Maya’s Quest. Coming Soon

Maya’s Quest, my new Sci-fi/historical novel will be published on the 14th of April.

I do hope my readers enjoy this new twist to the Indus Valley Civilisation.

The city of cockerels

Hi Everyone!

I came across the link below and was happy, actually thrilled to see that it explains what I have added and tried to explain in my book Maya’s Quest, which is based on life in the ancient Sindhu (Indus) Valley, which I hope to bring to you sometime next year.


If you are an aficionado of science fiction interspersed with history, then I am sure Maya’s Quest will pique your interest and you will be waiting to read the beginning of the SIndhu Valley Saga. Keep your eyes on this page. I will be posting snippets occasionally; till such time you can start reading the whole story.

A quick snippet: The Sindhu Valley was given the name “Indus” by Alexander the Great who came to the are long after the civilization was no more, therefore given the timeline, I will call the area city of Kukkutarma of the Sindhu Valley.

The history of chickens (Gallus domesticus) is still a bit of a puzzle. Scholars agree that they were first domesticated by mixing two wild bird species from southeast Asia:
red junglefowl (Gallus gallus)
gray junglefowl (G. sonneratii)
However where that domestication exactly happened and when is still unanswered question.
The earliest possible domestic chicken remains are from the Cishan site (5400 BC) in northern China, but whether they are domesticated is controversial. Firm evidence of domesticated chickens isn’t found in China until 3600 BC.
Recent research suggests that there may have been multiple domestication events in distinct areas of South and Southeast Asia: southern China, Thailand, Burma, and India.
In India we have evidence that wild chicken have been used by people in the Indus Valley region since 5000 BC. The first archaeological evidence (chicken bones) belonging to the domesticated chickens appear at Mohenjo Daro by about 2000 BC. It is believed that it is from there that the chicken spread into Europe and Africa.
Now I believe that chicken domestication probably occurred in Mohenjo Daro a bit earlier than 2000 BC. Here is why:
Built around 2500 BC, Mohenjo Daro was one of the largest settlements of the ancient Indus Valley civilization, and one of the world’s earliest major cities, contemporaneous with the civilizations of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and Minoan Crete. Mohenjo daro was abandoned in the 19th century BC as the Indus Valley Civilization declined.
Recently I came across a paper entitled “Akam and Puram: ‘Address’ Signs of the Indus Script“. It was presented by Iravatham Mahadevan in 2010 at the International Tamil Conference. In his paper he announced the identification of a frequent “opening” sign in the Indus texts.

He based his identification on the fact that identical symbols are known from Ancient Egypt:

This does open the question about the cultural connection between these two ancient civilizations. But this is not why I am mentioning this article.

Another thing that Iravatham Mahadevan discusses in his article is the original name of Mohenjo Daro.

Many seals with cock symbols were discovered in Mohenjo Daro. Here are just two of these seals:

Because of the repeated occurrence of cocks in the seals, it is fair to assume that cocks played an important role in the city and its culture.

Now in Sanskrit the word for “Cock, Cockerel” is कुक्कुट (kukkuTa)

Why is this important? Because of this:

Thomas Burrow, who was an Indologist at the University of Oxford, published various books and papers in the field of linguistics and Indology. In his paper “On the significance of the term arma-, armaka- in Early Sanskrit Literature”, published in Journal of Indian History XLI, Pt. I (1963) : 159-166, he published the list of all the places found in Sanskrit literature which end with “arma”, “armaka”. As we can see in “A Sanskrit-English dictionary, etymologically and philologically arranged, with special reference to Greek, Latin, Gothic, German, Anglo-Saxon, and other cognate Indo-European languages” published by Monier-Williams, Monier, Sir, 1819-1899 we can see that the Sanskrit words “arma”, “armaka” mean “ruins of a village, town”:

Thomas Burrow postulated that the place names ending with “arma”, “armaka” are the names of ancient cities which were destroyed either by advancing Arians or were already lying in ruins when the Arians arrived.

It is safe to assume that most of the ruined cities mention in ancient Sanskrit literature must have belonged to the Indus Valley Civilization – because at the time of writing these ancient texts, most of the Indus Valley Cities must have been in a ruined state – and also at the time of writing these texts there were no Vedic cities in such ruined state.

One of the cities mentioned in the list of ruined cities composed by Thomas Burrow is “Kukkutarmaka”. And as we have seen “kukkuTa” in the Sanskrit means “Cock, Cockerel”. This means that “Kukkutarmaka” mentioned in the list means “ruined city of cocks, cockerels”.

Based on all this, Iravatham Mahadevan concluded that the name of Mohenjo Daro, during the Indus Valley Civilization times, was probably “Kukkut arma” i.e. “City of cocks, cockerels”.

