Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Book Review - Chanakya's Chant

"In statecraft, as in medicine, words are sometimes the most powerful drugs we can use.The power of propaganda should never be discounted" - Chanakya
"Three may keep a secret if two of them are dead" - Pandit Gangasagar Mishra



Ashwin Sanghi, in his book Chanakya's Chant, takes you on a page-turning ride alternating between 320 BCE and the 'present day'. The Machiavellian efforts of Chanakya to unify the Indian sub-continent under Chandragupta is described in fictionally authentic detail, blurring the difference between fact and imagination in the reader's mind. Chanakya's dedication to the cause of unifying the sub-continent lead him to using his sweet-heart as a pawn on his chessboard. Even as a concubine to his enemies, Suvasini prayed to Shiva for his success but later cursed him a future without a lineage and his knowledge of crafty statesmanship without any application - unless thousands of years later someone meditated on a mantra to be able to apply this knowledge.

A stone tablet containing the mantra, to revive Chanakya's statesmanship, is discovered by Gangasagar.The Chanakya-esque Pandit Gangasagar Mishra attempts to unify India under the Prime Minister-ship of Chandini Gupta. Chankya's crafty statesmanship is revived by Gangasagar Mishra to attain his objective at any cost.

The racy 'present day' narrative has the hijack of flight IC-617 which closely tallies with that of the hijack of IC-814 on the 24th December,1999. Ashwin Sanghi has blended fact and fiction so well that it makes one wonder if the rest of the fiction of the hijack has its moorings in real life. The Goebbelsian fixing of opinion polls by Gangasagar Mishra makes you wonder how much of what you are told, hear or read, everyday, is part of propaganda. The realistically fictionalized description of the functioning of RAW, the Intelligence Bureau and allied government agencies shows the ill-intentions of the elected representatives of the people. The author insight-fully covers present day business, bureaucracy and politics showing how servile, sinister and self-seeking the business of governance is.

Statecraft, about 2,300 years back, it appears, was even more sinister and dangerous when kingdoms battled without much thought about death and destruction. Honey traps in Chanakya's era were not just about pretty women. These women (Vishkanyas) were raised on deadly poisons which made them immune to even snake bites. Even the smallest exchange of bodily fluids with another lead to instant death - which was used, by Chanakya, to eliminate powerful kings in order to bring the subcontinent under the unified rule of Chandragupta.

History tell us the Chanakya succeeded in uniting most of the sub-continent under Chandragupta Maurya. Chandragupta was the first unifier of India and its first real emperor. He achieved this when he was only about 20 years old - which would not have been possible without the crafty guidance of Chanakya.

Pandit Gangasagar Mishra seeks to achieve the same with Chandini Gupta -without venomous Vishkanyas or wars. If only Pandit Gangasagar Mishra were as real as Chanakya.

Perhaps, he is.

Chanakya's Chant by Ashwin Sanghi.
Westland - Rs.195 - 448 pages


This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!


12 comments:

Ravi said...

Gr8 review.

I was expecting a caricature, esp after Duvaru and Srikanth...

Jonty said...

this story seems so convulted I wasn't sure if it was real or not! Wasn't Chanakya a general of some sort?

Bharat R Ram said...

Chanakya was a minister in the court of Emperor Chandragupata.

R Ramamurthy said...

Great review - makes me want to read the book!

MAAC said...

I was very encouraged to find this site. I wanted to thank you for this special read. I definitely savored every little bit of it and I have bookmarked you to check out new stuff you post.
Animation courses

Kitchens Toronto said...

Good efforts. All the best for future posts. I have bookmarked you. Well done. I read and like this post. Thanks.

Good quality toronto tankless said...

Thanks for showing up such fabulous information. I have bookmarked you and will remain in line with your new posts. I like this post, keep writing and give informative post...!

Massage Chairs for Sale said...

The post is very informative. It is a pleasure reading it. I have also bookmarked you for checking out new posts.

Party ideas oshawa said...

The post is handsomely written. I have bookmarked you for keeping abreast with your new posts.

Rahul said...

The book depicts two story lines in parallel and in both of the story everything happened so smoothly without having any trouble or disturbance. Whatever they have planned (both Chanakya and Gangasagar), executed in the right way as if there is no attempt from their rival to protect themselves. Politics is not so simple and in this regard I think the book lacks maturity. However, the stories have good pace and is of nice reading altogether.

sourabh gupta said...

packers and movers kolkata
packers and movers delhi
packers and movers mumbai
packers and movers pune
packers and movers faridabad
packers and movers indore
packers and movers chandigarh
packers and movers chennai
packers and movers bangalore
packers and movers raipur
packers and movers patna
packers and movers lucknow
packers and movers noida
packers and movers bhubaneswar
packers and movers ghaziabad
packers and movers gurgaon
packers and movers hyderabad
packers and movers thane
packers and movers navi mumbai
packers and movers bangalore

sourabh gupta said...

packers and movers kolkata
packers and movers delhi
packers and movers mumbai
packers and movers pune
packers and movers faridabad
packers and movers indore
packers and movers chandigarh
packers and movers chennai
packers and movers bangalore
packers and movers raipur
packers and movers patna
packers and movers lucknow
packers and movers noida
packers and movers bhubaneswar
packers and movers ghaziabad
packers and movers gurgaon
packers and movers hyderabad
packers and movers thane
packers and movers navi mumbai
packers and movers bangalore