Book Review: Chanakya’s Chant by Ashwin Sanghi
“Chanakya’s Chant” is a tale of two men born whose thirst for and shaping the future defines their existence. Set two millennia apart, the book swings from 340 bc to the present time, simultaneously divulging the tales of Chanakya and his avatar Gangasagar. Driven by cold determination to avenge his father’s death, Chanakya grows to become India’s best political thinker and strategist, who cunningly defies the pre-established ethics and morals to achieve his aim of unifying India against the mighty Alexander. Gangasagar Mishra is a school teacher in a small town of India, who finds himself the perfect protégée to train and make into the PM of India. The book alternates between the two timelines revealing the obvious end to the reader.
The author, Ashwin Sanghi, has skillfully experimented with the style of writing, and he fluidly sends you back and forth in time keeping you riveted till the end. Sanghi lets his imagination loose with the several characters incorporated in the book; the characters of Chanakya and Gangasagar are very strongly drawn, making the other characters seem very petty in contrast. The book strives to show the reader the fickleness of human nature so strongly influenced by emotions and religion; upon the political framework of the current time and of the past. The main focus is the storytelling and background of the story and of the time period and characters except the two main characters, are both very sketchily described. He shows you exactly why Chanakya was considered such an inspirational economist and political thinker, he was ruthless and manipulative, not necessarily even moral. But he stopped at nothing to achieve his ambition, always playing with power but never actually taking control of it.
Although Sanghi’s “Chanakya’s Chant” is a good read, captivating you by its suspense and style, but definitely not a must read. A much better attempt than his previous book, the Rozabal Line.
- Kamya Sanghvi