Monday, 22 April 2013

BOOK REVIEW : Chanakya's Chant by Ashwin Sanghi

I first read about Ashwin Sanghi in the weekly Graphiti magazine. I was intrigued and keen to read his books.
Finally got a chance to read Chanakya's Chant.
A granite block is found with some sanskrit inscriptions in the begining of the book. It is the Chanakya's Chant with instructions on its usage.

" Primal shakti, I bow to thee; all encompassing shakti, I bow to thee; that through which God creates, I bow to thee;creative power of the kundalini; mother of all, to thee I bow "
The instruction read as:
Four thousand days you shall pray
Four hundred chants every day.
Chanakya's power is yours to take
Chandragupta, to make or break.
If there's a lull, start once more.
King must be queen, to be sure.
Suvasini's curse shall forever halt
If you can cure Chanakya's fault

Now its for the reader to read the story and find out whether the main protagonist here is able to break the curse or not.
There are two stories running parallel to each other in this book. The 1st story is about the greatest strategist of all times- the brilliant Chanakya who with his cold, calculating and cruel logic manages in uniting the whole Bharat and makes an astonising victory in making Chandragupta, the emperor of the Mauryan dynasty, thus earning the title of the "brilliant kingmaker".
 The other story is set in Uttar Pradesh in the present day where a simple history teacher Gangasagar Mishra is portrayed as a modern Chanakya. He plays a pivotal role in training and moulding Chandni, a slum girl who studies in the school run by Gangasagar to become the Prime Minister. Gangasagar uses every vile trick, ploy, threat or means to clear the path for his protegee to move ahead very smoothly from state politics to the centre. And to help him in his schemes is his mentor Aggarwalji, a shrewd businessman and Ikram , small time goon and a slumlord.
Through this story Ashwin shows how Mishra uses the Chanakya's chant to stop Suvasini's curse and be successful in being tagged as the man behind the Prime Minister Ms.Chandni.
The book is very well researched and takes the reader 2300 years back in the times of Chanakya. But Ashwin dissapoints with the story of Chandni.Everything is made too look very simple and easy in her journey from Uttar Pradesh politics to being the Prime Minister.
I would say that though not an exceptional book, its a one time read , if only to get to understand the workings of the brilliant strategist Chanakya.

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