Review: Chanakaya’s New Manifesto

I was going through “The Bankster” when I got hold of this book and the title and the cover page seemed very interesting so I kept “The Bankster” on hold and started with “Chanankaya’s New Manifesto” by Pavan K. Varma.

Now one thing is for sure, St. Stephen’s graduates can write very well and have a command over the language and it wouldn’t be too much to say that it is the breeding ground for the academicians, top bureaucrats and politicians.

Although the author has written many books but this is the first book of his that I am read.

If I have to put the review of the book in one sentence I would say that the book is very well written and good yet so boring that if you are not interested in Indian politics or are fed up of listening “what’s wrong with India”, this book will bore you to death.

Certainly this book is not for everyone, probably it can be part of an academic text-book/guide.

The author begins by giving a brief about the great Chanakaya and his work Arthashastra. And based on the principles and teachings of Chanakaya, he tries to suggest solutions to problems within India today.

According to the author there are 5 main problem areas in our country:

  1. Governance
  2. Democracy 
  3. Corruption
  4. Security
  5. Inclusive Society

He goes on to explain the current problems in each area and then lays down the a manifesto (I wish it was a political party’s manifesto)  to deal with problems in each area.

Now the good part of the book is – the book reflects how experienced the author is that if he is suggesting some measures to fix the issues it’s not just any suggestion, they are well thought over. The author knows what works in India. For example when the author mentions that Presidential form of governance is often suggested and is good but might not work in India. He just doesn’t suggest any ‘ideal’ solutions but what can work for India.

The other good thing is he didn’t take up everything (as India has millions of problem areas) but concentrated on few most important, which if fixed will reflect the changes in other problem areas too.

The language is simple and reader can go through it quite easily.

Not so good part of the book is – again like I said before this book can bore you to death if you are not interested in reading about politics or all. Plus there is nothing earth shattering that is revealed in this book. If you live in India you probably know most of the  issues that are mentioned in the book plus you might also have come up with some of the fixes to the problem suggested in the book (off course not all,  the solutions are pretty comprehensive but still…).

At various points in the book the author sounds judgmental and the solutions itself starts seeming like a “AAP” party’s manifesto.

The author could have made this entire book more interesting in many ways rather than serving it so bland that readers have so hard time finishing it. Also in the times when all the time you hear the same thing about nation’s problems and people suggesting some or the other variations of what the author suggests, you don’t want to read another 250 pages of idealism.

Probably author should take a cue from another alumni of St Stephens Shashi Tharoor as how to write an interesting book Pax Indica even with a bland topic such as Foreign policy.


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Filed under Books, Reviews

2 responses to “Review: Chanakaya’s New Manifesto

  1. Hi,

    Nice review. Thanks for saving my bucks!


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