Yuhooo…two more books down..and this time they are the best sellers (as always) and that too Indian authors..Chanakya’s Chant and Scion of Ikshvaku
Chanakya’s was written by Ashwin Sanghi. I was wondering why haven’t I picked this author earlier. The book is superbly coherent even though the book spans across decades of generations. I felt like I am reading a David Baldacci, John Greesham, or Vince Flynn. The book is Indian thriller at its best. A bit about the book to set the pace. It is said that “king stay for a while but king makers stay forever”. The book is about two such “king makers”. One is Chanakya, author of Arth Shastra and the king maker for ‘Maurya’ dynasty. The other one is Gangasagar Mishra, destined to be a ‘king maker’. Each chapter alternates between the present of Gangasagar Mishra and past of Chanakya. The chapters have been written in way that you see kind of “history repeats itself”.
The author here does not try to justify anything or blame anything. Things in Politics are always nasty. The author lets the reader make his own choice. I felt angered, felt betrayed, and felt victorious. I was amazed with the characters at some points but I was equally piqued by the things they did at other points. Personally, I don’t have appetite for “using people for greater good and bigger picture” reasons. But more often than not one has to do nasty things to few malignant people for the sake of thousands of innocents. The book does not preach or teach anything. The book is plainly one of the many viewpoints a person would have seeing present political turmoil, not just in India but in any part of the world. King makers are everywhere and such games are played everywhere. Its upto you what you think of the game being played before you.
The author has brilliantly sewn the parts in such a coherent and succinct manner that there are no loose ends. The end is smooth and gives a perfect closure. Each of the characters have been given their due share and due closures. I was more surprised that the author has given his web sources for all of the research and for the quotes quoted by his characters. All in all a superbly written book.
As put by Shashi Tharoor, well known writer, Indian Diplomat and Politician, the book is delightfully interesting and gripping.
Scion was written by Amish Tripathi. Renowned director Shekhar Kapoor wrote about the author “Amish is India’s first literary popstar”. No other line would have best summed up Amish and his books. Amish is our very own Dan Brown, albeit in different avatar. I am a fan of Shiva Trilogy then and am a fan of Scion of Ikshvaku now. Shiva trilogy was truly mesmerizing for nobody was aware of Shiva as are of Ramayan and Mahabharat. Everyone knows and reveres Shiva as the ultimate destroyer yet kindest God. In comes Amish and portrays him as a human who rises from his “human nature” and attains “Buddha-hood” or God-status. The same is true with Scion as well. Ramayan is like kindergarten jingles to every Indian, yes not just Hindus but all other cultures and religions know. Thanks to TV and other medias and lots of pleasant, unpleasant situations. Yet, Scion is neither a retelling or a re-portrayal. It is different, not entirely but mostly. It is a sequel to Shiva Trilogy. And therefore expect the same themes -“masculine and feminine way of living”, “struggle between these two”, and a “man & his wife’s quest and efforts to bring in change suited for their present times”. I was apprehensive about reading this book first as I was reading (and left in between) Devdutt Patnaik’s Sita. But I must say I should have known that I was reading Amish and there is surprise. A pleasant surprise. If you have read Shiva and are a keen observer, you would know the style and narrative. Ram is hated by all but he does not return their hatred. Ram is deeply loved by few but he beholds laws and rules above all. Ram is calm on outside that does not show his inner struggle. Ram is a human who suffers like human not is treated as a God from birth. Ram struggles to know his path that of law and rules, walks his path bearing all the pain throughout. One will find new respect for Ram not because he is God but because he is human and rose to status of God through his own efforts and struggles. Every man, irrespective of religion, caste, color, can be a God. Amish perfectly drives home the point.
Equally competent is Sita. Not the one who merely follows rules and laws as it is her ‘marriage rule’. She has her own mind, has her own identity, makes her own decisions, fights her own battles. She is the fiercely independent woman and knows what she wants from herself and others. See a modern woman there? Wait. She also know how to take care and protect her family. See a traditional woman there? Wrong. She is a normal woman, who wants best of both worlds, and gets them through her own efforts and struggles. Amish perfectly drives home the point. I am amazed as to how Amish has portrayed his female protagonists. Very few have the capacity and capability to make the woman at par with the man. Kudos.
All in all, I loved the book. Eagerly waiting for next.