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Ashwin Sanghi's new book Chanakya's Chant transports you back to 340 BC.

Written by AmritaJain |
March 24, 2011 3:59:49 am

Ashwin Sanghi’s new book Chanakya’s Chant transports you back to 340 BC. A vivid Magadh appears,Takshashila comes alive and the world,as it was 2300 years ago,conjures up. A few pages later,the present re-appears – the streets,the sensibilities – all intact. What resonates is the aura of Chanakya,even in a small town in Uttar Pradesh. Sanghi,known for his brilliant prose linking the ancient to the contemporary,was in Pune on Tuesday for the launch of his second book.

Sanghi,writer of The Rozabal Line ,has tried to create a modern day Chanakya,in a bid to live up to his famous saying – ‘History repeats itself’. “I was always intrigued by Chanakya. During my research,I felt that the political setting 2300 years back,was not too different from what it is now. In fact,after reading around 12-13 titles,watching a series and talking to experts,I felt that there is a recurring pattern. History does repeat itself.”

The language in the book has generous doses of colloquial words and is garnished with street lingo. “You see,the reality of the world is something that I do not want to ignore. I cannot describe a street accurately without describing the filth it has! I have been asked a lot of times to tone down the language,but frankly,this is what the world is like,so why do we refrain? My readers are not children,it’s a grown-up audience I address my writings to.”

His witty answers and warm smile added streaks of fun to the conversation. “The present-day Chanakya’s character is very interesting to understand. How his mind unfolds,is something I loved to deal with.” Sanghi also feels that a lot of Indian writers are now writing novels that are set perfectly in Indian contexts. “For a very long time,we were writing for western audiences. But I see a change now. My generation does not have colonial legacies to deal with. We as a generation today love to read voices that are Indian. It’s a positive and welcome change.”

The writer is currently working on another history-based novel. “I have finished writing 30,000 words for it,and although I am bound by contract not to reveal more,the DNA of the book is steeped in history,” he says.

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