Just finished reading ‘Chanakya’s New Manifesto’ authored by Pavan K. Varma.
A very contemporary and relevant book on the state of affairs in India today. It is an insider’s view and opinion on the various ills that the country is facing with respect to Governance, Democracy, Corruption, Security and Building an inclusive society.
Pavan Varma 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 a number of books to his credit, one can expect a book that details all the problems face by India and the solutions to get out of the cesspool.
Chanakya was classical India’s greatest thinker and teacher. His seminal work, the Arthashastra, the world’s first comprehensive treatise on statecraft and governance, was written approximately two thousand years before Machiavelli’s The Prince.
In this book Pavan Varma has drawn up a practical and detailed plan, modeled on the Arthashastra, to bring about reform and change in the five key areas that need urgent attention.
Whether it is laying the foundation for an independent and effective Lokpal or decriminalizing politics and successfully weeding out the corrupt, the solutions he proposes are substantive and well within the constitutional framework. Who will bell the cat? Well, as the author in the Epilogue says, ‘Those in power, in a better position to usher in change, must see the manifesto in this light. It is an appeal to their good sense. It presents them with a plan of action to fulfill the expectations of the people, ideas that could change the future of our country. Ideally, they must be proactive in working towards this change.’
The references to the Arthashastra at the beginning of chapters are all quotable quotes that are then worked upon by Pavan Varma in expounding his solutions.
The quote from Arthashastra on Governance is ‘ In the intersts of the prosperity of the country, a King should be diligent in foreseeing the possibility of calamities, try to avert them before they arise, overcome those which happen, remove all obstructions to economic activity and prevent loss of revenue to the State.’
I only hope that it reaches those in power and hopefully we see Pavan K. Varma in public life bringing about the change that is suggested.
It has plenty of statistics that are used to substantiate the author’s views.
It is a good valuable read and should be read by all right thinking Indians who have the country’s future in their hearts and see in what way they can contribute to a better future for the country. As John F Kennedy had said ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.
The 248 pages book is published by Aleph Book Company and promoted by Rupa Publications. Do read it.