… by Ashwin Sanghi
Two thousand years ago , there existed this brilliant king-maker, economist and tactician. After his father’s murder under an egotistical king, he made it his life’s purpose to unite Bharat into a single sovereign under a worthy ruler. He was VishnuGupta , better known as Chanakya ,the son of Chanak. In an unstable Bharat which is facing the imminent threat of the invincible Alexander , the comprising kingdoms are busy fighting among themselves leaving their subjects to the mercy of the Gods. Chanakya identifies potential in the son of the chief army general and takes it upon himself to make ChandraGupta the ruler of Bharat. He plots mercilessly to meet this goal. He brews trouble between kingdoms , manipulates many people and tweaks a lot many circumstances to achieve this aim.
In the present day we have Pandit Ganagasagar , a lowly history teacher , who learns the rope of politics and vows to counter the corruption , poverty and waywardness plaguing India. He finds a suitable candidate in young Chandni Gupta. While grooming her for the post of the Premier, he works very hard to build a new political party and garner enough support to wield power at the central level. He employs a repertoire of political gimmicks like manipulating oppositions , blackmailing high-placed officials and even smoothing international relations!
The book basically comprises of two stories narrated in a parallel manner to the reader ,of course each of them pausing at tantalizing moments. The protagonists are wily teachers who do not want to hold the reins to great power. As Chanakya guides ChandraGupta , Gangasagar grooms Chandni for the highest power in India. What follows is a series of cleverly plotted events that ultimately leads to success in both the stories. The pitfalls and the master-plans are detailed in a very realistic and well researched manner. The games of politics and the idea that every event can be controlled is laid bare in front of the reader. But the best thing about the storylines are that instead of each of the gurus mirroring each other, we have both of them coming up with different but suitable plans for their wards advancement in their present eras. This makes for a lot of unpredictability in the story and good thrills for the reader.
Political intrigue is the crux of the book. Being straight and naive will not get you anywhere , the author seems to say. One has to manipulate every circumstance and luck plays zero part in these games. If you have strategized well enough then everything will definitely go through your way. Necessary sacrifices for the greater good are ruthlessly made in the stories. Just as Chanakya gives up his love for the country , Gangasagar does not tolerate anyone who tries to tarnish Chandni’s reputation.
Reading this review you may get alarmed at the ruthless power hunger , but these king makers do not, for one minute, forget that they are doing this for the good of the country and the society , to bring in a ruler and a time which the common man deserves. This aspect , I must say, has been beautifully captured by the author. This may not be the best of the books I have read , but kudos to the author for the masterful plot and the obvious research of current and ancient politics. The events in the book are very much plausible and give a true insight of a real life power struggle.
A definite must read.
My Rating – 4