Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Book Review: Chanakya’s New Manifesto by Pavan K Varma

On the jacket:

Chanakya (c. 270-380 BCE) was classical India's greatest thinker and teacher. Through his unparalleled ability to devise result-oriented military, political, and administrative strategy, he overthrew one king, crowned another and paved the way for the establishment of India's first great empire. His seminal work, the Arthashashtra, arguably the world's first comprehensive treatise on statecraft and governance, was written approximately two thousand years before Machiavelli's The Prince. 

What would Chanakya do if confronted with the various crises that beset contemporary India? Using this question as the starting point for his new book, celebrated writer and thinker Pavan K. Varma has drawn up a practical and detailed plan, modelled on the Arthashashtra, to bring about reform and change in five key areas that require urgent attention governance, democracy, corruption, security, and the building of an inclusive society. Whether it is laying the foundation for an independent and effective Lokpal, or decriminalizing politics and successfully weeding out the corrupt, the solutions he proposes are substantive, well within the constitutional framework, and can make all the difference between intent and action. 

Chanakya's New Manifesto is both a call to action as well as a deeply insightful account of the challenges facing the country today. It is a book that should be attentively read by everybody with a stake in India's future. 


 After studying Economics for seven years and management for two, I gave it  all up the day I was done with university. My grades were good, I used to romance the subject. But I never missed it since I changed industries in my career. Until I picked up  Chanakya's New Manifesto by Pavan K Kumar. I am not a great fan of non-fiction, but this subject is something close to the heart, deep down and I really wanted to know Varma is suggesting. 

While I was reading the summary, the first doubt that came to my mind was, what would people from non-economics/management backgrounds make of it. So I put the book aside and tried to check out some reviews. The book seems to be very well-received, indeed. 

There are no paragraphs after paragraphs of boring, uninformative lines. This book is precise and the author has actually stated everything in points. Reminded me of curriculum book, in a pleasant way. Varma's vision is impressive. If what he is suggesting can be implement, even half of it, we can actually see a brighter future. Or so I personally feel. The author does make it clear and mention that the book is a blue print. 

A lot of what Varma suggests is do-able. Yes, we are too large a country with problems the size of dinosaurs. But again, the fact remains, we have to begin somewhere. A brutally honest book, Chanakya's New Manifesto points out the problems we are facing, with probable solutions. As citizens, this is our option to stop expecting from the government and try at our end as well.

Governance, Corruption, Democracy, Security and Building An Inclusive Society ~ Varma has taken these five aspects and delved further into them. Varma has structured everything around Chanakya's own theories and explained them well. Once might get tempted to read Arthashastra after reading this book, but with in itself, the book is extremely informative as well. 

We are plagued by insuffiecint corruption and a government (as well as opposition) which we are slowly losing hope from. There is no point in denying we are stuck in a vicios circle of a corrupt system, archiac policies and inefficient governance. Whoever we vote for, our problems will not change. Our future is bleak and only we can change it, at least make it a bit better. Very well thought of and crisply-planned, stage by stage, Chanakya’s New Manifesto shows signs of hope, if implemented, even partially. We have a huuge problem, and here is someone who has suggested what seems like a do-able and positive solution. What we need to do is, do it! What say India? Can we?

My rating: ****/5 

ISBN : 978-93-82277-09-5
Publisher : Aleph Book Company
Genre : Non-Fiction

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program at BlogAdda for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

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