Chanakyas Chant

“History repeats itself,
in search of a cure, 
for the curse laid upon the king of games… 
The soul is in search of the person,
who can survive the dirty games of statecraft…
In this search of curse and cure history unveils the games of destiny…”
 
Ashwin Saghai, the entrepreneur cum writer has been well into the history, mythology and politics. Historical fiction being his passion and hobby, he has written the national best seller  “The Rozabal Line”.   Chankyas chant is his second installment  in the genre.  The recent trends of mixing mythology/history with the modern-day concepts have become  viral among the authors  and Chanakyas Chant belongs to this category.
As the name suggests this fiction refreshes the story of the greatest game changer in the history of India – Chanakya. So whats so refreshing about this fiction ? Is it just the story of Chanakya and his tactics ?  I would say a big NO. The story line interweaves the life of Chanakya and his modern avatar- Pandit Gangasagar Mishra.
 
Chanakya was one shrewd  philosopher, economist and adviser, whose words of wisdom are relevant even today. Chankyas chant tries to explore its relevance in  modern-day politics via Chanakyas modern day representative – Pandit Gangasagar Mishra. This book is an answer to how  Chanakya will fight in the dirty political arena if set in the modern times. The portrayal of Pandit Gangasagar Mishra as the modern day avatar of Chankya enthrall the reader with current issues. It’s questionable how much justice was given to his character.
It also depicts the growth of both Chanakya and Pandit Gangasagar Mishra. Whenever the cry of ordinal is ignored by the government there shall arise the person who feels the need for change and will strive hard to revenge back.
Ashwin have used the usual allegations and pathetic conditions of the country and questions its citizen :
‘Citizens of Magadha, this tyranny has continued far too long. The imperial thug, Dhanananda, has imprisoned the only minister capable of standing up to him. Are we going to stand here helplessly while we see a guardian of the kingdom—the wise and illustrious prime minister Shaktar—be treated in this shameful manner? How many more farmers have to commit suicide because the tax inspectors of Dhanananda loot their grain? How many more soldiers must die in battle because their armor has been compromised to make wine goblets for the king’s pleasure? How many more mothers must cry over the corpses of their violated young daughters? How much longer are we going to tolerate this evil sovereign?
It also shows how the one who stand against the government with out power is oppressed.
His mouth was firmly clenched shut, a silent reminder of one of his favorite—and now unfortunately ironic—maxims: ‘A man who opens his mouth too often may end up meeting a tragic end, either from indigestion or execution!’
The realization sweeps in – one who tolerates the injustice will have to pay for it and the one who attacks without  defense will often be pulled out of the game.
The book also sheds light into the ugly side of politics. The government wishes to keep its people illiterate and uneducated. The more the people get educated there are chances they question the activites of the government. Nullyfying that and dividing them, not allowing to form a joint force, thats the perfect way to maintain a vote bank.
It also points out the mentality of Indian citizens, the way we are tolerant to all the things happening around as if it wont effect us. We Indians continue to adore renunciation. It’s a tradition that has come down to us from the ancient yogis. Gandhiji was a modern yogi, in that sense.
 
The power of money is yet another factor.  Even when sayin money is the root of all evil, modern-day Chanakya states that sometimes a man needs roots.
Chanakya states : “The king, the minister, the country, the fortified city, the treasury, the army and the ally are the constituent elements of the state”
It also touches the sensitive issues like caste based reservation in our country .
 ‘Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution guarantee every Indian citizen freedom as well as equality before the laws of the land. Reservation for those who had been left behind by Indian society was indeed part of the Constitution when it was framed and adopted in 1950. Those who framed the Constitution themselves believed that it was a temporary measure and would last for ten years. But several decades later we still find reservation in place. Doesn’t this tell us that India has made very little progress in bringing the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward classes into the mainstream of India? Is it time to take another look at the policy and decide whether it has actually worked? 
The take on these untouchable topics make the story unique and more appealing to the reader. The story is predictable if you have little knowledge of Chanakyas life and his tactics.
The satire is webbed such that the reader falls into the enchanting political games.
If you are not a big fan of political fictions where the background is laid out by the historical element, it may not be able to please you. Also the continues flips may chock the course of the story. Overall its a good book for casual reading, with less enchanting moments.

SHIVA TRILOGY PART 2

THE SECRETS OF NAGAS

Satyam Shivam Sundaram
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The fast paced thriller experience of Shiva trilogy discontinued at ‘Immortals of Meluha’ refresh itself with the adrenalin rushing experience of ‘The secrets of Nagas’.After the hearty welcome received by Immortals of meluha, Amit must surely have been in the pressure to match up with the standard of the first book .And he had successfully laid a new standard to the “Indian lords of rings”.

The moment you start reading, you will feel the adrenalin rush. The refreshing story line continues with the fast paced action thriller which leaves the readers at the verge of heart attack. He anticipates the readers to keep guessing and at one moment makes the readers think that finally we reached the centre of the maze. But don’t underestimate the skill of the writer because he will suddenly change the flow and will lay his cards carefully without giving out what is in store for us. As the story continues prediction become impossible. It will make you turn the pages impatiently to know what secret will be revealed.

Introduction of characters like Ganesh and Kali will show the torn aments endured by the under privileged people in the society. In every society that proclaims it to be more civilized than others must have done the biggest injustice to its people knowingly or unknowingly? There will be a section that has to suffer for others deeds .A peaceful life that we all lead may be because of the sufferings and sacrifices of others. If each person keeps this simple truth in mind then we can awake the lost values in this world. It will make each individual think twice that we are not the superiors but we are the people who benefit from others sacrifice.

If people believe that sins of the past life can impact this life, won’t they at least try to lead a better life this time around? Even those believes that doesn’t seems to have a validity is found to be more meaningful when it comes from Vasudevs.Believes are sometimes made for leading a moral life. The perspective in which we accept those makes the difference.

The clues that the author gives us is much similar to that of Dan Browns stories. But comparing them will be an injustice to these gifted writers. Both keeps up an identity that stands out.
The reader will feel like as if he is in a game where he is being played as a pawn…here you can’t understand your enemy leave it, you wont even identify who it is.The puzzle become more complex as the clues given by vasudev pandits puts you in a whirlpool, but their questions can surely change the whole game only if you decrypt them correctly.

Prince of Ayodya, Bagirath is a person who had to suffer the sabotage from others but he had the strength to stand upon his feet and that what makes him my favourite. He always had the knowledge about his strengths and weakness which is an essential trait of a great personality. He might have lived under restrictions but his inner fire never estinguished.His life portrayed the strength of his inner spirit and self esteem. If you have the strength to believe in yourself even after all the stones are thrown at you,then believe that god will not tolerate your falls. There are many people who suffer such circumstances and bow down to the bullying but Bagirath was a man of his mind and that’s what made Shiva take him as his companion for his puzzle reading.

Walking away from the usual path of a hero, devoid of any punch dialogues, its Shiva’s humour that brings a small smile on the reader. It shows his care free nature and childishness. His words have the power to change the ambience, the seriousness changes into a light hearted melody.
‘Now don’t get so dramatic! I am not about to ask you to commit suicide right after having worked strenuously to save your life.’

‘You are elder to me. You cannot deny me the right to seek your blessings. So please do so quickly. My back is hurting from bending so long’
Who cannot smile to these innocent questions?
Ugrasen, the Prince of Magadha. Is the true example of the selfish leaders who exploit others for their own good?.When power becomes their weakness, they won’t mind to stoop too low.

We also witness the contrast between the masculine and feminine way of life .Truth, Duty and Honour being the code of masculine ; Passion, Beauty and Freedom is reflected in feminine way of life.through the views Anandmayi and Parvteshwar the characteristics of these two sides are reflected .Anandmayi and Parvateshwar are the representatives of these two life styles. Their contrast is very clear but at the same time they are inseparable.The union of masculine and feminine life balances the nature.This simple well-known concept is showcased through their love story.

Shiva never stepped back in accepting his mistakes. He just simplifies it “If I have made a mistake, I must apologize”. This makes it clear that Shiva was not born with silver spoon in mouth but his qualities made him identify the Mahadev in him. We could also get a little glimpse of his childhood spent with his uncle delivering an oath of vayuputra, which seems to be a link to the third book in the series.

At first the lord of people and his Mausi were found to be really mysterious. But the adventures of Sati leads to major events that are eye opener to various untold stories. There was only one moment in the story when Sati was tongued tied,that too before a  Naga.It was the incident that made her think about the verity of her Meluhian culture. The proud that she felt for being a meluhian was tarnished and the rebel in her broke out.With the successive events unfolding, she just realises the cruelty she had to face from her own father. The obsession of the Meluhian King for his daughter made him against his own daughter.

The agony of major Uma of Bangra for the late arrival of Neelkand made him realise how long people of India have waited for him.After those incidents we witness a Shiva who decides to take up the responsibilities of the people regardless of his identity of being a Mahadev.  He decides to fight as Shiva and doesn’t bother to seek the  answer for his identity.

There is a circumstance which clearly indicates the need to modify the rules with the changes in circumstances.
“Rules made thousands of years back, in a different land, by people who don’t know us or our circumstances, will govern every aspect of our life?’ this scream of a victim cannot be let unheard. A rule that is suitable at a time may not be suitable for other. With time, change is essential and that’s important for the strengthening of a community.
The lessons from Branga, a kingdom rich with gold but struggling to simply stay alive echoes the real value of life and slaps the money oriented life style of the present generation.

We can see Parasuram as the bandit who retells his story in a modern perspective.While the story line remains same,there’s just some slight fluctuations in the context.Parashuram’s story trace the honour killing that exists in our community.When the people in the clan believe a woman in their community has insulted the honour of her family, the clan has the right to kill that woman and everyone else with her to avenge their loss of face.
Amish have really got the talent to incorporate the mundane life in a traditional story line.He encapsulates the traditional story to materialize with the current context.

When the hooded figures expose the ugly truth of the  Meluhians, we can see the rejoining of a mother  son duo .The misunderstandings,the revelations ,the family bonds and  many more emotions flush through the chapters.
Shiva’s thirst to avenge the death of his beloved friend had lead him to the world of mysteries which seems to tighten around leaving no loopholes.The story ends with a  major twist leaving the readers at another tangling position,but with the promise to continue with The Oath of Vayuputras.

Every turn you take is a direction to the new perspective. What you see directly will only be a partial truth. The search of truth will change the perspective of the viewer.Understanding the hidden meaning is the challenge that this book offers.This is not just  a story that you read and pass but it has the power to make you think .

The direction of this journey is unpredictable just like the calm cooling  breeze. There is coolness in it which will not tire the traveller but it will also try to ignite a carving, to relinquish ourselves in it.

Through ‘The secrets on Nagas’ Amish is trying to hold the loosened threads together to make the web that he has created in ‘The immortals of Meluha’.It was really a thrilling experience just like Dan browns .Sometimes we may feel the trap deepening with each step we takes.It leaves the thirsty readers and expect more from ‘The oath of Vayuputras’.

SHIVA TRILOGY PART 1

IMMORTALS OF MELUHA

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Om Namah Shivayi.

The universe bows to Lord Shiva. I bow to Lord Shiva.

Amish, an IIM graduate created a gripping mythological plot by breaking the rooster coop of the traditional writing style. He combined the essence of mythology, philosophy and adventure in Shiva Trilogy. The author contemplates the readers to think about the possibility of Lord Shiva in blood and flesh, who was raised to be a god because of his karma. He urges us to think out of the realm of human imagination and learn the lessons of life with the humble Shiva. Thus the nomadic journey begins.

‘The Immortals of Meluha’ is the primary key that connects us to the world of Meluha.Amish introduces Shiva as a village head who was forced to take a shelter in the metro politician city of Meluha far away from his Himalayan roots. When the author describes Meluha, we may find him narrating the old tales of our land Bharath.The very old rich traditions, customs and the decline of the country and the rise after hitting the rock bottom will show the connections between meluha and Bharath.

The social norms, the culture, the sophisticated and modernized civilization of meluhians show one side of the coin. The well built laws and social systems of meluha are quiet interesting and terrific.Those laws can be found as the exact replica of which existed in our olden systems.Maika system of meluha can be found as the fairest system that validates a person based on his talents and not on his ancestry.This can be an antidote to the old system of cast discrimination or to the existing reservation system.

You will come across the familiar characters like Nandi, ayurvathi, Brahaspathi and parvatehswar who will unleash the story which their land beholds. The arrival of the Neelakand, the title which Shiva couldn’t accept just because his throat turned to be blue will lead him to the prophecy, untouched stories and the ugly face of Meluha.In the beginning we can find a Shiva who is an absolute slacker but as the story progress we can find him as a listener, a student, a rebel and a policy maker.

The most interesting part is, which is rich in philosophy and full of banters of the vasudev pandits.The way they make Shiva understand the real meaning of the title which he is bestowed and the way they generate a carving in Shiva and of course the readers for the lessons, make us think, are leaves really green in colour?

The precision of passing knowledge as if measured, only to quench the thirst and not more will leave us in search of more and more.

The innocent and the impatient Shiva who tries to confirm if he is the real neelkand, and the answers of the vasudaves create a mysterious ambience to the whole story.
The simplicity of arguments is the strength of this story. All passages are eye opener and will make the reader ponder in wild thoughts.

His meeting with Lady Sati was not written in an extraordinary manner where the male shows the dominance but with the natural human emotions. There is surely a spark and it is kept in limit. There is a specific unwritten line which both keeps up.

“Sati had a calm confidence which had not covered the ugly distance towards arrogance” this was Shiva’s first impression about Sati. Sati is one such formidable character in this story who will make us awe in respect. Shiva’s urge to impress his lady love and the mistakes he makes is an eye opener to the cruel Vikarma system.

Vikarma system is another representation of the untouchable culture prevailed in our society. Shiva took a stern stand against the law by taking the blessings of the impure .The teasing of pundits about his concern for all the vikarma or just the one, brings a small smile on the readers…
Sati’s challenge of agnipareekaha to save Shiva’s dignity was a thrilling experience enriched with Shiva’s planning and sati’s braveness in execution.When sati takes the Agni baan to protect her love, Shiva was tangled at the “sun and earth” poem.
 

Lord Daksha playing the cupid between Shiva and Sati and his efforts to withdraw the rules of vikarma all shows his immense love for his daughter.Daksha is shown as a character who spend his whole life trying to impress others. You can find him as a weak character who is a little selfish and a great manipulator.

It’s with great respect that one can view the character of Parvateshwar.His loyalty to Lord Rama and his nation are worth admirable. His reluctance to accept neelkand and the violations of Rama’s laws proves his conventional mind set and tough exterior.
 
Never think that it’s just a Shiva tale, we can see lord Rama, the maryada purushotam who established order out of the chaos. We can also find the suryavanshis and chandravansis who are the arch nemesis. And their differences in approach reflect in their administration and socio-political life. If one is the sun other is the moon, without both existences are impossible. They are the two faces of the same coin.

Shiva’s journey from a nomad to a mahadev gives an insight into the role of a mahadev.A man become mahadev only when he fights for good. He is the one who absorbs the negatives. He is forged into the heat of battle when he wages a war to destroy the evil.
 Har har mahadev
This slogan resounds in our ears telling that each of us is Mahadev.Strive to be a Mahadev and you will be one. Its ones karma that determines mahadev   no gender, no cast, no creed can block you from unleashing yourself.
 
 

The strength of this book is the wonderful meaning that each passage holds which make us to map them to the current socio-political ambience. A satire is created which criticizes the society and its deeds in a curt manner.

Another important characteristic of this book is its fast pace, it will attack you with the twists and turns that you will be forced to go along with the flow. The constant attacks on meluha by hooded figures will put the readers in a maze.as the story progress the mystery will entwine and will take the story to new levels.


The splendid adventure that Shiva provides and the innocence with which he tries to analyze the situation and read through the unread , seeking the help of Nandi to understand the unknown shows the true Mahadev.The pandemonium of Shiva while he understands the basis of his journey  will keep the readers at tangling points. His search to find what is evil will make the readers to interrogate the story to solve the puzzle. It’s truly a magical voyage.
 

This book is one such journey where we can expect anything. Expect the unexpected that’s what the story holds with it. Serendipity causes major twists and turns in the story. It will bombard with you in such a way that it will make you think what will happen next. Refrain yourself and enjoy the journey of the Shiva from a nomad to a Neelakand.If you read the first book of this series then it’s sure that you won’t be able to hold yourself back from grabbing other two books. The sly voices of vasudev pandits will enchant our mind even after the story ends.

Revealing the original Shiva will surely engross the readers and make them forget that they have reached the end leaving a frown, why did it stop here??