In ostensible yet unworthy efforts to showcase his bountiful knowledge and linguistic conquests, the author Ashwin Sanghi has compromised the natural flow of the book ‘Chanakya’s Chant’. This unnecessarily long book can be broadly divided into two parts moving simultaneously with one another. While one is taking place in the present day, the other nearly 4500 years back, before Chandragupta was formally coronated as the King of Magadha through the sometimes marvelous-sometimes crooked plots of Chanakya.
While the latter begins on an interesting premise, the present-day version is pathetic. The protagonists are shown as omniscient characters having authority over literally everything in the world. Whenever any trouble crops up, the person named Gangasagar has an immediate solution in his mind. He can manipulate the US President, he can maneuver Chinese diplomats, he can install his proteges in all the Government institutions. He can do whatever he likes. In order to make him look like modern-day Chanakya, the author has often failed to instill any credibility of the character. He can even be identified as the novel version of Chacha Chowdhury!
Like all his other books, Ashwin Sanghi is always over-the-top, always willing to prove his literary superiority and like all his other novels, here, too he has messed up the promising premises he began with. In fact, none of the characters of the modern-day story looks believable. Some of those even near buffoonery. While Chanakya’s crooked acts can be justified as his dream for a unified Bharat, the same can not be said for those of Gangasagar, none of which, good or evil, are comprehensible. The other characters, too lack any depth and are difficult to bear with.
The ancient part of the story after promising so much in the beginning gradually loses its grip and ends up like its modern counterpart- uninteresting, unimaginative, unbelievable and utterly disappointing and disturbing. Even if Ashwin’s courage for distorting historical facts on account of creating a drama can be condoned, the sin for punishing the readers through this soulless saga deserves severe criticism, to the extent of not recommending any of his future books unless he tries to be sober, grounded and more realistic from his next venture. Meanwhile, he can take a bridge course from Amish on how to make saintly characters look earthly.