08 March 2013

Chanakya's Chant: Ashwin Sanghi




The year is 340 BC. A hunted, haunted Brahmin youth vows revenge for the gruesome murder of his beloved father.

Cold, cunning, 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 mighty 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 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 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?

Post a Comment