Now considering that Mohenjo Daro, Kukkut arma, was built around 2500 BC, it is most likely that the people who built The City of Cocks have by that time already domesticated chickens???

Anyway, Iravatham Mahadevan also concludes that the city name, Kukkut arma, proves that people who built Mohenjo Daro spoke Dravidian languages.  This he says is because in today Dravidian languages like Naiki (Chanda) and Gondi the word for cockerel is gogodi, phonemically *kokoṭi, *kōkōṭi, *kukōṭi, *kokVṭi and finally *kokoṭ. You can find these words in “Pleonastic Compounding: An Ancient Dravidian Word Structure” by Periannan Chandrasekharan.

Iravatham Mahadevan then concludes that this word was then borrowed by the Arians who arrived to the Indus Valley after the cities were already abandoned and lying in ruins. They have learned the name of the city from the Dravidian speaking local population from whom they also borrowed the word for cockerel “kukkuTa” which we find in Sanskrit.

The word traveled east with the chickens. In Slavic languages, one of the words for cockerel is “Kokot” which comes from Proto-Slavic “*kokotъ” and is identical to Dravidian and Sanskrit words for cockerel. This word comes from the languages of the R1a people who dominated the Eurasian steppe during the Bronze Age, when the chickens started spreading from India towards Europe. Considering that these people controlled the main land trade route through Eurasia, connecting China, India, Europe, they probably were the people who brought chickens into Europe from India. These R1a people are one of the direct ancestors of the Slavs, so no wonder that we find the same name for cockerel in Slavic, Sanskrit and Dravidian languages.Chickens finally appear in Europe in the 9th century BC when the words for chicken start appearing in other European languages.

Letter From my Mother’s Friend

Hello friends. Just popped in to see how everyone was doing.

I wanted to tell you that my brother gave my books to a friend of my mother’s, Christine Burgoyne, who lives in Scotland, and after reading them she sent me the following email. I am just pasting the parts that are relevant to my books, but I was deeply touched by her kind words.

Dear Shireen,

I read your book then spent a few days mulling it over.
Your first two books were very exciting and I felt I got to know your characters Sarah and Tanya well so much so I feel if I met them I could have a really good conversation with them about life over a cup of coffee.    I looked forward so much to the final book and I wasn’t disappointed.  It opened with a bang when Sarah was caught in a basement after explosive enemy fire.  What an introduction Shireen.  I was there and then hooked.   Your subject was very brave – child trafficking – not anything I think about much but will do so now especially when I learn of famine and floods.  You opened my eyes to  not only that situation but to a deeper problem traffickers using these tragedies to steal children.  I’m not naive but you brought it home the seriousness of these situations.  The nearest learning I had to that was in one of Liam Neeson’s films.  He made three: Taken, Taken 2 and Taken 3.  They were all very good but the one which sticks out in my mind is the one where his grown up daughter – university age travels to Paris  from USA with  her girlfriend for a holiday.  After the flight they are standing at either a taxi rank or a bus stop and this handsome young Frenchman  offers them a lift and accommodation.  Because he is so sweet and charming they agree and end up being trafficked, fed drugs and being sold to rich men in the Middle East.  Needless to say Liam Neeson saves the  day.  Again an eye opener for me in that one has to be careful whom one speaks to while travelling in a foreign country.
Sarah the doctor seems such a thoughtful and kind person who has a 6th sense which is repeated many times.  She also puts herself in danger in order to help others.  What a wonderful character she is.  Tanya who works for Interpol is a strong feminine character who has to deal with some very serious situations. It’s their love for each other that comes out so tenderly that captures my heart.  In some countries this would be a taboo subject, but you handle it so softly and gently and believably.  It’s the way you tell the story from Sarah’s viewpoint and then Tanya’s which keeps the story moving along.  I thought some of your little homilies at the beginning of the chapters very clever – especially yours.
Dr Farooq – What an evil person he was and continued to be throughout your story.   The people Sarah and Tanya met while escaping through the countries to save the children were not always good.  There was so much evil and corruption but then you countered that with not all people being bad.  The story was punctuated by some who were helpful and kind in times of danger.  You introduced the cultures and the food so well.
At one point in the book, I thought how is Shireen going to bring this story to an end as often characters are killed off or walk hand in hand into the sunset but you did it so beautifully with Sarah happy and content to be in England again with the two children they had saved  and with Tanya who had been shot  given a desk job.   They were now a complete family.  You also resolved the mother situation with thoughtfulness.
I very much enjoyed all your books Shireen, but I think the last one, Heartline, was my favorite.  It had a very serious subject, it was a travelogue, a love story and a resolution to family issues.  In the book club I would give your book a 10.  I would also like to add I think it would be a wonderful film.  Wouldn’t that be something?
I’m sorry I won’t be reading of Sarah and Tanya again or I don’t think so but do hope you will continue to write.  You can’t stop now you are such an accomplished author.  Have you found another outlet for your writings?  Hope so.
I hope Shireen I have done your book justice.  I can’t emphasize enough how interesting and enjoyable it was.
Keep me posted in what you are up to.  It would be nice to keep in touch

