Chanakya’s Chant by Ashwin Sanghi is a bestselling novel published in the year 2010 by Westland Publications. This novel, many would agree, started a trend in Indian English fiction which juxtaposed itself with the trend started by Chetan Bhagat a little earlier – entertaining and second class romance vs retelling and realigning mythological and historical tales from Indian ancient scriptures and history. Chanakya’s Chant received unbound praises and also a certain amount of criticism for the author’s job.
While many would say that it is a fashion for the writers to go for romantic novels, it has certainly become a new trend to retell a historical perspective in a novel and present them in a contemporary way to appease, please and sometimes enlighten the young Indian book-reading audience. Ashwin Sanghi and Amish Tripathi are the two major writers in this field. Their writings depict the glorious past of ancient India and narrate them in a way that every reader can enjoy it. So, today, I am reviewing a book by Ashwin Sanghi ‘Chanakya’s Chant.’ I think we all are aware of Chanakya’s wisdom, valour and strength. The world recognizes him as a Brahmin who became a kingmaker and a legendary one!
Perspectives on the novel:
The writing style of Ashwin Sanghi is pretty different compared to others, his contemporary or his successors-predecessors. He uses to tell the story of the ancient past and put them into the contemporary world to simplify the things for a common reader. The novel has two storylines. One deals with the story of Chanakya and other deals with a contemporary Chanakya’s reincarnation because of a curse, Pandit Gangasagar Mishra. Both narratives have been linked in such a way that a reader can only do nothing other than appreciating it. It is a very new kind of experiment in the limited context of Indian English literature.
The first part of the story depicts the work done by Chanakya. It recalls the story of Alexandra and Porus. What we have been taught in our childhood, the story of Porus’ strength thas been recalled in the book. The story of Chandragupta and Chanakya also finds a deserving place in this novel and decorates it with further glory added to the policymaker of ancient India whose policies are still discussed and debated and whose name has become a metaphor, a hyperbole I would say. How a bad-looking Brahmin uprooted the great kingdom of Magadha and installed a suitable man Chandraguppta there – this story will be appreciated by the modern readers. It describes Chanakya’s wisdom and strategies to encounter any problem that came his way. Chanakya is a jewel of India and that jewel has been discussed in a pretty well-balanced way by the author. His strategies, wisdom, strength and support were always there to help India to be a developed nation.
The second part of the book discusses a fictional character, Pandit Gangasagar Mishra. He is like Chanakya of past who is determined to uproot the bad politicians from the ruling and putting there a suitable person who can uplift the condition of India. Well, was it an attack on the ruling Congress party? You can take this conjecture forward if you like. It is about modern-day of the years in India when corruptions and scams became normal and usually covered very first pages of Indian newspapers – scams, scams and scams. How politicians have become so corrupt and doing a lot of criminal activities which baffled Pandit Gangasagar Mishra and he became more and more determined to enter into a battle of strategies and policies and unity and team-building. Like Chanakya was determined with his strategies, in the same way, Gangasagr is determined to cleanse the political settings. Like Chanakya had a suitable disciple Chandragupta, in the same way, Gangasagar has also a disciple whom he wants to become the prime minister.
However, there are certain drawbacks of the novel. If you know the history well, you will be frustrated sometimes. Beauce the novel by Ashwin Sanghi, Chanakya’s Chant, has got many of the dates and timelines entirely wrong. Chanakya is quoting Dale Carnegie and all other that is beyond the imagination of anyone. Moreover, Gangasagar and Chanakya have been shown in a way that they can do anything for success. But it was not the truth! Chanakya always followed the path of righteousness or rather Dharma that does not teach anyone to deviate from the path of virtues to the path of sin. The honest thing is that we cannot expect the authors of the day to get everything right. Indian authors are trying their best to please the readers and anything else only comes later. Sanghi, in one of his interviews, even agreed that this novel was meant to be a thriller and not anything else. So, it makes things clear.
Well. the novel is a perfect piece for the literature lovers who love to read historical novels. However, if you are looking for a purely historical novel so that you will learn something about Chanakya and his time, then certainly this not meant for you. The novel creates a replica of Chanakya in the modern period. It deals with the past and puts it into the present frame to provide a roadmap for a better future. – nah! It’s called strategic writing to milk the most of the moment… Ashwin Sanghi has done great if that is the benchmark of success! You should read the novel if you are looking for entertainment and also a little to push you into thinking about things other than how many times and on which page numbers. You can buy the novel from Amazon India by clicking the link to Amazon below:
Buy the novel from Amazon – click here to go to Amazon India buy page
review by Amit for The Book Blog
Chanakya's Chant | Book Review
- The Book Blog Rating
Chanakya’s Chant by Ashwin Sanghi is a novel that puts the past and the present into a similar position and offers Chanakya the oar once again to sail the boat of a nation that he built…