Pavan K. Varma’s “Chanakya’s New Manifesto” creates ripples in the audience at the book launch in the Capital

A few thousand years ago, Chanakya cemented his role as chief advisor and architect of the Mauryan dynasty, forever imprinting himself in the yellowing pages of history. Fast forward to 2013 A.D. and Chanakya comes in a brand new avatar, trying to salvage modern India from crisp newly minted pages.

Aleph Book Company launched Pavan K. Varma’s Chanakya’s New Manifesto: To Resolve the Crisis within India’ at IIT Delhi to a seminar hall packed with an assorted audience.

A break from the usual book launch route, the crowd mostly comprised students representing different schools of Delhi, in a bid to promote discussion and dialogue on the issues the book touches upon. Modern School of Barakhamba Road, Bloom School of Vasant Kunj, Vasant Valley School and Shri Ram School of Aravali and Moulsari were few of the schools that were present on the chilly winter evening for quite a heated discussion.

As Pavan noted, “The youth needs to know the root of the problems facing the country. Otherwise anyone can analyse symptoms from the drawing rooms of their homes. But to know the way forward, we need understanding.” Therefore, it did not come as a surprise when the book itself was launched by six young people of varying backgrounds.

Tamseel Hussain, campaigner at Change.org, Suraj Kumar, Member of Second Chance School Ritinjali and a chef at The Oberoi, Shreyas Kadaba, twelfth grade student of Vasant Valley School, Sharanya Thakur, another Vasant Valley School student, Bahuli Sharma, History student at St. Stephens and Amjad Ali Khan, Director of the recently established International Summer School were the six young people who simultaneously launched the book.

The six, having already gone through the book, shared their insights. While Tamseel concentrated on the importance of the movement towards change gaining momentum, “especially due to the force of the online population where the power remains with the people, the book comes at a time where people need guidance to channel their energies,” Bahuli was intrigued by the similarities drawn by Pavan in the situations of ancient and present day India. “Being a history student, I felt all the more connected to the parallel storylines and how the solutions to our problems could actually be found in the pages of history,” summed up Bahuli.

Topics as myriad as opportunities for the youth to be an active participant in the current scheme of things to Chanakya being India’s Machiavelli, were discussed by an animated Pavan. With India moving towards an era of youth activism yet caught up in its own web of hypocrisies, Pavan summarised it with an apt couplet, “Tu idhar, udhar ki na baat kar, yeh bata ki qaafila kyon luta

Hamein rehzanon se gila nahin, teri rehbari ka sawaal hai”.

(Do not speak of this and that, tell me why the caravan was plundered;

It is not the robbers I hold a grudge against, but it is a question of your leadership)

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