Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Book Review: Chanakya’s New Manifesto by Pavan Varma

Book: Chanakya's New Manifesto
Author: Pavan Varma
No. of Pages: 248
Genre: Non-Fiction, Political and Social Commentary
Publisher: Aleph Book Company

For a change, I opted to review a non-fiction work on Blog Adda and I must say that I wasn't disappointed. Chanakya's New Manifesto is about solving the current problems plaguing the country with help from age old concepts and core principles prescribed by Chanakya. By the way; the full title of the book (main title and the sub heading and sub text reads: "Chanakya's New Manifesto to Resolve the Crisis within India") and the book does justice to the title.  
The author does a decent job of identifying the problems which India, as a country, is facing now and also makes an attempt at understanding the source of the problems. As an ordinary citizen of India, I was able to closely identify with the problems and the source of the problems.
As a learned Politician, Administrator or Academician; I might have been able to judge the authenticity and correctness of the assumptions, deductions and connections made by the author. But I was satisfied at reading one man's thoughts on how the Indian situation could still be salvaged.
The author places his thoughts in a very objective manner and you find yourself nodding your head in agreement at several instances in the book … even when he challenged Democracy and other 'usually considered good' things. The book is convincing.
The book is Current. It has references from as recent as 2012 and it often gives you a feel of reading a long editorial on India's state of affairs in a Sunday newspaper rather than a book. The author takes us through a journey from Independence to the current year (not just current times / decade) and shows how each of these 5 areas overwhelmed a system which was created for Free India by our leaders of those times. Then in individual chapters, each of the 5 areas is dealt in detail with razor sharp focus with clear recommendations. He also looks at existing recommendations by various committees and individuals and Election Commission and comments on their suitability, feasibility and utility.
The author has identified 5 core areas which are the primary causes of the problems in our country (the areas themselves are not problems; the way they have shaped up in last 60 years is). These are
  1. Governance
  2. Democracy [the Indian variety]
  3. Corruption
  4. Security and
  5. Inclusive Society (which we are not).
The author shoots holes in each of these areas in Indian context and lays threadbare the sorry state of affairs of our country.
We often criticize our country and its state (infra, education, corruption and so on) but most of the times, we talk out of thin air with perceptions and generic statements. This book actually says the same, based on facts and analysis … and goes ahead and recommends ways and means of changing that.
I wish there were certain men and women in power (political power) who would take cues from the book and have the courage to apply some of the suggestions and action plans to make the country better. I know it is wishful thinking but then I am a hopelessly hopeful optimistic idiot who thinks that someone would actually have the guts to take the recommendations in the book seriously enough to implement them successfully.
This review is a part of the biggest  Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda. Participate now to get free books!

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