Books - Non Fiction

Book Review: Chanakya’s Chant – Somewhat Impractical?

Chanakya’s Chant is a Historical/Contemporary Political Thriller written by the famous author, Ashwin Sanghi. This is his second book and I have already reviewed his third book, The Krishna Key, previously. Chanakya’s Chant has been published by Westland Ltd.

First, I must mention that this is indeed an excellent thriller and I finished reading it within 2 days. This book is a best-seller and deserves it. The concept of writing two stories that are separated by more than 2000 years side by side, without distracting or confusing the readers takes a lot of talent. I have mostly read only positive reviews about this book and many of them were justified – I too liked the book.

While my overall review of the book is positive, I would like to highlight certain minus points I found in the book.

While the story of Gangasagar (The political God Father) and modern Indian politics holds the reader’s attention, the events are impractical and far-fetched. I mean, if it was so simple to start a national party and make your candidate the Prime Minister of India, a lot of people might have (at least) tried to replicate the success formula.

Second, Mr. Gangasagar faces almost no major troubles (until the climax, where a weak opposition is thrown – but easily overrun), right from the municipal elections to the national elections! This, in-spite of the God Father staying in a simple house, in an unprotected area.

Third, Mr. Gangasagar uses the same dirty tactics (intimidation, coercion, etc) as every other person, but everyone (except him) submits timidly before his strategy. None of their counter plans affect him at all! OK, there is an attack on Chandini and an escape sequence, but that’s the only counter-attack. Until the climax, at least. In reality, will an opposition be so weak?

Fourth, Chandini, the ideal Prime Minister was selected based on her aptitude during school and was sent to the UK for higher studies. After coming back, she shows a great zeal of ambition (to become the PM) and with Gangasagar’s council, becomes quite adept at solving some major problems, crisis situations, etc. But, is that enough for an ideal Prime Minister?

My point is, the highlight was always on Gangasagar and his mastery, but Chandini is shown more like a pawn, than an able Prime Ministerial candidate. Could she handle situations in the absence of the God Father? Does Chandini have the characteristics to guide the nation and its people in the right direction?

Some minor points like the winning party having a vote base in just one state (UP) and coalition with one state (Bihar) and still managing to send and keep the Prime Minister for three full terms are not believable, as well.

That’s why I said the novel is somewhat impractical, but novels are meant to be impractical, anyway. What’s important, is perhaps the drama and entertainment, which is available in plenty. Yes, this book will make you go to it leaving all your work!

Even though Chanakya’s story (the other parallel story) is mentioned as fiction, I wonder how much of it actually happened. I mean, the truth should be close to what was depicted in the book, right? That’s the reason I bought this book – To know Chanakya’s story, and I was mighty impressed with the King Maker of Ancient India. It’s high time someone told the story of this ancient master, and kudos to the author for that.

  • You can buy Chanakya’s Chant by Ashwin Sanghi from Flipkart or in India. [Disclaimer: These are affiliate links. I may get a small commission if you click on these links and buy the product.]

Destination Infinity


  • Shilpa Garg

    I have read both the books… CC and KK. I liked Chanakya’s Chant. Agree with the loopholes that you pointed out. Another thing I’d like to point out is that while the book focuses on the intelligence and manipulative strategies of the two main protagonists, their protégées are projected as slightly dumb (which should/would not be the case actually!) for both Chandra Gupta and Chandini are always asking for detailed explanations for the actions and decisions of their respective gurus. 😐

    • Rajesh K

      I think the author wanted to portray what the Guru’s were thinking (to readers) and hence he is using the questions from other characters as a means to convey it. I feel, he could experiment with writing the thoughts as such, and presenting to the viewers as thoughts, and not dialogues.

      I am not sure about Chandini, but I am sure Chandragupta Maurya should have been no pawn!

      Destination Infinity

    • Rajesh K

      Generally I don’t do that – Reading a part of the book and keeping it aside, but nowadays I find myself doing it. Especially after Kindle reached my hands 🙂 Do read this book, it’s a good historical-cum-contemporary thriller.

      Destination Infinity

  • Praveen

    I stopped in mid-way of your blog-post. I want to read this book & waiting to get my hands on it. And you have got too much spoilers on this post. I will better read the book first. 🙂 Don’t want any preconceived notions in my head.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *