Book review: Radhakrishnan Pillai’s ‘Chanakya In You’

'Chanakya In You' can be read for its sheer positivity and for the beginners, this might be just the right book to know about Chanakya and his king-making abilities.

Written by Sonal Gera | New Delhi | Updated: August 17, 2015 5:30:42 pm
Chanakya In You book cover Chanakya In You book cover

India is one of those rare countries whose spiritual heritage is as significant as its historical one. With leaders and thinkers as great as Swami Vivekananda, Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Mahatma Gandhi and Chanakya, ‘Hindustan’ is a delight for a learner’s mind.

The book ‘Chanakya In You’ introduces readers to one of such greatest thinkers – Chanakya. It’s about how an aimless youth sets off on a journey of self realisation and spirituality and yet, becomes the richest man in the world. The author Radhakrishnan Pillai gives an account of himself, led by his grandfather, on a quest of wisdom following the principles of Arthashasra.

The book starts on a quaint description of what youth feels like – aimless, confused and directionless, with others guiding and showing the path, a path that has already been tried and tested by many. The protagonist of the story, however, finds a different way and leads on.

Pillai writes the book as a semi-autobiographical account and keeps the language as simple as possible, to cater to every section of society, be it youth or old, a grammar nazi or a beginner. And that’s where he fails.

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In marketing, we are always taught the generic principles of “target audience”. One needs to decide who to target and then the market strategy of the product. This facet is somehow lost here.

The chapters end not in a subtle way and fail to make any impact the last chapter might have created.

Also, the youth starts from being aimless to rich to very rich and then accomplished in every manner. As good as it may sound, practical life isn’t all that easy. It surely is not a cakewalk. Too much of positivity curtails the message that the author might want to convey.

‘Chanakya In You’ does have its moments though. It does make you think about Arthashastra and Chanakya and gives a reason to find the ‘Chanakya In You’. It lays down the simplicity and the beauty of normal life and routine, which certainly lingers on the mind. But what takes away from this is the fact that the whole book seem but a description of how the author saw Arthashastra. So if you are looking for some sutras from the epic, you won’t find any.

The biggest lesson that this book gives is that one should not go for a job or occupation just for a salary, but for an experience, which again is not possible for many in today’s time and age. But for some, this just gives the right direction and full points to the author for bringing this up.

The other remarkable lesson is about being a king maker rather than a king. How I wish, it was a bit more elaborated.

By the end, the book somewhat becomes an archetypal fiction waiting for a happy ending, which, though is abrupt, endearing too.

‘Chanakya In You’ can be read for its sheer positivity and for the beginners, this might be just the right book to know about Chanakya and his king-making abilities. A great concept and a light read, but could have been better.

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