Crux: The books revolves around the political journey of two men- Chanakya (2300 years ago) and Pandit Gangasagar Mishra (in today's India). The book cuts through the tunnels of rivalries, political up-heals, economic instabilities, lecherous humans and the quest for power. It alternates in chapters between both the stories in which The GURUS essentially follow the same guidelines to help their favorite pupils rise to power in the land of India.
Storyline: The story starts with the old men GangaSagar lying on a hospital bed and not waiting for his cancer to take his life but waiting for what he waited for an eternity- the oath taking ceremony of the new prime Minister of India, his pupil Chandani Gupta. From there the writer has beautifully captured the essence of Chanakya's brilliant economic and political shastras that he (and MishraJi) used to make ChandraGupta Maurya as the King of Magadha and united Bharat.
My views: I could never understand 'Arthashastra', however after reading this book I am ready to give another try. The books captures your interest and lets you digest the 'how does the money work' slowly. From the economic aspects it moves to the political motives and struggle. In Hindi it's an apt answer to - 'Satta ka Sangharsh' but with the difference that MishraJi had the whole movie planned in advance. Anyone associated to the land of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh could connect to the caste politics and regional playoffs common to the region. The book never moves out of the center line of crude intellect and passion. The incidents that happened with Chanakya and the way he dealt with them are almost the same for MishraJi. The selflessness of both the individuals as compared to their goal for attaining power for someone else is what I liked most in the book. The Sanskrit versus used convey hard core meaning and make all the more impact in certain situations. Only when you go through the whole book you understand the meaning of the phrase ‘ Adi Shakti Namo Namah..’. These illustrations are not used for the weight of the words but have a deep meaning. The chapters that enlighten the love or romantic moments of Chanakya have been portrait with a care depicting Chanakya’s character and keeping the rhythm of the book along.
However, the depiction of illicit affair of the female protagonist is a little made out and conveys a meaning out of the films of mid 80s. After reading the first 5-6 chapters, you can almost make out at certain moments what will be the reaction of MishraJi to situations. The book has areas where you start thinking that is it possible in today’s world. But covering the whole length it gave me new light and knowledge to understand the intricacies of The System. I am much convinced that the book deserves no less than 4 stars on 5.
The book is a must read for someone who appreciates money and considers Indian politics as the greatest art and not a mere dirty game. It is a no nonsense book for its beauty and characterization.