Kind Regards Christine xx

Official Review of Heartlines by OnlineBookClub

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5 out of 5 stars
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Heartlines will make your heart soar with love and thrill. This is the last book in the Journey series. In this book, Interpol agent Tanya Kareem and Dr. Sarah Shah are embroiled in a dangerous mission against cruel human traffickers. Following an earthquake in the northern parts of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India, Tanya has been assigned to gather information about the traffickers, who are using this natural disaster to smuggle children and sell them to a powerful international conglomerate. The only good thing about this mission is that Tanya can work with her partner, Sarah, who is a paediatrician and is also being assigned to help the affected children. The story follows their exciting adventures through Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and even Turkey, finally coming full circle at the end.
This book is written brilliantly. The writing is easy to follow, and the imagery is wonderful. The main characters, Sarah and Tanya, are amazing. Sarah is a doctor, and she is excellent at her job. She knows what to do when faced with difficulties, and her expertise was an incredible asset to both Tanya’s mission and the plot. Tanya is a brilliant agent. She is intelligent, perceptive, and full of compassion. The story is full of thrilling adventures that leave you wanting for more. It highlights real issues and horrendous crimes and brings them to a satisfactory end. Starting from the prologue, the story jumps right into action and keeps on getting better. Apart from the adrenaline rushes, there are also elements of the supernatural cleverly embedded in the story. Even though it is part of a series, this book can be read as a standalone novel.
This is one of the best books I’ve read. I do not find any negatives in it. This book is an adventurous quest for justice, and justice is served extremely well.
I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.
Heartlines by Shireen Magedin is a fast-paced adventure thriller that will keep you hooked. I couldn’t put the book down, and I kept wanting to know what was going to happen next. The writing is remarkable, with the imagery, the twists, and the suspense feeling so real that you feel adrenaline pumping in your veins and keep your fingers crossed, hoping for the best. I did not find any errors in the book, and it has been edited very well. My favourite part of the book is the addition of the supernatural, which was a welcome and wonderful surprise. The characters are fantastic and help make the story stellar. The addition of different cultures makes the story more engaging.
The book will be an enjoyable read for everyone who reads it. I highly recommend this book to all readers of thrillers, suspense, mysteries, and adventures.

Official Review of Bloodlines by Onlinebookclub

Review of Bloodlines
Post by Chinaza Nnabuenyi » 27 Jan 2023, 06:20

[Following is an official review of “Bloodlines” by Shireen Magedin.]
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5 out of 5 stars
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Bloodlines (The Journeys Series Book 2) by Shireen Magedin is a thrilling sequence of medical practice and criminal justice. It tells the story of two lovers, Dr. Sarah and Agent Tanya, who, rejected by both parents because of their sexuality, try to live quietly in England, away from home. Each day, they live looking over their shoulders, hoping that the worse will not come. Their greatest fear meets the inseparable lovers when Sarah is abducted by her former vengeful estranged lover, Dr. Farooq, who is bent on getting Sarah by all means.

Shireen develops an intriguing plot that will make readers curious about what will happen next. Each chapter is filled with a situation that will keep the suspenseful reader waiting to turn to the next page. The story starts with a little exposure to some weird beliefs of a particular Pakistani. One of which is revealed in the case of two couples who run away, leaving their infant, Amina, at the mercy of the doctors at the hospital. Baby Amina is a product of consanguinity, which was encouraged by the couples’ relatives with the excuse “not to listen to the white man’s advice, since they don’t know our culture.”

The book also addresses some of the issues of Southern Asia, like the abduction of young girls and boys, the forceful marriage of girls by their fathers, and the high rate of corrupt and incompetent staff in law enforcement. One of these is revealed in the way Dr. Farooq could manipulate his way into the system and make staff do his dirty jobs at the expense of their lives.

From the “Salam” greetings of the indigenes, the hospitable treatment of visitors, the variety of delicacies, and a wide description of localities in the different parts of Pakistan, Shireen keeps her readers engaged. This makes the book both educational and valuable. Overall, I rate this book five out of five stars.

The admission of sexuality is displayed by the two main characters, Sarah and Tanya. This may be out of the notion of some people’s cultures who don’t accept or support the same-sex relationship. Also, several medical terms are mentioned but explained at the end of the book. This is nice, especially when the writer wishes to capture audiences unfamiliar with the medical terms. I didn’t find any dislikeable features in the book.

I recommend this book to mature readers who like to read crime-related books and also to medical practitioners based on the experiential knowledge displayed by Dr. Sarah Shah.