08 March 2014

Chanakya's Chant

Title: Chanakya's Chant
Author: Ashwin Sanghi
Rating: 2.5/5
Indian fiction is in evolutionary phase. Moving from the old school NRI authors like Rushdie, Chitra Banerjee, Jhumpa and Naipaul writing on their native for the foreign audience, to the new breed of indigenous authors like Chetan Bhagat, Anuja Chauhan experimenting with middle class subjects, to intelligent thinking man's writers like Manu Joseph and Arvind Adiga, and the historic/mythological fiction writers like Amish and Ashwin Sanghi.

So it was inevitable for me to pick one Ashwin Sanghi book. This one came highly recommended, especially Chanakya is an intriguing character, his economic and political understanding has been the root of all of Indian History and current political scenario. The man was a visionary and has influenced the ancient history in such a deep manner that it resonates till date.


Ashwin Sanghi starts off well with a very strong storyline and characters, shifting between historic journey of Chanakya and his protégé Chandragupta and the re-creation of Gangasagar and Chandini in the current times. The former was handled well by the author probably because it was retelling of the history the way it has been written and re-written over times.

The real skill of the author would be in his ability to re-create it again in the modern times, but here is where I found a slag in author's handling of the subject. Where Gangasagar proved to be great Chanakya, Chandini failed to impress. He could have very well picked up any random girl rather than focus on grooming Chandini since childhood. I understand it was to be a girl protégé as per the ancient prophecy, but then again she seemed like a puppet in hands of Gangasagar rather than an intelligent thinking woman.

Other than that the book tries to club two stories and two lifetimes in a short version, so speed and pace sometimes lead to short cut solutions and easy maneuvers by the author. Overall a good attempt. Here are a few lines from the book which I liked:

There cannot be a country without people, and there is no kingdom without a country. It's the people who constitute a kingdom; like a barren cow, a kingdom without people yields nothing.

Worry is like a Rocking chair, it keeps you busy but gets you nowhere.

A free society is one where it's safe to be unpopular, but then, freedom of speech also carries with it the freedom not to listen.

Remember that it's often easier to get forgiveness rather than permission.

Wise men think all they say, fools say all they think.

Bravery is simply being the only one who knows that you're afraid.

Birds don't build nests on fruitless trees, whores have no love for poor men, and citizens don't obey a powerless king!

Wish to Buy Chanakya’s Chant

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