Friday, May 13, 2011

Chanakya’s Chant


Rating: 4/5






















Title: Chanakya's Chant
Author: Ashwin Sanghi
Genre: Fiction, Historical
Pages: 448
Publisher: Westland
ISBN-13: 9789381626818



The title of the book indicated that it had something to do with Chanakya and that was tempting enough to buy the book. But the antique bronze look to the cover made it even more attractive and I quickly grabbed a copy knowing that it will be fun going through this one.

The book has two stories running parallel; one about Chanakya and how he manages to crown Chandragupta the king of Magadha. The other is about Pandit Gangasagar Mishra, a modern day Chanakya, who succeeds in manipulating the government for his own purpose.

The book begins with the year 340 BC when a young Vishnugupta, later known to the world as Chanakya, is shattered as his father is assassinated by the king of Magadha. He vows to take revenge as he flees from the city for the fear of being murdered himself. As Chanakya grows up to be this shrewd and intelligent teacher of politics and wealth, the story develops into a huge political trap that Chanakya weaves by making, changing and killing allies and enemies and playing strategic political games to fulfill his ultimate goal - to make his disciple Chandragupta, the king of Magadha and thereby satisfying his vengeance.

About 2300 years later, history repeats itself when a village teacher, Pandit Gangasagar Mishra, plays around with the government using his mean tactics to make his student, Chandini Gupta, a leader and a powerful woman in Indian politics who, towards the end of the story, succeeds in becoming the Prime Minister of India.

The story alternates between the “Present day” and “2300 years ago” taking us through two different time zones but politically similar stories. The author handles the transition between the two beautifully. Though we are fairly aware of the filth and dirt politics needs to survive, the author has further enlightened us about the extent to which it was applied way back in history. The narration is excellent and the thrilling turn of events and clever exchange of dialogues are guaranteed to keep the readers hooked.

Altogether, Chanakya’s Chant is a beautiful concoction of two symmetrical stories with interesting characters and story line.

Will definitely look out for Ashwin Sanghi’s next.

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