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Chanakya s Chant

Chanakya's Chant (Paperback)

Chanakya's Chant (Paperback)

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3 Stars
15 Ratings
Published by Westland Books Pvt Ltd

468 pages

ISBN-10:

9380658672

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ISBN-13:

9789380658674)

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Rs. 195

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Rs. 135

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The year is 340 BC. A hunted, haunted Brahmin youth vows revenge for the gruesome murder of his beloved father. Cold, cunning, calculating, cruel and armed with a complete absence of accepted morals, he becomes the most powerful political strategist in Bharat and succeeds in uniting a ragged country against the invasion of the army of that demigod, Alexander the Great. Pitting the weak edges of both forces against each other, he pulls off a wicked and astonishing victory and ...

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Chanakya's Chant,  

Ashwin Sanghi,  

historical fiction,  

,  

7 Reviews of Chanakya's Chant (Paperback)

Official Review
Certain things never change or never will. Between 2300 years ago, when Chanakya exercised sam, daan, dand, bheda to make Chandragupt Maurya the invincible ruler of Bharat and the present time when Pandit Gangasagar Mishra groomed Chandini Gupta to become the 18th PM of India for three consecutive terms; nothing has changed. The manipulation, vengeance, cold blooded murders or even staging a murder, use of people (particlurarly women) for tarnishing people’s public image, the rehearsed fall outs between never-to-separate allies, exist and perhaps always will.

The situations might change, people might belong to a different day and age, but the deeds or the dark underlying motives behind every plan of action will always remain the same. The two parallel stories of Chanakya and Mishra (put together in Chanakya’s Chant in alternating chapters) follow the same set of events and work towards realising a bigger dream of coming into satta or power.

The novel Chanakya’s Chant is a riveting, fast paced, very well-written work of fiction and is full of the unexpected. The book even goes ahead and shocks the reader, not once but a number of times. The very first scene of the book when the PM gets shot during the oath taking ceremony or the time when the reporter is deported when he files a report on Chandini Gupta’s love life is sure to take you by a surprise. Also, the scene when Chanak is killed and Chanakya pledges revenge is particularly very well written.

The way in which Ashwin Sanghi has interspresed the storylines of these two parallel stories is commendable and reflects that he has an uncanny flair with storytelling. Not everyone can write a book about two diverse subjects and then link them with the help of a Shakti mantra and pepper it up with Suvasini’s curse. Now what the mantra means and how it connects the two storylines is for you to check out. We are not going to spell that one out for you.

What I loved most about the novel is how each charcter is so manipulative. How Gangasagar manipulates the voting system, gets his protégé shot twice (to gain public sympathy), gets her lovers killed, hides the fact that she has had a love child, all for making her India’s next PM is so scary. Just as Chankaya sacrifies his beloved Suvasini’s love for a higher mission – getting Alexander out of Bharat and making Chandragupta Maurya the king of the country –Mishra does all this to free India from Suvasini’s curse.

All the major characters are very well-ecthed. With every character you feel oh I have seen this quality in x person, this one in y. Moreover, all of them are grey characters and are just using one another for their own vested interests. They belong to a category of people whom you will absolutely love to hate.
Do not skip this book. It’s definitely worth reading.

By Deepti Khanna

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Chanakya's Chant is a fictional retelling of the life of Chanakya, the great political strategist of ancient India. The novel relates two stories in parallel, the first o.. More details Chanakya's Chant is a fictional retelling of the life of Chanakya, the great political strategist of ancient India. The novel relates two stories in parallel, the first of Chanakya and his machinations to bring Chandragupta Maurya to the throne of Magadha; the second that of a modern-day character called Gangasagar Mishra who makes it his ambition to position a slum child as the Prime Minister of India.
A fast-paced and gripping read, the two stories draw a close parallel though based centuries apart. The plotting, the scheming and the somewhat unruly methods adopted to attain power and position, esp. in the world of politics ring true and seem like an age old practice passed on over generations.
Sanghi peppers his novel with quotes from folks as disparate as Benjamin Franklin, Oscar Wilde and Mao Zedong. This thriller delivers all the elements of drama in the right proportion.
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As a ‘features’ producer in an English News Channel, I always defended my lack of interest in politics by saying that it doesn’t excite me. But really it was my lac.. More details As a ‘features’ producer in an English News Channel, I always defended my lack of interest in politics by saying that it doesn’t excite me. But really it was my lack of knowledge and ineptitude in understanding the nuances of Indian politics that made it a difficult subject. My other rather naïve viewpoint was that politics is a ‘dirty’ world. Years later, my vocabulary has matured and I can now describe politics in many more ways – selfish, manipulative, deceptive, scheming, scamsters, cheaters, plotters, foes, rivals, kingmakers, king-breakers… But it is this same concoction of words that makes politics such an intoxicating and exciting world! Ask any news junkie and they’d tell you that politics is the biggest chess game ever created!

