Author: Ashwin Sanghi
Best seller : The Rozabal Line
The year is 340 B.C. A hunted, haunted Brahmin youth vows revenge for the gruesome murder of his beloved father.
Cold, 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 succeeds in installing Chandragupta on the throne of the almighty Mauryan empire.
History knows him as the brilliant strategist Chanakya.
Satisfied-and a little bored- by his success as a kingmaker through the simple summoning of his gifted mind, he recedes into the shadows to write his Arthashastra, the 'science of wealth'.
But history, which exults in repeating itself, revives Chanakya two and a half millennia later, in the avatar of Gangasagar Mishra, a Brahmin teacher in smalltown India who becomes the puppeteer to a host of ambitious individuals- including a certain slumchild who grows up into a beautiful and powerful woman.
Modern India happens to be just as riven as ancient Bharat by class hatred, corruption and divisive politics- and this landscape is Gangasagar's feasting ground. Can this wily Pandit-who preys on greed,venality and sexual deviance-bring about another miracle of a united India?
Will Chanakya's chant work again?
"How is she," asked Gangasagar.
"Fine," said Menon, "the bullet grazed her right shoulder. A few stitches, some dressing and antibiotics-and she should be ready to go."
"Did you meet the former police commissioner?"asked Gangasagar.
"Yes. I'd told him that it should be her right side, not left. Too much risk of her heart being in the vicinity." explained Menon.
"How many times has the scene been replayed on Doordarshan?"
"Around fifty times."
"Get the press photos of Chandani's head being cradled in Anjali's lap. Put it on posters with the slogan- I am willing to shed every drop of my blood in service of my people. Have thousands of posters printed and plastered over the city. I want her to be a martyr without having died!"
2300 years ago
"But is it wise to exile him? He's an ally of Paurus and will flee to Kaikey with a view to raising troops. Paurus will only be too happy to support his endeavour. After all, Sinharan's ascension to the throne means that Mallayrajya is no longer a vassal of Kaikey," Mehir had exclaimed.
"You are absolutely right, Mehir. And that's why I need him eliminated-but not officially. The population of Mallayrajya must love their new ruler, Sinharan. He should appear kind, fair, just, truthful and benevolent. It's vital that Sinharan's uncle be seen leaving the kingdom-unharmed and unhindered-along with his family and supporters."
"And then?" asked Mehir, knowing the answer and also knowing that it was an answer that would remain unspoken.
'Adi Shakti, Namo Namah; Sarah Shakti, Namo Namah; Prithum Bhagvati, Namo Namah; Kundalini Mata Shakti; Mata Shakti, Namo Namah,'
'If the chant is recited four hundred timees a day over four thousand days, the orator shall have Chanakya's powers to actualise another leader- so long as it's a woman. In the new age, Shakti must trump Shiva!'
This is the Chanakya's Chant!
With this book, I feel Indian authors are now making some serious books rather than every engineering graduate turned author's same old story!
This book has all that makes it a best seller!
A good storyline, good research of history, mythology, philosophy and a good blend into the present life.
The books is written in alternating segments between the story of Chanakya about 2300 years ago and the fictional tale of Gangasagar based in present times.
Both the segments are equally gripping, strong, intelligent and cold!
The book clearly depicts how politics and issues like corruption, terror, caste divide were same about 2300 years ago like they are now. The politicians manipulating the news and killing of the innocent are also very same. The only consolation for the gruesome killings and injustice you feel while reading the book is that both the mentors have killed their conscience for the larger good of the masses- by providing a good leader.
An engrossing read not just for entertainment but also for some knowledge. This sure deserves to be read and kept in your collection. IT is timeless and relevant whenever you read it.
Ratings: 4.9 on 5. This is one of the highest I have given to any book.
Price: Rs 195/-