Hey guys, I am back after a long hiatus. Was caught up in office work.
All credit to Blogadda’s Book Review program which ensured that I post within a week of getting the book.
Why I read the book
I had first heard of Ashwin Sanghi in an article which quoted that the 26/11 Mumbai attacks were eerily similar to the description in Rozabal Line. Also, comparisons to Dan Brown drew my attention to Mr. Sanghi’s work, as I am a sucker for rational interpretation of religious symbolism and rituals. After Rozabal Line, Minissha Lamba’s tweet mentioning Chanakya’s Chant as a good read came along. I am always on the lookout for fast paced political thrillers and here was the one that fitted the bill to a perfect T. I picked it up at the first opportunity I got and battled through my jam packed office routine to finish it within time. (Chanakya niti did help me there 😉 )
Why you should read the book
The story catches the reader’s attention right from the prologue where old Pandit Gangasagar refuses to die before seeing his protegee ascend the ultimate throne in the democratic hierarchy of India.(Yep President as a head of the state is a misnomer) The narration oscillates between 2 eras drawing parallels with the tale of Chanakya in ancient Magadh and Pandit Gangasagar. The resemblance between both is uncanny and keeps the reader turning the pages till the end.
The plot is mainly character driven, with the storyline highlighting events in their lives. A Brahmin called Gangasagar stumbles on an ancient scripture holding the secret to Chanakya’s power while learning wily business tricks from his mentor Agrawalji. Soon the mentee becomes the mentor as Gangasagar shifts his focus from business to politics. He ingeniously creates a party with the help of a local don and a slum-child – and manipulates them both like a master puppeteer,eventually changing the canvass of Indian politics as Chanakya did for independent and cohesive Bharat.
The character etching is so efficient that it almost seems as if Chanakya is reincarnated in the form of Gangasagar in the 20th century.He believes that even to do good through politics, one has to employ dirty methods. His strategy consists of bribing, intimidating, assassinating his opponents without letting on a whiff as to who the perpetrator is. Chandini does justice to a rags to riches heroine, the core of Chanakya’s mystical chant.She is a smug confident lady fully aware of her greater role in Indian politics when she is sent to study in a foreign university. The supporting characters also have parallels in both the tracks and are believably grey in their mindsets.
The author’s writing style is short and crisp. Amazingly that does not compromise with the fluidity of the story – almost as if you are reading a film script. The anecdotal narration style (although some are common knowledge in Indian masses) makes the reader feel as if he is a disciple attending Chanakya’s classes at Takshila.Dialogues dominate the feel of the book. I am thinking of making a compilation of the awesome one-liners by Chanakya and Gangasagar 🙂
me likey……..me dislikey 🙂
What I liked is the seamless merging of the two eras, I still don’t know which one I found more riveting. The landscapes of Kanpur and Magadh are sketched so life-like replete with the aromas dominating the paan shops, halwai dukaans and zhopadpattis! What I did not like is the romaticisation of Chandini’s life – somehow we always expect famous politicos to have an explosive background story – and yes, she is true to that stereotype. I guess it was essential to the plot 🙂
In a nutshell!!!!!!!!!!
Overall verdict, please pick it up anytime – if you are looking for a fast paced thriller, an out of the box Indian fiction,better perspective on Chanakya. You can even pick it up as a study in better business strategy, what people call ‘kootneeti’ while the genius called it ‘Chanakyaneeti’….doesn’t have to be bad always! 😀 Happy reading folks!