For a writer to set his novel in the world of politics is but naturally a winning recipe! But if anyone still holds a naïve worldview about the game called politics, there is one book that you can read. Ashwin Sanghi’s Chanakya’s Chant tells you exactly why politics is such an exciting world! For someone who seeks to contemporize Chanakya and the politics of his times, it is no mean task. As a child of the 80′s, to me Chanakya’s enigmatic tale of revenge and politics is seeped in nostalgia of the tele-series on Doordarshan. But then, there is as much that a child can grasp! Years later, Ashwin Sanghi’s retelling the tale of that master kingmaker makes me want to read all that is available on Chanakya!

I’m not a History Major, so I obviously don’t have an authority on the historical accuracy in Chanakya’s tale. However, the parts about Alexandar did make me a little sad. Having read Manfredi’s series on Alexander, I almost fell in love with him! Viewing him from the other side of the fence of course is less flaterring. It is Chanakya’s present day avatar, Gangasagar Mishra who holds the key to the story. The constant back and forth narrative works for most part of the novel, as the reader is taken through the original devices mechanised by Chanakya and then the present day adaptations of the same. Linking the interlude of 2300 years is a chant:

‘Adi Shakti, Namo Namah; Sarab Shakti, Namo Namah; Prithum Bhagvati, Namo Namah; Kundalini Mata Shakti; Mata Shakti, Namo Namah’

A potent chant and an ‘ancient Sanskrit mantra extolling the virtues of feminine energy’, this is the legacy that Chanakya hands over to Gangasagar Mishra. And this is wherein lies the crux of the story. While Chanakya driven by revenge and hate for the King of Magadha vows to unite the country under Chandragupta Maurya, his alter-ego chants his muse’s mantra as he embarks into the world of politics. From local politics, moving to the state and eventually holding the power at the centre, Gangasagar is the guru behind his protege Chandni Gupta. And to reach his goal, he wipes clean the path that falls before Chandni. From removing obstacles that Chandni plants in her own life, to people and situations that are doctored to make her the rising star, Gangasagar’s devices do not fail! Close at the end of the novel, the truth behind the origin of the chant is revealed. In the end, with its various contraptions in Gangasagar’s tale, the chant sounds quite like a curse! A mantra that assures victory, but that which takes away much more in its wake. Read Gangasagar’s story closely and you would know why!

The current day portrayal of Indian politics is racy, edgy and there is a lot that is left to the reader’s imagination! Using perhaps every trick in the book, Sanghi’s weaved his tale around several real life incidents. After all, ‘real life’ politics is quite dramatic! In a way, my definition of politics being murky is also vindicated! But like I said before, it is the same thing that makes Chanakya’s Chant an enigmatic read. Take away the dirt from the story and there’s a dead book for you! Prahlad Kakkar after reading the book said, “It’s an awesome book…wonderfully researched…I wish politicians were literate enough to read it!” Mr Kakkar, I beg to differ. Our politicians have a scanty sense of humor! They would get busy taking notes from this book, its better we hide it in our bookshelves and save ourselves some more scams!

Sanghi’s writing is contemporary. An easy read, even the expletives used 2300 years sound very familiar to the ears! That perhaps has to do with the kind of readers the writer’s writing for. And who knows what slangs they used back in the day anyway? I however felt that some parts of the text could do with some strict editing. The sentences in a few places was long and winded, a chopping board would have been useful! There are quite a few intelligent repartees. Sanghi’s honesty in listing them down at the end of the novel is worth a pat.

Chandragupta Maurya driven by Chanakya’s vision unites Bharat under his dynasty. Chandni Gupta under Gangasagar Mishra’s tutelage goes into a third term as Prime Minister. Given the nature of coalition politics in our country today, that sounds like an idyllic situation. We are seeing how difficult it is to survive a second term at the centre…but then, in a novelist’s world anything is possible! Let us just revel in that…
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loved this book. agarwal's character was so much like the protagonist in the movie Guru More details loved this book. agarwal's character was so much like the protagonist in the movie Guru Hide details
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an enjoyable read. loved the way it balances two completely different storylines. I particularly liked the one written 2300 years ago. that section is all about conspirac.. More details

an enjoyable read. loved the way it balances two completely different storylines. I particularly liked the one written 2300 years ago. that section is all about conspiracy, murders, intrigue, revenge, sex, drunken kings and vishkanyas. Reminded me of the serial chandrakanta that used to come on DD when I was young. Ashwin Sanghi wanna read more of your works

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About Ashwin Sanghi

Ashwin Sanghi was born and raised in Mumbai in a Marwari business family. He is the youngest of thre...

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