The Rozabal Line

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The Rozabal Line
The Rozabal Line.jpg
The Rozabal Line, Published by Westland Ltd., 2008
Author Ashwin Sanghi
Country India
Language English
Genre Thriller, crime, mystery fiction, Historical Fiction
Publisher First Edition: Lulu Press (US)
Revised Edition: Westland Ltd. (India)
Publication date
24 September 2007 (US)
10 November 2008 (India)
Media type Print & Paperback
Pages 311 (US Lulu Press Edition)
373 (India Westland Edition)
ISBN ISBN 978-1-4303-2754-7 (US Lulu Press Edition)
ISBN 978-81-89975-81-4 (India Westland Edition)
OCLC 228506596

The Rozabal Line is a thriller fiction that deals with the subject of Jesus having survived the crucifixion and having settled down in India. The fictional element reads in the same vein as Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code whereas the historical basis is derived from several other books on the subject including Jesus Lived in India by Holger Kersten[1] and The Unknown Life of Jesus by Nicolas Notovich.

Plot summary[edit]

A cardboard box is found on a shelf in a London library. When the mystified librarian opens it, she screams before she falls unconscious to the floor. Within the labyrinthine recesses of the Vatican, a beautiful assassin swears she will eliminate all who do not believe in her twisted credo.

An elite army of thirteen calling itself the Lashkar-e-Talatashar has scattered around the globe. The fate of its member curiously resembles that of Christ and his Apostles. Their agenda is Armageddon.

A Hindu astrologer spots an approaching conjunction of the stars and nods to himself in grim realization of the end of the world. In Tibet, a group of Buddhist monks searches for reincarnation, much in the way their ancestors searched Judea for the Son of God. In strife-torn Kashmir, a tomb called Rozabal hold the key to a riddle that arises in Jerusalem and gets answered at Vaishno Devi.

An American priest has disturbing visions of people familiar to him, except that they seem to be located in other ages. Induced into past-life regressions, he moves to India to piece together the violent images. Shadowing his every move is the Crux Decussata Permuta, a clandestine society, which would rather wipe out creation than allow an ancient secret be disclosed.

Rozabal Line is a thriller swirling between continents and centuries, Ashwin Sanghi traces a pattern that curls backwards to the violent birth of religion itself.

Author/Editions[edit]

Ashwin Sanghi

Ashwin Sanghi (born January 25, 1969) is an Indian author of thriller fiction interested in the lost years of Jesus, the primary theme of his first novel which hypothesizes that Jesus survived the crucifixion and traveled to India. The Rozabal Line was originally published in 2007 under his pseudonym Shawn Haigins. The revised edition of The Rozabal Line was published by Westland Ltd. & Tranquebar Press in 2008 under his own name Ashwin Sanghi. Some commentators such as Humra Quraishi felt that the book should have been published under Sanghi's real name[2] and consequently the substantially revised 2008 edition was published in India by Sanghi under his own name.[3]

The Rozabal Line deals with the subject of Jesus having survived the crucifixion and having settled down in India. The fictional element is much like Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code whereas the historical basis is derived from several other books on the subject including Jesus Lived in India by Holger Kersten[1] and The Unknown Life of Jesus by Nicolas Notovich. According to Tehelka, one of India's most respected weekly news magazines, The Rozabal Line is "a thriller that inquires into the controversial claim that Jesus Christ travelled to India and was buried in Kashmir’s Rozabal Tomb".[4]

The Hindu, one of India's National dailies, says that "The book deals in greater depth with the issue of Christ’s union with Mary Magdalene touched upon by The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown as well as incorporating postulates of several other books, including Jesus Lived in India: Life Before and After the Crucifixion by Holger Kersten and Jesus Died In Kashmir: Jesus, Moses and The Ten Lost Tribes Of Israel by Andreas Kaiser".[5] Since the time the novel was published, there has been a huge upsurge of visitors to the Rozabal shrine in Srinagar as reported by the Indian newspapers.[6]

The book's publishers, Westland Ltd, have had tremendous success with the novel and it has gone into repeat runs.[7] The novel also succeeded in creating a historical/mythological thriller genre in India that Indian writers had not hitherto explored. Pradeep Sebastian of The Hindu wrote: "And so The Lost Symbol comes two years too late. Conspiracy thrillers swamped the market, reaching even Indian shores with The Rozabal Line, and offered us so much meat, that we couldn’t relish chewing anymore."[8]

At a talk delivered in Chennai, the author explained that "We assume the different faiths are distinctly different, but once you start tracing back the roots of their beliefs, you find their origins are much closer that you might imagine.".[9] Irrespective of the controversial theme surrounding his book, the author has continuously maintained that his book is a work of fiction[10] and should be read as a fiction conspiracy thriller.[11] In an interview to a leading tabloid, the author was asked: "Do you believe that Jesus lived in India?" and he replied, "I don't think it's in any way relevant if he came here or not. But do I wish it was true? Yes, completely. Isn't that such a romantic notion?"[12] MV Kamath, leading commentator, has said that the book is "provocative, but certainly commanding attention.".[13]

Owing to the popularity of the book and the story surrounding it, The Rozabal Line is being converted into a screenplay.[14] The controversial nature of the story surrounding the tomb has resulted in the site being closed down to visitors particularly after Lonely Planet detailed the tomb as well as The Rozabal Line in its 2010 edition.[15]

Similarities to the November 2008 Mumbai attacks[edit]

The Hindustan Times was the first to point out that, Sanghi's novel bore several similarities to the November 2008 Mumbai attacks.[16] In particular, Sanghi's novel spoke of an attack by the Lashkar-e-Taiba an Islamist terror group based in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan. It also spoke of the Lashkar spinning off an ultra-elite group of twelve commandos, similar to the Deccan Mujahideen. The plot of The Rozabal Line used a ship off the coast of Gujarat as well as a Thuraya satellite phone besides describing the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower as the residence of one of the main characters in the story. Sanghi also described the group as being controlled by the Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan without the knowledge of the Pakistani president. All these elements were purportedly present in the November 2008 Mumbai Terror Attacks. Consequently, The Hindu, included The Rozabal Line among its top fiction picks[17] while The Telegraph, included The Rozabal Line among its top "Paperback Pickings".[18]

The author has clarified in a subsequent interview that he was unhappy about the commonalities [19] although he readily agrees to being called a "conspiracy theorist".[20]

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