening in Navapura, newer resources were added to the city. However, with these positive developments came a few negative impacts too. Some of the wildebeests create havoc in the city, poppy and tobacco had made many addicts out of the people, and most importantly the complexity of class superiority came into being.

Navapura offers holistic narration with the integration of geography with literature. Though descriptions of lands and the world are not uncommon, this novel tells the readers the beauty of Nature which needs to be discovered, harnessed and cared for; something which is almost impossible for those locked in the ivory towers of intellect. Navapura is a tale that invokes the senses, intellect, curiosity and man’s hunger for gathering knowledge and using it for his own benefits. I would recommend this book to all my readers. It is available on Flipkart and Amazon.

*Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of Navapura by NotionPress Publications in exchange for an honest review.