Thursday, March 3, 2011

Review: Chanakya's Chant

Chanakya, also known as Kautilya, continues being one of the most interesting and intriguing person till date. Chanakya’s policies have been debated, discussed and his strategies have kept people fascinated and interested even now.

Chanakya is well known as a master strategist who crafted Chandragupta Maurya’s ascent to the king of Bharat. Ashwin Sanghi’s latest book Chanakya’s Chant excellently blends Chanakya’s Bharat and today’s Bharat (modern day India). The thriller also proves that Chanakya’s neetis are as relevant today as they were in those days.

The book takes the reader right into 340BC where Chanakya, a Brahmin youth vows revenge for the gruesome death of his father by the King of Magadh, Dhanananda. Chanakya grows up to become a master strategist who, through his, calculating and cunning tactics seeks his revenge and also, at the same time, manages to thwart Alexander the Great’s plan to invade Bharat. But his most stunning victory is yet to come when by using all his crafty means and pitting the weak forces against each other he manages to anoint Chandragupta Maurya to the throne of Magadh and forming the first empire in India, the mighty Mauryan Empire.

In today’s Bharat, almost two and a half thousand years after, we have Pandit Gangasagar Mishra living in Kanpur ,draws inspiration from the master strategist Chankaya, to get his protégée Chandini Gupta appointed to the highest office in India, that of the Prime Minister. As was with Chanakya the same is with Pandit Mishra, there is no rule that can’t be broken or mended, no price too high to pay and absolutely nothing that can stop you from reaching your goal. There were four mantras that Chanakya believed in Saam, daam, dand, bhed (Equality, enticement, punishment and sowing dissension) and so does the modern day Chankaya aka Pandit Mishra.

The book excellently flits between the two periods and keeps the reader hooked to read what comes next in the political drama. Will Pandit Mishra succeed in his mission to take Chandni to the top? Will he be the king maker he so desires to be?

Though, at times, while reading the modern day events unfold, I felt that some incidents were highly exaggerated and could have been toned down a bit. And some of the decisions that Pandit Mishra takes come across unconvincingly.

Yet the book continues to keep the reader engaged and enthused enough to read through to the very end. A well paced political thriller that will keep you riveted. It should be in your must read list this month.

About the Author:

Ashwin Sanghi’s first novel, The Rozabal Line, was originally published in 2007 under his pseudonym, Shawn Haigins. The book was subsequently published in 2008 and 2010 in India under his own name and went on to become a national bestseller.

An entrepreneur by profession, Ashwin writes extensively on history, religion, mythology and politics in his spare time, but writing historical fiction in the thriller genre is his passion and hobby.
Ashwin, lives in India, with his wife Anushika and son Raghuvir.


  1. Reading it now.. and throughly enjoying the same..

  2. What disappointed me the most in teh book was that it was heavily abridged from Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister. and others. it would have been better if Chankya himself would have been quoted

  3. Here is my review of the book:

    Adligen, I tend to agree with you.