Chanakya’s New Manifesto – To resolve the crisis within India

  • Title – Chanakya’s New Manifesto – To resolve the crisis within India.9789382277095_m_1_2x
  • Author – Pavan K.Varma
  • Publisher – Aleph Book Company promoted by Rupa Publications.
  • Genre – Non-Fiction
  • Pages – 244
  • ISBN – 978-93-82277-09-5
  • Price – 295 INR

Synopsis – Chanakya’s New Manifesto proposes a comprehensive blueprint for change in our country. We cannot continue as we are and must gather the resolve to bring in effective governance, a true democracy, a corruption free state, a security-conscious nation and an inclusive society. If we fail,India may never succeed. Our future is at stake and an urgent, effective action impending. The book analyses the multiple challenges facing the country today and proposes clear and unambiguous solutions to them.

Review – When I first held the book in my hands the first thought that struck my mind was why did the author choose Chanakya & his principles to find solutions to the problems and crises that beset contemporary India? I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the author has tried to answer this very question throughout the book. Chanakya 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 of establishment of India’s first great empire.

The author has drawn up a practical and detailed plan, modeled on Arthashastra, to bring about reform and change in the above mentioned key areas. To begin with, I’d like to congratulate the author on the in-depth knowledge of all the current issues being faced by our country and presenting the same in a very clear yet comprehensive manner. I totally agree with the author in the belief  that we as a country cannot continue as we are. But, ideas of change alone cannot bring about the change. They remain unproductive until people are willing to adopt them, to consider them , to debate and discuss them and finally to act on them even if they are implemented by the law makers.

The good part being the book suggests attainable change that is constructive in format and does not seek to dismantle, but to only rebuild the country on the foundations that have stood undisputed over time. The language is simple, lucid and the issues presented in a very easy to understand form.

Whether it is laying the foundation for an independent and effective Lokpal, or decriminalizing politics and successfully weeding out the corrupt, the solutions the author proposes are substantive, well within the constitutional framework, and can make all the difference between intent and action. The book is both a call to action as well as a deeply insightful account of the challenges facing the country today.

I sincerely hope those in power and in a position to usher these suggested changes get a chance to see this manifesto in a positive light, for we as countrymen will flourish and prosper only when our country does too.

What I liked about the book was firstly there are many of us who armchair criticize and find loopholes in the governance, very few offer panacea. This book offers one. Secondly, Pavan Varma  illustrates each crisis with specific examples and statistics, citing names and dates which sound well-researched. Some of the facts are startling and shocking.
Having said that, there are many points in the book that appeared more as wishful thinking rather than practically attainable changes. One of the major ones being, opening up of armament manufacturing to private parties, to which I do not agree. But still, since the suggested reforms are open to debate and argument, I strongly feel the book does put forward some aspects which most of us would agree whole-heartedly.
This book is not a light read but an attentive and definite read for anybody who has a stake in India’s future.

About the Author – Pavan K. Varma studied history at St Stephen’s College, Delhi, and took a degree in law from Delhi University. He has been press secretary to the president of India, official spokesman of the Foreign Office, director general of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, and India’s ambassador to Bhutan. Having taken premature retirement from the Indian Foreign Service, he now seeks to be actively involved in public life.

He has authored several acclaimed and bestselling books, among them, Ghalib: The Man, The Times; Krishna: The Playful Divine; The Great Indian Middle Class; Being Indian: The truth about why the 21st century will be India’s; Becoming Indian: The Unfinished Revolution of Culture and Identity and When Loss is Gain.
He has also translated into English the poetry of Gulzar, Kaifi Azmi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Rating : 3.5/ 5

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